High achievers, from left, Neha Chandrasekar, Marley Chia, Imogen Masters, Adam Wormington and Nina Cradick achieved OP1s in 2016 at Matthew Flinders.
High achievers, from left, Neha Chandrasekar, Marley Chia, Imogen Masters, Adam Wormington and Nina Cradick achieved OP1s in 2016 at Matthew Flinders. Sergio Lordao

Top school principal shares secret to OP1s

THE principal of the school with the highest number of top-scoring OP students on the Sunshine Coast has shared what he thinks helps drive success.

But an education expert has slammed the OP ranking system and said they weren't an indicator of "how good a school is or isn't".

Matthew Flinders Anglican College in Buderim has consistently produced students with high-scoring OPs.

This year was no exception, with latest results from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority showing it achieved the highest number of students with an OP1 to 5 score in the region.

A total of 50 of the 129 eligible students for an OP score achieved an OP 1 to 5.

Principal Stuart Meade said there was a "culture of achieving personal best" at the school.

"It is obvious to me the relationship developed between staff and students plays a part (in achieving high OPs).

"There is a development of a love of learning that starts a long way back, not just in Year 12.

"This all combines to give the students the confidence and safety to make and set their challenges and goals with teachers."

University of the Sunshine Coast Associate Professor and author, Michael Nagel wasn't a "fan" of OP scores and said they didn't indicate much.


Dr Michael Nagel hosted a forum at the Sunshine Coast Grammar School on middle school education.
Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
Dr Michael Nagel Brett Wortman

"The idea of ranking students based on an overall position is a small microcosm of what students can actually do," he said.

"It is an administrative function, not educational. It is about giving students a place to make a determination what programs they can go into."

But he said it was only valid in Queensland and any student who went overseas to university "wouldn't know what an OP is and wouldn't care".

"Schools that do well spend a disproportionate amount of time planning and prepping students to do well in OPs," he said.

"It doesn't dictate the future of a student. And the other thing students forget, after one year an OP is obsolete."

Prof Nagel said OP scores weren't a good way to assess whether a school was good or not.

"Just because you can put three OP1 students on a noticeboard, doesn't mean it is a good school," he said.

"What parents need to do is a visit a school and see the atmosphere in a staff room.

"If the staff are stressed and not talking, that's probably not a good place to send your child."

A schools OP scores also weren't a consideration for Buderim mum, Susan Greenham, in choosing where her children would attend.

"We looked at four schools, but we kept being drawn back to Nambour Christian College," she said.

Her children, Kaitlyn and Johan, who are in Year 9 and Year 7, started there in Prep and she remained happy with her choice.


Buderim mum Susan Greenham is proud of her two children.
WHAT COUNTS: Buderim mum Susan Greenham with Kaitlyn and Johan didn't choose a school based on OPs. Melanie Keyte

"They offered a lot of different stuff. We still think we have done the right thing. There is so much more to a school (than OP scores)."