Late last year, the College conducted a School Results Survey (through MYP Corporation) with final year students of Somerset College in November 2015.
Survey responses were received from 69 out of a total of 128 eligible respondents. This equates to a response rate of 53.9%.
The key areas in which student feedback was sought included: Values and Culture; Leadership and Direction; School Communication; Curriculum; Co-curriculum; Learning and Extension; Teaching Standards; Learning Environment; Resources and Facilities; Homework; Reporting; Pastoral Care/Wellbeing; Student Transition; Parent Engagement; Student Engagement.
Some of the statements posed (for students to respond to) in the survey under the headings above, were as follows:
Somerset College values are reflected in the behaviour of staff and students.
Somerset College has a very welcoming and supportive culture.
At Somerset College, each student is encouraged to achieve to the best of their ability.
Staff and parents at Somerset College work co-operatively to deliver high quality educational outcomes for students.
Somerset College consistently strives to improve its educational offer to students.
I have confidence in the future direction of Somerset College.
The policies and procedures of Somerset College are clearly documented.
The College website is relevant and easy to navigate.
Staff are accessible and responsive to my concerns.
Somerset College offers a broad and relevant curriculum.
Somerset College provides a curriculum which prepares students for the technological demands of society.
Somerset College offers students opportunities to be involved in an extensive selection of co-curricular activities.
Somerset College provides relevant and high quality learning support programmes to identified students.
Somerset College provides relevant and high quality extension programmes to identified students.
I have confidence in the teaching staff at Somerset College.
The classrooms and physical environment are conducive to learning.
The buildings and grounds are well presented.
The resources and facilities provided at Somerset College met my needs.
The content of my homework has been appropriate for my Year Level.
The amount of homework assigned to me has been appropriate for my Year Level.
Reports are timely and provide good information about my progress.
Somerset College has a clear and documented pastoral care/wellbeing policy.
Somerset College implements its pastoral care/wellbeing programme consistently.
Somerset College provides appropriate support to students in the various transition phases of their schooling e.g. primary to secondary; secondary to university.
Somerset College provides high quality life choices/career guidance programmes.
My parent/s was/were given suitable opportunity to be involved in the parent association and general school activities.
My parent/s communicated regularly with the school about my educational progress.
My parent/s was/were provided with clear information on how to support my development. My parent/s recommend/s Somerset College to others.
I consistently engaged at my ability level.
I am committed to an ongoing association with Somerset College.
I recommend Somerset College as a 'school of choice'.
In the survey, Somerset College recorded an overall satisfaction score of 83% (4.16 out of 5) on student ratings of the statements above. This equates to what is defined as “an excellent outcome that indicates a real commitment on behalf of the organisation to address this issue in a tangible and relevant manner”.
In addition to the survey ratings, there also was a qualitative section where students were asked to respond to a few general questions. A few of the responses follow:
- Excellent facilities; Supportive and friendly learning environment
- Some very passionate and helpful teachers who teach very well
- Sporting and cultural opportunities
- Career and academic support
- Ability to connect with younger Year Levels
- I enjoy the friendliness of the students as well as the supportive teachers. Also, the co-curricular activities are fantastic and have a strong presence within the College.
- Pastoral Care offers so much for student interactions between Year Levels
- The connection between students throughout each Year Level; The connection between students and teachers
- The incredible learning environment; The teacher-student relationships; The welcome I received when I first arrived
- The warm community, and the teacher-student interactions around the College. I love that the school is not just a place for education, but becomes a second home.
- How teachers treat students equally; the mindset it enforces in regards to striving for goals and success in the future; the leadership values it installs in students.
- The relationship with the teachers and friendly environment
- The staff and people involved in the College, they are all really friendly. It's nice that the majority of the staff know your name when you see them around the grounds
- More career planning information; more extension work in the higher Year Levels.
- Support for people with different learning skills.
- To be completely honest there is nothing that I would improve.
- Through more class collaborative activities that engage everyone
- Through a greater connection between the teachers and students, which Somerset does very well.
- It's fantastic how it is.
- It is already pretty effective and I can't see another way how it could be more effective
- Having teachers who are highly knowledgeable in the each subject and make sure there is a continuity of teacher staff throughout Year 12
- By starting more conversations with all students across all Year Levels what they want to be learning about and focussing more on in class; I know there's obviously a curriculum to adhere to, but in many subjects like English, there are different ways of learning and teaching that can be manipulated to students liking.
- Learning is becoming increasingly independent for students as teaching from the teachers becomes less effective. Although independent learning is a great tool for students, they should still be able to rely on good teaching.
- The stress isn't the issue - for most people it’s character building and a chance to push themselves. This absolute focus on academic success needs to remain at the forefront of the College's consciousness; it is intrinsic to the Somerset Experience. Otherwise we have lost what makes this school - Somerset.
- Somerset is the leading school in academics, it really isn't a problem. However a less stressful environment could be created by more time management or study support from teachers and students as groups or more focused about in PC.
- It was amazing, I enjoyed every aspect of it. Not much could have been improved, the academic challenge, the musical challenge, the social aspects were all positive and an enjoyable time. Even the stress wasn't that bad.
- I can't think of any individual change off the top of my head which would have lifted the overall experience, it's more a matter of general improvement. At the end of the day, it's down to the students just as much as it is the teachers.
- It was fantastic. Perhaps more detailed information about what the real world is like, what things you actually have to know about going to uni, what the courses entail, but other than that, Year 12 was the best year of my life. Thank you Somerset.
These were just a sample of the comments received and of course as with any survey, there were strong and constructive suggestions about what the College could do to continue to improve. We will use the contents of this survey to ensure that the College continues to focus on responding to constructive criticism and through this aim to ensure that our students have a positive and enriching experience at Somerset. A similar survey will be carried out with the current Year 12s in October of this year.
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