Sydney’s elite schools flunked the HSC
Sydney's most elite private schools have flunked out in the Higher School Certificate rankings this year, while young upstart migrant schools are flying up the best academic schools list.
This year, prestigious institutions such as Kincoppal Rose Bay, Ravenswood School for Girls and Riverview plunged more than 10 places in the HSC rankings.
The embarrassing fall down rankings comes as schools dominated by migrants in Western Sydney are charging up the rankings.
Education experts say the elite schools may hold meetings to assess what went wrong and some teachers may be demoted to teaching junior years so they have time to "reflect" on how they teach.
Al Noori in Greenacre whose student body has 99 per cent of students have a language background other than English lifted its impressive performance from last year 45 to 42.
Similarly Al-Faisal College in Auburn has also jumped up the school rankings from 54 to 26.
The biggest falls among elite private schools was from Brigidine College in Randwick which fell 55 places from 52 last year to 107. The school charges $5,242 per year.
Prestigious Ascham School dropped from ninth last year to 18th this year. It charges parents $37,300.
The King's School, Loreto Kirribilli and the prestigious SCEGGS at Darlinghurst all dropped nine places this year. King's charges $35,697, Loreto Kirribilli charges $20,895. SCEGGS charges $37,282 a year.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's alma mater St Ignatius College Riverview dropped a whopping fifteen places from 46th place last year to 61 this year.
The school charges $29,520 for tuition and $20,580 for boarders.
The state's top school for the 23rd year in a row was James Ruse Agricultural High School.
Trinity Grammar at Summer Hill dropped from 64 last year to 111th spot on this year's list. It charges Year 12 students $33,680 for tuition and a further $31,010 to board.
The school's head Timothy Bowden said a number of students were doing the International Baccalaureate so this year's candidature sitting the HSC had been greatly reduced.
The International Baccalaureate remains a niche exam, with only 547 NSW students sitting the exams in November of last year.
"Last year, for example, 25 boys got an ATAR over 99," he said.
"Half the year group got an ATAR over 90. We expect similar results this year."
Kincoppal Rose Bay, the setting of the film Looking for Alibrandi charged parents $29,799 for a place in year 12 dropped 16 places from 28 to 44th.
UTS lecturer in teaching methods Mohan Dhall said teachers at some of elite schools might have become lazy and formulaic in their approach to the HSC while migrant dominated schools were more agile to new ways of teaching and learning.
"Some schools tend to fall into a formulaic way of teaching, a previous success lead staff to rest on their laurels and not push the boundaries about what is the most up to date."
"That is always a concern about any school that has a high rank and then falls."
He said meanwhile teachers who didn't produce good results this year would be sent to teach junior classes again and staff meetings would be held to dissect what went wrong.
He said a fixation on technology in the classroom could explain the drop for some cashed up private schools.
"Some of the private schools have a great emphasis on tech as a strong element of teaching and learning, but if that is occurring on the cost of pedagogy than you'll see the best looking classrooms wont produce the best learning outcomes."
The girls beat the boys overall this year, with 20,772 girls receiving a distinguished achievers awards, meaning they achieved a band six or more in ten units of HSC study.
The boys didn't fare as well with 15,740 boys picking up the award.
CHERRYBROOK TECH TEACHER LOSS LEADS TO DROP
The loss of star maths teacher Eddie Woo has coincided with Cherrybrook Technology High School sliding 13 places in this year's ranking.
It dropped from the 68th best school in 2017 to the 81st this year and comes after Mr Woo left to take up a position travelling around NSW mentoring other teachers and students.
In March, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced he would be promoted to the position, but would return to teacher mathematics 4 unit while other teachers would cover his remaining students.
The non-selective high school retained its place in the top 100, making it one of the few non-selective public schools to make the cut. Willoughby Girls High School was the only non-selective public school to make the top 50.
23 YEARS ON TOP FOR JAMES RUSE
James Ruse Agricultural High School has taken out the top spot as the state's best academic school in the 2018 HSC results for an amazing 23rd year in a row.
However, despite the stellar achievement, the school's percentage of distinguished achievers dropped almost 3 percentage points from 77.4 per cent of students in last year's cohort to 74.7.
The school won first-in-the state courses for three subjects: chemistry, mathematics extension 1 and mathematics extension 2.
The selective and coeducation public high school at Carlingford has dominated the rankings since overtaking Sydney Grammar at the top of the tree in 1995.
Principal Megan Connors said that she was delighted with the results.