Wanneroo Senior High School
Wanneroo Senior High School came into being on the 7th February, 1977, opening its doors to 180 Year 8 students from the contributory schools of Yanchep, Wanneroo and St Anthony’s under the inaugural Principal Mr Glynn Watkins O. A. (dec.). The Deputy Principals were Mrs Betty Cockman and Mr George Teasdale. As with all the early teachers, the thirteen staff in this first year were specially selected to reinforce the ethos of innovative teaching and learning strategies and pastoral care. On the rural urban fringe, Wanneroo was the northernmost school in the metropolitan area and at times had students travelling in from outlying areas including the fishing communities of Quinns Rock, Burns Beach as well as Yanchep and surrounding farming areas. With rapid growth the school expanded to over thirteen hundred students in the mid 1980’s.
Wanneroo SHS was an innovative lighthouse school from the start. Mr Watkins was given the brief to create W.A.’s first flexible area school and he had toured Canada and the USA to study educational methods prior to opening the school.
“Caring and Excellence” were the twin approaches to the education of the students.
The day started with a half hour Teacher Advisory Group meeting. An integral part of pastoral care, TAG teachers and groups were to remain with students throughout their years at high school and engaged in a series of activities both in and out of school to promote cohesiveness and team building. Each TAG group belonged to a house.
The houses were named by students and teachers using the letters “WANERO” for WANNEROO; Watkins, after the first Principal and the others after an aboriginal leader and early settlers in the Wanneroo District. Watkins (Wattle yellow), Ariti (Azure/Aqua blue), Noogongoo (Navy blue), Elliott (Emerald green), Rogers (Red), Okely (Orange).
These names and colours continue today. House flags made by one of the early teachers, Meg Cowey will be preserved and exhibited in the library as the school community come up with a newer version to represent the houses.
Strong house spirit was fostered and parades and performances by houses were a colourful enjoyable part of sporting carnivals. Year Co-Ordinators were also a key part of the pastoral care program. Flex-days were a part of the school program where the timetable was suspended for the day and educational excursions run across the whole school or TAG teachers organised, with their group, community service projects in the local community or short courses/activities were run to extend student learning beyond the normal curriculum.
Parent involvement was integral to the school and Wanneroo was one of the first with a School Council, as well as a Parent Liaison Officer. The triangular emblem for the school incorporated in its design the key co-operation between the school staff, students and parents.
In terms of excellence, Wanneroo SHS was founded as a flexible learning area school, where the class rooms separated by concertina doors opened to allow groups to be joined together and also to make use of the adjacent activity area to enable innovative learning through team teaching with collaborative and flexible learning strategies to take place.
The school was organised around three blocks comprising the Junior School (now Maths block), Middle School (Society & Environment) and Senior School (English/Student Services). Senior students had the use of their activity area as a coffee shop at breaks. To maximise learning the day was organised into three zones each of hundred minutes during which a variety of teaching and learning methods were used.
Innovative at the time of founding, courses and learning were open to all students and were not divided on gender lines. Of note is that teaching periods were called zones as part of the non gender based nomenclature.
Wanneroo is proud of the achievements of all its students and the contributions they have made to society, including the pinnacle of academic achievement in secondary schools, our Beazley Medal Winner (highest score in the state in University Entrance exams) in 1987, David Holthouse (now a neurosurgeon). We hope ex-students will share more through the websites Alumni page.
“Caring and Excellence” has now translated into Our Way of Teaching and Learning at Wanneroo with “Dream, Believe, Learn, Succeed …. Star in Your Future” as our vision and aim for all students.
In 2013, we became an IndependentPublic School, changing our name to WannerooSecondaryCollege. As an IndependentPublic School we have come full circle, once again being able to select our staff to suit our students and maximise their learning and achievements as individuals.
Our new emblem was updated incorporating the historical symbolism from our beginnings and adding the newer version to include the three rising stars, (or the tree of knowledge) representing staff, students and parents, in partnership to help students reach their potential, reaching for the stars, encouraging students to “Dream Believe Learn and Succeed” and to “Star in their future”.
The three solid triangles represent the balance between past, present and future. They symbolise the foundations of our past, working on our present, for the best outcome of our future. The pyramid represents the child. Striving up, encouraged and supported by the solid community influences within, together, building a life towards independent adulthood on a solid foundation.