Muswellbrook High School's new Ace program helping students through Higher School Certificate

SUCCESS: Justyn Guilfoyle at Muswellbrook High School following his Ace program presentation.
SUCCESS: Justyn Guilfoyle at Muswellbrook High School following his Ace program presentation.

EVERY student is different, and one way of learning does not suit them all.

In an effort to help pupils who thrive in a practical learning space, Muswellbrook High School has created a new program.

Their Ace course, a first in NSW, allows students to complete their Higher School Certificate in one year instead of two, with a range of added qualifications, and no exams.

The school developed a structure where they removed time-consuming aspects not applicable to these students, to make it as practical as possible for their educational requirements.

Deputy principal Brian Drewe said the Certificate II courses were all HSC-based subjects, which, in the end, equated to an HSC.

“It’s designed for students who in the past have left Year 11, and targeted particularly at students at end of Year 10 who are looking at risk of leaving school,” he said.

“They do one Certificate II course condensed into one term’s time.”

Justyn Guilfoyle was the first at Muswellbrook High, and the state, to complete the program.

“I didn’t really enjoy mainstream class as much as everyone else,” he said.

The local teen said he enjoyed the Ace program a lot more – and found his whole attitude to study changed once he enrolled.

Mr Drewe said the students had maximum time in the practical space.

In 2016, their pilot year, they started with 15 pupils, many of which left to start a job.

“Fifty per cent of students in the program went directly to a workplace,” Mr Drewe said.

Because of the Ace program, Justyn now has three nationally accredited Certificate II awards and a Higher School Certificate.

There are 28 students enrolled in the Ace program at Muswellbrook High this year.

Some of the school’s staff members attended a conference in Coffs Harbour last year to present the program to other schools across the state.