Why Choose Stella?
Why should you choose Stella Maris College? Put simply, because girls thrive at Stella.
- Academic excellence
- Diverse subject choices and more electives
- So many extra-curricular choices
- Pastoral care
“I love being a Stella Girl because of the school’s beautiful spirit. Once I stepped in the gates for the first time, I knew this school was the one that would shape what kind of a person I grow up to be. Every girl should choose Stella Maris because even if things aren’t going well outside of school, she will always have this safe haven to come to. She will experience opportunities that no other school offers, friends for life and passionate teachers.” – Charlotte, Year 8.
Academic excellence is our primary focus. A differentiated curriculum means that each girl is nurtured so that she can work towards academic goals that see her achieve her personal best. For this reason our HSC results are always exciting and highly gratifying. Our girls often achieve beyond their expectations and we enjoy their success as much as they do!
Academic excellence extends to learning enrichment. We have a long-standing reputation for our success with students in need of learning support and a diverse range of activities designed to extend our girls as far as they can go. There are opportunities for acceleration and early completion of certain HSC subjects.
After school, Stella Girls gain entry into the courses and careers that interest them and they have a high ‘survival rate’ in post-secondary and tertiary education.
Diverse Subject Choices and More Electives
We offer subjects that are of high interest to all our girls. All the usual subjects are complemented by subjects as diverse as Photography, Video Production, Food Technology, Textiles, Drama, Dance, Music, Visual Arts, Philosophy, Critical Thinking, Physical Activity and Sport Science, Digital Technology, Design and Technology and Independent Research. There is a choice of five languages to study – Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. We are strong in academics, creative and performing arts, sport and vocational education. These subjects create pathways into diverse careers that challenge gender stereotypes. Our girls know they can choose whatever career they put the effort into achieving.
Through creative timetabling, our girls in Years 9 and 10 undertake three electives instead of the usual two and we more than easily rival other local schools in the range of subjects offered in Years 11 and 12.
“I absolutely love going to Stella as there is such a welcoming and nurturing community vibe everywhere you go and I especially love that every girl has the opportunity to pursue whatever subjects she wants from the very wide range on offer so that she can explore her full potential to be the best she can be”. – Ruby, Year 12.
So Many Extra-Curricular Choices
There is an activity beyond the classroom to suit every girl’s individual interests and skills – and if by some slim chance there is not one to suit your daughter then we are always open to adding something new.
There is a very high participation rate in activities beyond the classroom and our girls are regularly successful at local, state, national and international levels of competition.
“Stella Maris is an amazing experience for young girls who want to express who they are and their hidden talents. As a result of going to Stella, I have found who I am and what I actually like. Most girls will find their strengths with our amazing extra-curricular activities available at Stella Maris College. So you can say that I am proud to be a Stella Girl.” – Laura, Year 8.
Pastoral Care and Personal Development
Stella Maris is well-respected in the community for the care we take of our students. Good pastoral care is a cornerstone of future academic, vocational and personal success and it is the responsibility of every staff member to look out for the best interests of each girl. We stand with our students in difficult times and celebrate them for their courage, strength, effort and resilience in overcoming adversity.
The Stella Maris community is founded on a long tradition and a keen sense of belonging and identity in a supportive, safe and stable environment. Our girls are respectful, kind, protective of one another and have healthy relationships with their teachers and other staff. Learning is easier in a happy environment.
The development of the whole person is a priority at Stella Maris. Your daughter will flourish in a community concerned with her spiritual, physical, emotional, psychological, social and intellectual growth.
The IT infrastructure at Stella Maris is second-to-none. This gives our girls a great deal of power to engage in learning that is highly collaborative and extends beyond their classrooms.
Our Master Plan incorporates innovative learning spaces that will create more room for innovation in teaching and learning. We are tasked with offering best practice teaching and learning grounded in the latest evidence-based research. Our new facilities and resources will further assist us in this endeavour.
We understand the inherent value, nature and potential of the girls of our local community. Through strong female role models and single-sex education we are able to inspire a sense of purpose and unlimited potentialities. Stella Girls are challenged to be independent, ethical, resourceful, multi-talented, flexible and creative leaders who act in the world with integrity, grace and an adventurous spirit.
Our Benedictine values of justice and peace, community, hospitality and stewardship challenge our girls to critically evaluate twenty-first-century values.
Stella Maris is a non-selective College. Here, every girl can find a place to belong and the space to find her individual voice. We cater to a broad clientele, who rapidly become valued members of our Stella Maris family. Some of our current students are now second or third generation Stella Girls – as are some of our teachers.
Parents are an important part of the College community and integral partners with us in their daughter’s education. We are committed to working closely with parents to achieve the best outcomes for our girls. Our Heads of Year are available to listen to parents who wish to share their concerns or challenges about their daughter’s education or socio-emotional development.
Inherited from the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, founders of the College, we strive to remain affordable and we believe we offer the best value for money of any school in our area.
“Teaching at Stella is rewarding because we include students of all abilities and from other countries and as a teacher it is rewarding to see students with a range of abilities strive to do the best they can. The girls are friendly and mature and it is a delight to connect with the same smiling faces every morning in PC time. I am a strong believer in girls’ education and it is deeply rewarding for me to work with these bright young women who are our future leaders.” – Alison Tedman, Head of English.
Why an independent school?
Parents choose the school that best serves the needs of their child in many ways, but research shows that one of the primary considerations is that their child be treated as an individual. Research has also shown that parents are not convinced by the number of tennis courts, swimming pools or playing fields. Evidence that interactions between teachers and students that are personal, mutually respectful and of the highest quality are far more convincing.
By-and-large, parents who choose independent schools do so for the following reasons:
- evidence of a strong pastoral care program and a generally nurturing environment
- the desire for a traditional values-based education or one steeped in a particular religious tradition
- a focus on building the character of each child through growing self-discipline, challenging antisocial behaviours and restorative justice programs
- the quality of the teachers and their relationships with each child
- the school’s high expectations of a positive attitude to learning, behaviour and grooming
- provision of an education tailored to the individual needs of their child
- the desire to be part of a community with a long history and strong traditions
- family or personal history of attending an independent school
“I went to Stella and there are quite a number of Old Girls on staff who understand the legacy left to them by the Good Sams. I want the same values and traditions for my daughter that were so much a part of my education.” – Julie, former student and parent of a Stella Girl.
Why a girls’ school?
Parents are often torn between the pros and cons of single-sex education; however, research in recent years has come down heavily in its favour. Some of the findings include:
- Gender stereotypes are challenged at every level. Subject selection, leadership, extra-curricular activities, behavioural and social expectations, all co-exist without the pressure of traditional gender roles. This has been linked to a greater likelihood that girls will pursue gender-atypical careers and have higher expectations of career success. What glass ceiling?
- Girls who attend gender-specific schools perform significantly higher on standardised tests and make academic gains above those of similar peers in co-ed schools.
- Girls in single-sex classes are more willing to take risks, raise their hands and express uncertainty because they do not fear embarrassing themselves in front of the boys. As a result, the classroom is often a far more dynamic, engaging environment.
- All the leadership roles in girls’ schools are filled by girls. Girls are expected to step up and be self-determining young women. Learned helplessness is actively discouraged in an all-girl environment. Younger students are constantly in the presence of older student and staff female role models so the messages about girls’ potential come through loud and clear.
- The curriculum in a girls’ school is tailored to meet girls’ particular needs and interests. Whether it be a feminist critique of Shakespeare, the identification of gender bias in cultural studies or an exploration of unrealistic body images perpetuated in the media, the classroom is a place where girls are free to question, explore, hypothesise and draw their own conclusions.
- In an all-girls’ school there is the freedom and support to work through the challenges of adolescence free of embarrassment or unwanted attention from boys. Girls are free to focus on academic concerns and personal growth without the pressures that having boys in close proximity all day every day can bring to the classroom.
- Girls’ schools are ideally positioned to educate, inspire and nurture the girls of today, who will be the leaders of tomorrow. In single-sex schools every girl has a voice.
At Stella Maris there are opportunities to mix socially and academically with boys from a number of local schools through drama, music, curriculum days, sport and debating, amongst others. At any time we may have a small number of senior boys enrolled at Stella for individual Preliminary and HSC subjects not offered at their schools, such as Extension History, Drama and Entertainment.
“Girls’ schools are aware of the need to recognise the particular learning styles of girls and respond through the provision of exceptional learning environments catering for girls, with acknowledgement of their diverse backgrounds and responsive to their individual needs.” – Elizabeth Carnegie, Principal.
“The annual school leaver results demonstrate, year after year, that girls from single-sex schools are over-represented in university enrolments, particularly in high-status university courses such as medicine and law.” – The Alliance of Girls’ Schools
“I love the environment that Stella provides for all us girls to enjoy and fully receive the benefits of a single sex school. We are in a caring school that provides many resources for us and teachers who are committed to helping us learn. I am proud to call myself a Stella Girl and be a part of such a great community!” – Grace, Year 9