Caroline Springs school that failed passes all tests

A Caroline Springs school that rose from the ashes of ICA College Melton less than three years ago has continued its renaissance.

National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results reveal Southern Cross Grammar was the north-west’s best-performing school in grades 3, 5 and 7 last year, with “substantially above average” results in those grades across reading, persuasive writing, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy compared with the Australian average.

Figures released last week show Southern Cross recorded significant improvements on 2012’s results after having below-average scores last year in grade 3 grammar and punctuation and grade 5 spelling.

“The school was founded on a commitment to each other and working collectively and with a shared determination to achieve a vision,” principal Andrew Ponsford said.

“Two years ago that involved saving the school … that determination is now about achieving personal bests and collectively being the best in the west. It’s great to return those favours and privileges.”

In 2011, the then ICA College Melton was put up for sale after parent company Independent Colleges Australia went into voluntary administration, even though enrolments had been booming with 100 new students due to start.

Mr Ponsford said he’d been informed by a liquidator that the school had been given a one in 10,000 chance of surviving.

Fairfax Media reported that a school action group wrote to a range of people looking for support, including Oprah Winfrey, Rupert Murdoch and then prime minister Julia Gillard. The group raised $350,000 and found a saviour in diversified investment business Zig Inge Group, which bought the school and all its equipment.

“It is the behaviours and characteristics of our people rising to challenges …just as much as the programs and structures that have led to this success,” Mr Ponsford said.

St Albans Meadows Primary School was the area’s best-performing primary school, recording substantially above average marks in persuasive writing in grades 3 and 5, and substantially above all schools serving pupils from statistically similar backgrounds in all five benchmarks.