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Results are important; ATAR scores less so. At Pembroke individual student achievement is the measure we most applaud.

9 March 2022

If a student achieves at or beyond their expectations, then there is much to celebrate. If they manage then to secure their first or second option beyond their time at School, all the better.

We do well to remind ourselves, as so many parents and staff of Year 12 know, that the results represent very real and personal challenges that students, staff and parents contended with through 2021. The achievements at the end of last year were even more remarkable for all that.

Pembroke is realistic about student achievement. Not all students achieve what they may promise themselves. This is normal and appropriate. It is normal in a school that ensures that students do their own work and are encouraged to stretch and expand their learning. Expectations are set high at Pembroke. Students should and do struggle to achieve them. This is one of the most important life lessons that we offer—that School is a preparation for life, not an answer to it or an end in itself. Achievement is about many things, not just where you go to school. So, for all our students, what awaits them beyond Pembroke should be traversable and interesting. The challenge should be exciting. Further study should not be something that is measured against their experience at School but encouraged by it.

We like to report the complete picture of results to our community, as much as we are able, including the first and second rounds of university offers if possible. This provides a well-informed and realistic appraisal for you. There are so many interesting and exciting courses, programs and opportunities that students can now access. Not all require high ATARs, and it is delightful to see the spread of choices considered by our students based on interest rather than results alone. I love to see our students taking some risks and looking to fully experience their life beyond school.

In what follows you will see that student results in both the SACE and IB in 2021 were excellent. Two IB students and one SACE student achieved perfect scores. When converted to an ATAR score the median IB score was 97, which is a remarkable achievement. Our students’ overall median was 91. They achieved a wonderful number of merits across SACE and IB, and this year we had a student who achieved a Governor’s Commendation. The Dux and Proxime students for IB and SACE were recognised at the Commencement of Year Ceremony, along with the Ross Family Medallist and all the sub-school leaders for 2021, as a fitting acknowledgment from the School.

Pembroke girls’ and boys’ results compare favourably with all single-sex and co-educational environments, and when one considers the relative size of the cohorts across schools Pembroke results are excellent—we have a much larger cohort than most independent schools.

Pembroke is an outstanding academic institution. Our own and comparative measures show this. Maintaining a healthy attitude to Year 12 by not narrowing our thinking to ATARs alone helps us to be so. We choose to focus on individual best efforts and achievements, and I offer my congratulations to all Year 12 students for their commitment and hard work last year. Equally, I acknowledge the experienced and dedicated teaching staff and very supportive parents who, we all appreciate, have a significant impact on all student success.

You should enjoy reading about the individual and collective achievements of our Year 12 2021 cohort.

Luke Thomson