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2009 Annual School Report

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NSW Department of Education and Training


2009 Annual School Report

Birrong Girls High School

NSW Public Schools – Leading the way

Our school at a glance

Birrong Girls High School is a multicultural, comprehensive secondary school, committed to providing the best possible education for girls. Our motto, Ad Astra (reaching for the stars), emphasises our high expectations for both teaching and learning.

Enrolment in Year 7 each year includes students from more than 30 different primary schools and this means that our students arrive in Year 7 with great variation in their literacy and numeracy skills because of factors including: primary school experience; socio-economic status; language and cultural background; and, ability level.

Our strong School Certificate and Higher School Certificate results show that students make great gains in their learning as they progress through the school because of our focus on quality learning for all in a safe, supportive and stimulating environment that fosters individual excellence and the achievement of personal goals.


Enrolments have stabilised at 850 girls with a high demand for places in Year 7. In 2009 89% of students were from Language Backgrounds Other than English (LBOTE) comprising a diverse range of cultural backgrounds which represent 46 language and 23 religious groups. The majority of students are from Arabic, Vietnamese, Chinese, Turkish and Pacific Islander backgrounds. Families are very keen to have their daughters enrol at our school and we are very proud of the school’s reputation that has created this strong demand.

The total average attendance rates for Years 7-12 is 92.4% which is significantly higher than the state rate (89.7%) and which reflects our highly effective attendance monitoring strategies introduced over the past years.

Seventy per cent of our 2007 Year 10 cohort completed Year 12 in 2009; a retention rate significantly higher than that of local schools and schools across the state (61%).


In 2009 our teaching staff totalled 64 (18 males and 46 females) and an additional 11 school assistants. Experience ranges from early career teachers to teachers with many years of experience.

There was a very low turnover of staff at our school in 2009; however, a new Head Teacher position was created. All teaching staff meet the professional requirements for teaching in NSW public schools.
Student achievement in 2009

Literacy – NAPLAN Year 7

Overall literacy in Year 7 was slightly below the state average. The aspect of literacy of most concern was reading as only 91.1% of students met the national standard.

Numeracy – NAPLAN Year 7

Overall numeracy in Year 7 was below the state average; however, 96.4% of students met the national standard. The aspect of numeracy of most concern was number, patterns and algebra.

Literacy – NAPLAN Year 9

Year 9 achieved pleasing literacy results. The literacy achievement gap for Year 9 students, identified when they were tested in Year 7 in 2007, was reduced. The average growth in literacy from Year 7 to 9 for our students far exceeded the state average growth; however, the average literacy score for our Year 9 students is below the average score across the state.

Numeracy – NAPLAN Year 9

The numeracy results for Year 9 showed a significant reduction in the achievement gap identified in 2007. The school’s average numeracy score for Year 9 was slightly below state average; however, the school’s average growth was 61.1 while state wide it was 40.0. 97% of our Year 9 students achieved the minimum standard in numeracy.

School Certificate

Student performance in the School Certificate was outstanding. Improvement or relative growth from Year 5 to Year 10 was greater than the state growth in all courses tested, viz. English, Mathematics Science, Australian Geography, Civics and Citizenship and Australian History, Civics and Citizenship and Computer Skills. The school’s average mark was greater than the state average in Australian History, Civics and Citizenship, English and Australian Geography, Civics and Citizenship.

Higher School Certificate

The 2009 Higher School Certificate results were outstanding as our average student achievement was above the state average performance in 18 courses.

Many of the 2009 HSC students achieved Australian Tertiary Assessment Ranks (ATARs) above 90 and 58% of the cohort accepted places at university.


Principal's message

Birrong Girls High School is a dynamic learning community that nurtures and values our diversity of cultures and talents and we remain proud of our achievements.

The school community encourages and supports students to embody the school motto, Ad astra (to the stars), and strive for personal excellence, both within and outside the classroom, to achieve maximum personal growth. High expectations and a focus on meeting the learning needs of each individual student are major contributors to the school’s success at providing students with the necessary skills for lifelong learning.

In 2009 the school benefitted significantly from exciting opportunities provided by a number of Commonwealth Government initiatives, including: the Priority Schools Funding Program (PSFP); Building the Education Revolution (BER); and, the Digital Education Revolution (DER). Under these programs major refurbishments were carried out in the hall and laboratories, the school’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capacity and wireless connectivity were expanded, all Year 9 students and their teachers were issued with laptop computers, additional teacher professional learning was undertaken and additional staff were appointed.

In addition, the school community made plans to utilise the resources provided by another Commonwealth Government initiative, the Low Socioeconomic Status School Communities National Partnership, that commences in 2010 and continues until 2013.

I acknowledge the important roles that the strong support and commitment from parents, staff, students and the broader community have played in the school’s achievements in 2009. I hope you enjoy reading this report of our successes from 2009 and our challenges for 2010 and beyond.

I certify that the information in this report is the result of a rigorous school self-evaluation process and is a balanced and genuine account of the school's achievements and areas for development.

Jenni Wilkins

PandC message

Over the five years of my involvement the PandC has been a very effective forum for parents to have their say in school’s activities. It is rewarding to reflect upon the opportunities and developments we have been able to help provide to the girls.

During 2009 the PandC were involved in:

  • the allocation of funding from the Priority Schools Funding Program (PSFP)

  • financial support for students in representative sporting endeavours

  • the decision making process regarding priorities for school refurbishment

  • the selection process for additional teachers

  • discussions with teachers and senior staff regarding the direction of school programs

  • support for the rescheduling of a school development day

  • the introduction of Year 7 school starter book packs. This initiative was so successful we hope to expand it in 2010

  • the purchase and presentation of scholastic awards at the school’s Presentation Day. Our congratulations go to those students who received an award in 2009.

I would like to extend an invitation to all parents to contribute a small amount of their time, to join us at our very informal PandC meetings. Without this small group of parents and teachers we would not be able to access important government grants that provide valuable resources and fund the majority of improvements to school facilities.

I would also like to thank all the members of the PandC for their efforts in making these meeting a success.

The PandC will continue to work to support the students and teachers to make Birrong Girls High School an enjoyable learning experience for our daughters.

Heather Reinke

PandC President
Student representative's message

2009 was a very rewarding and successful year for the Student Representative Council (SRC).

Our areas of focus for 2009 were student leadership, community interaction and the ongoing support of various charity organisations.

The SRC played an active role in encouraging students to participate in a variety of activities and charity initiatives such as 40 Hour Famine and Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The SRC also supported Stewart House, raised money for the victims of the Victorian bushfires and made white ribbons to raise awareness and show support for the Anti Violence against Women campaign.

We continued to support our school’s sponsor child, Sabina Obedi, from Tanzania by running chocolate drives. The SRC have supported Sabina since 2005 and are regularly updated on her progress. We were delighted to learn that she had received the Dux award for her school in 2009.

Members of the SRC were given the opportunity to represent the school and apply our leadership skills at a variety of conferences throughout the year. We have participated in regular inter-school meetings where we listened to motivational guest speakers and exchanged ideas with other student leaders in our region. We represented the school at the Global Leadership Convention and the International Women’s Day Breakfast. SRC students also participated in online government youth forums where we were able to voice our opinions on topics that were important to us.

Within the school the SRC has acted on suggestions put forward by the student body to improve the school environment. We have assisted with and catered for Parent Teacher Evenings and the annual PDHPE Dance Spectacular and teamed up with the canteen to promote special cultural food days.

Throughout 2009 we have strived to maintain the SRC’s tradition of being excellent ambassadors for our school.


The Student Representative Council 2009

School context

Student information

It is a requirement that the reporting of information for all students must be consistent with privacy and personal information policies.

Student enrolment profile

Total enrolments have remained around 850 in recent years reflecting the positive reputation of our school in the broader community. The 150 new students in Year 7 in 2009 were drawn from 30 primary schools.

The school’s highly effective attendance monitoring system incorporates regular and consistent contact with parents or guardians, acknowledgment of students with outstanding attendance records and early intervention and support from regional Home School Liaison Officers.

Student attendance profile

The attendance of students in all year groups is significantly higher than both the region and the state. The total average attendance for Year 7-12 students is 92.4%, significantly higher than the state average of 89.7%.

Structure of classes

In Years 7 and 8 (Stage 4) classes were organised to provide a targeted support class for less able students and a targeted extension class for more able students with the remaining classes as mixed ability. This provided greater strategic and systematic learning support for students.

Retention to Year 12

70.2% of our 2007 School Certificate (SC) cohort completed their Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 2009. The proportion of our students staying on continues to be significantly higher than the average for the state (61%) and school education group (62.6%).

Post-school destinations

The 2009 post-school destination data showed that a total of 77% of students gained entry to tertiary studies. 58% of students were offered university placements, a 14% increase on the 2008 results which reflects the school’s ongoing focus on academic success.

Year 12 students undertaking vocational or trade training

In 2009 27% of Year 12 students undertook Vocational Education Training (VET) courses delivered at the school. 9% of the Year 12 cohort studied Business Services, 4% Retail and 15% Hospitality.

Year 12 students attaining HSC or equivalent vocational education qualification

100% of the 2009 Year 12 cohort attained an HSC in 2009.

Staff information

It is a requirement that the reporting of information for all staff must be consistent with privacy and personal information policies.

Staff establishment

The number of teachers appointed to the school is dependent upon the number of students enrolled. Additional staff, such as teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) and Support Teachers Learning Assistance (STLA), are appointed according to need.





Deputy Principals


Head Teachers


Classroom Teachers


Support Teacher Learning Assistance


Teacher Librarian


Teacher of ESL






2009 saw the appointment of an additional Head Teacher (Teaching and Learning) to our Head Teacher positions and additional staffing supplementation through the Priority Schools Funding Program (PSFP).

The teaching staff were supported by an additional 10.9 School Administrative Staff operating in the areas of administration, Science, library, kitchen, grounds and general maintenance. Under the Digital Education Revolution (DER) program a full-time Technology Support Officer was appointed to support the school’s laptop program

No members of the teaching or support staff are from an indigenous Australian background.

Staff retention

Staff retention from 2008 was 98% at the school. In 2009 one teacher retired after many years of service.

Teacher qualifications

All teaching staff meet the professional requirements for teaching in NSW public schools.


% of staff

Degree or Diploma




Financial summary

This summary covers funds for operating costs and does not involve expenditure areas such as permanent salaries, building and major maintenance.

A full copy of the school's 2009 financial statement is tabled at the annual general meetings of the School Council and/or the parent body. Further details concerning the statement can be obtained by contacting the school.

School performance 2009



Birrong Girls High School continues to enjoy strong representation in the creative and performing arts in school and regional performances and exhibitions. Rianna Oliver of Year 8 was selected in the Bankstown Council Talent Advancement Program workshop and we look forward to building on this partnership which provides outstanding opportunities for our budding performers.

The inaugural Creative and Performing Arts Extravaganza in Term 4 showcased the diverse musical talents of our students, featuring soloists, choir and elective music ensembles. The junior string ensemble delighted the audience with classical duets and Year 9 vocalists encouraged audience involvement in their performances of café jazz. A Year 12 student added an entirely new dimension to the experience playing carefully executed pieces on the Chinese dulcimer and Chinese flute. This event also showcased the creativity and versatility of our art students with exhibits in painting, photography, multimedia, mixed media and pottery.

A Year 12 group performance

Drama continues to be a strong focus. The Year 12 Drama Night in the Little Theatre proved popular with parents, students and members of the community as students performed a number of innovative and original theatre pieces in preparation for their HSC group and individual performances.

Touring company Zeal Theatre presented the internationally acclaimed production of ‘Stones’ to Drama students. Apart from many other performances by visiting theatre troupes, drama students attended performances at The Wharf Theatre, Riverside Theatre and the Sydney Opera House.


Our swimming, athletic and cross-country carnivals were very successful with a number of students going on to represent our school at zone, regional and state levels.

Swimming carnival competitors

Year 7 and 8 were again involved in the integrated sport program which aims to make all students confident as they build and develop their fundamental levels of movement skills. Both year groups participated in swimming school programs and field days with other local girls’ high schools.

Year 8 students continued their involvement in a longitudinal study of fundamental movement skills, level of enjoyment of sport and influences on attitudes to sport and physical activity. We look forward to the preliminary results from our university partners in 2010.

The Year 8 Jump Rope for Heart program raised $3000 dollars for the National Heart Foundation. Students were motivated to improve their skipping skills by the inspirational Birrong Tricksters Skipping Team who again were successful in becoming a demonstration team for the Heart Foundation and the Jump Rope for Heart program.

Year 9 and 10 Physical Activity and Sport Science (PASS) students gained valuable experience assisting at Lidcombe Public School’s carnivals in their roles as leaders and coaches.

The prestigious Pierre de Coubertin award was presented to our Year 12 Sports Captain, Kristy Wang, for her representation in sport at school level and for exhibiting the spirit of the Olympic movement.

At the end of Term 2 the very entertaining and energetic PDHPE dance display demonstrated to parents and friends the various dance styles and routines that our talented Year 7-11 students had perfected throughout the term. In addition, our students participated in the Regional Dance Camp and attended a performance of indigenous dance by the Bangarra Dance Company at the Sydney Opera House.

Public speaking and debating

During 2009, Birrong Girls High School students were once again given the opportunity to participate in the school’s tradition of public speaking and debating. Both junior and senior students enthusiastically participated in the Henrietta Wooster Public Speaking Competition, named in memory of the school’s first principal, and also in the Premier’s Debating Challenge.

The topic for the Henrietta Wooster Public Speaking Competition this year was ‘A Significant Place’. Students in Years 7-12 presented speeches which ranged from the nostalgic to light hearted and humorous. Most students found the topic engaging and the vast majority delivered speeches which were evocative and thoughtfully composed.

The 2009 winner in the junior category (Years 7-9) was Emily Trinh closely followed by the runner-up Prinita Thevarajah. Both students demonstrated the ability to speak fluently and confidently to a large audience. Leyla Yuksel was the Henrietta Wooster Public Speaking Competition winner in the senior category (Years 10-12) and the runner up was Sarah Jezzini. These senior students exhibited a well developed ability to communicate their experiences in a confident and interesting manner.

Year 11 debaters

Birrong Girls High School students competed against students in the local area in the Premier’s Debating Challenge. Students critically responded to topics which ranged across contemporary issues and included both national and world affairs. Debating teams gave each debate its due consideration and represented the school well. Both the Year 8 and Year 10 teams were deservedly declared zone winners and made a fine effort in the quarter finals of their competitions. Students were commended by their coaches for their conscientious endeavours.
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