Schools that Excel: St Andrews a standout in the east

St Andrews Christian College encourages its students to go “MAD” − to Make A Difference.

The prep to year 12 school has come a long way since it moved to an empty paddock in Wantirna South 11 years ago. It has nearly doubled in size, to almost 700 students, and has closed its waiting list.

St Andrews Christian College principal Catriona Wansbrough with school captains Hannah Collis and Harry Rowland. Credit:Eddie Jim

Principal Catriona Wansbrough said families wanted a school with Christian values and a high academic standard.

“Christ is the reason the school exists,” she said. “We could just be another good school. I mean, all schools have great things going on; we have those too. But the reason we do education, the reason we want to build children to make a difference in the world is because of God.”

At St Andrews, every class does community service such as raising money for Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse and students have gone on “mission service trips” to countries such as Cambodia and Vanuatu.

Ms Wansbrough said families wanted a school with Christian values and a high academic standard.Credit:Eddie Jim

Kindness was needed during 2020, when schools endured almost two terms of remote learning during Victoria’s first and second waves of coronavirus outbreaks. To boost spirits, teachers sent out handwritten cards to students telling them they were missed.

Year 12 students were rewarded with excellent results. The school’s median study score rose to 33 for the first time and close to 14 per cent of study scores were above 40.

That rise in scores, from 29 in 2011 to 33 last year, has led The Age to make St Andrews Christian College its 2021 Schools That Excel non-government school winner for Melbourne’s east.

You can view the full list of winning schools, and explore the data for your high school using this year’s Schools that Excel dashboard:

Hannah Collis and Harry Rowland are school captains and two of St Andrews’ 40 year-12 students. The school charges under $11,000 for those in year 12.

Hannah said she was welcomed with open arms when she joined in year 9.

“They’re so kind, and because we are such a small year our teachers are so invested in you,” she said. “The development academically but also spiritually has been amazing.”

She said St Andrews taught students that they have a “responsibility both during school and once we graduate to make a positive impact and aid whichever community we find ourselves in, all in the name of Christ”.

Harry has attended the school since prep and said it was special to be able to form connections with students and teachers.

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