Local school creating new pathways for boys

Local school creating new pathways for boys
Jack Hayes

According to a federal government Youth in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Research survey of 2000 respondents, 80 per cent agreed that “scientists make a positive impact on the world” and 64 per cent said that “learning about science and technology is exciting.”

That is why West Melbourne’s own Simonds Catholic College (SCC) is partnering up with the University of Melbourne to create new career pathways and inspiration for its Years 7 and 8 students.

SCC principal Peter Riordan told North West City News the new partnership would create foundational understanding of both STEM and coding for students to ready themselves for the school’s soon-to-be purpose-built building.

“We were invited to develop a partnership with Melbourne University where our Year 7 students head to its Science Gallery on a Tuesday afternoon to code and Year 8 students go down for STEM on a Tuesday morning,” Mr Riordan said.

“Rather than being just one year, they have asked if we will be interested in a 10-year partnership, which will be fantastic for our boys.”

“We see our STEM centre as an opportunity for boys to do applied learning, using their hands as well as their brains, and to do some great projects.”

As well as the natural benefits from university standard facilities and learning, the partnership weaves in the development of independence by allowing students to make their way back to campus by themselves.

According to Mr Riordan, one of the most common questions asked by prospective Years 5 or 6 students touring their school was whether they offered coding, further solidifying the significance of this partnership.

SCC Year 7 student, Zac Karni, said he and his friends had loved the program as they were able to “learn skills you might not in traditional school.”

“We have been doing an assessment where we get to make a paper about a system in our body,” Mr Karni said. “I chose the circulatory system and I have been doing it with my two friends. We created a poster, and once it was finished, we voted whose work was the best.”

“We get to collaborate with new people from different classes, discover things about our bodies that can help us in different ways. I want to be a medical doctor.”

“You can learn about systems, use websites where we provide feedback about what we enjoyed and can make recommendations about what we can do in the next semester.”

Mr Riordan said all the planning was in place to have their new STEM centre complete by next year and that staff and the leadership team were working hard to make sure deadlines were met.

SCC sat in the top 25 per cent of schools based on results in 2021 with a median study score of 30, and 31 in 2020.

“As an inner city school, and a huge number of students with English as their second language, those scores are pretty remarkable,” Mr Riordan said.

“Because we are a boys’ school, when we are recruiting staff to the school, we don’t just ask them why they want to teach, but why they want to teach boys.”

“We are a boys’ school, boys and girls learn differently. Boys like structure, they like knowing boundaries, they like programs where they can apply themselves, whether that be sport, music or drama, and a program that is suited to them.”

“We have just accepted four Ukrainian students. We have provided them with clothing, books and laptops and no school fees. Language is a little difficult at the moment, but they are just keen to learn.” •

For more information: sccmelb.catholic.edu.au

 

Caption: Student, Zac Karni, teaching principal, Peter Riordan, a thing or two.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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