The concept of a Senior School recognises the unique needs and development of students in their post-compulsory years of schooling. At a superficial level, there are the obvious structures dictated by the Board of Studies. This includes the focus on internal and external examinations and meeting requirements for mandatory assessment tasks in the final years of schooling.
The idea of looking at different stages of development – early adolescence (11 - 15 years) and near adulthood (16 - 18 years) - in secondary schooling is not a ‘fad’. Rather, research has identified that young people have different learning, pastoral and social needs that should be recognised in the ways schools are structured and the way students are organised and engage with learning. On a superficial level, Senior School students at the College can be identified by their different uniform and diary. The important differences are far more subtle and more significant.
At Monte, the Senior School incorporates:
- Year 10: This Year undertakes the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme
- Year 11 and Year 12: Students choose to undertake either: The NSW Higher School Certificate or the International Baccalaureate Diploma
Students are given extensive guidance in selecting the most appropriate program, subjects and levels to meet individual needs. The opportunity for choice is a hallmark of the College curriculum and allows students to tailor their programs to their own interests, abilities and future plans.
However a true Senior School goes beyond mandatory requirements and Monte is at the forefront of recognising the distinctive characteristics of 15 to 18 year olds, many of whom just a generation or two ago, would have already been in the work force and/or engaged in vocational study at tertiary institutions. These young women, while still needing adult guidance, have an emerging sense of self-identity and a need for empowerment. They demonstrate an increasing need for meaningful purpose and real world connection for learning. As young adults they seek flexible structures within the school structure including Pathways, access to educational opportunities outside the College (including tertiary opportunities) and the various Rites of Passage, which mark their transition to an adult world. They are no longer young girls but Mercy women who must be equipped to enter the tertiary or work environment with the skills to achieve their own potential while maximising their personal contribution to the wider community.
No longer is it realistic to merely teach facts in a digital age. These are easily accessible. Instead; the girls need to learn various forms of literacy that equips them for the information and digital era. Monte senior students take for granted the access to technology and the opportunities afforded by digitally enabled classrooms. The girls are encouraged to develop a genuine love for learning and the skills to critically evaluate and exist in the environments they will find themselves in beyond school. At the end of Year 10, the girls are encouraged to reflect on their learning and its relevance to their futures through Monte’s unique Portfolio Program, which involves presentation of work to a review panel. As the girls progress through Year 10 and onto the selection of HSC or IB Diploma subjects they are encouraged to acquire independence of thought, a sense of academic passion, an understanding of leadership and an awareness of their place in a global environment.
In addition to the College’s superbly developed Pastoral program, a priority in the Senior School is the development of an Academic ethos, while assisting the students to maintain balance and perspective in preparation for post school opportunities. As part of this philosophy the School as a system of Academic tracking, enabling relevant staff to ensure the overall welfare, both academic and pastoral of every single girl. This is undertaken in consultation with the very extensive pastoral support structure available to Senior students including Deputy Principals, Director of Senior School, the relevant Head of Year and the girl’s own Tutor. This system, with input from all academic staff involved with the student facilitates our understanding and care of girls as they progress through each step of the Senior School.
In the Monte Senior School we offer a cohesive, but differentiated learning environment in which every student regardless of academic ability has the opportunity and encouragement to achieve her potential.