Preparing for the future – from OP to ATAR

 

​​​A BGS education: past, present, future

​The School's founding mission in 1868 was to provide a broad liberal education to the young men of Queensland. The value of this legacy has never been greater or more relevant than in a 21st century belonging to those who master diverse skills in critical and creative thinking, in collaboration and teamwork, and in communication and character. The currency of a broad liberal education is continually reinforced in recent research and reports. The Brookings Institution (2015) advised the US Government that “the future is for people with broad educations and agility in their thinking", while IBM (2016) identified that “the future needs people with a broad set of skills and experiences, not just tech skills, to solve complex problems".

The results earned by the Class of 2017 were shared by the Headmaster at the commencement of the school year. I am both delighted and gratified at the depth of commitment, stamina and aptitude shown by the 2017 cohort in achieving a median OP4. The destinations of last year's students make for similarly inspiring reading and I am pleased to report that:​

  • 100% of applicants for a tertiary place received an offer.
  • Medicine and Health Science is now the most popular tertiary destination (chosen by 22% of the 2017 senior cohort).
  • The disciplines of science, technology, mathematics, engineering, information technology and creative industries encompass 30% of the graduating cohort.
  • More than 10% of the cohort (currently 26 confirmed students, with potential for more) have received offers to highly competitive Medicine courses.
  • Tertiary scholarship offers from leading universities nationwide, totalling in excess of $1.88 million, have been received by 2017 seniors.

Noteworthy also is the distinguishing characteristic of BGS that our intake is nonselective and that all students undertake a broad academic course of study singularly directed at OP eligibility and tertiary entrance. It is a telling statistic that in 2003, some 70% of students in this state undertook a course of study in senior year which rendered them OP-eligible; in 2017, barely 50% of students state-wide qualified.

In the now more than quarter-century that the OP-QCE system has operated in Queensland, BGS has maintained a standard of excellence in academic performance and a commitment to constant improvement in practice that sees us consistently ranked as the state's leading school. It is the distinctive and enduring culture of thinking and learning, which we see contained in the 1868 charter that underscores the continuing successes of our students.

The classes of 2018 and 2019, which will close out the OP era at BGS, will receive the best preparation and advice possible for the rigours of the QCST and the navigation of tertiary entry. Concurrently, we are deeply invested in ensuring that all students in Years 5 to 10 are confident in their readiness for the generational change in education due to take place in Queensland in 2020. While much will continue to be familiar to parents and boys (e.g. a course of six academic subjects in senior, the mandatory study of English and Maths, the employment of a range of modes in school-based assessment), there are also different challenges and a new language to master. Over the course of this year, we will continue to update and advise boys and parents via a range of platforms, media and information evenings of changes to the curriculum (e.g. unit based courses), assessment (e.g. external examinations) and tertiary entry (e.g. the ATAR replacing the OP).

Our ongoing commitment to the values inherent in a broad liberal education and the nurturing of thinking students who are curious, adaptable and resilient in their learning will continue as a priority. BGS' long history of academic achievement and the creation of generations of leaders in diverse fields of endeavour, which we celebrate this year, will, I am confident, continue to guide, shape and inspire our young men over the next 150 years.