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This article contains information that is for general information only and should not be used for the basis of making any decisions regarding education or anything else. It is solely the writer’s opinion of the writer’s experience of one open day at the school and the writer’s interactions with the people present on that day. The writer’s article is purely subjective. Facts and information may or may not be complete, accurate, reliable or valid reflection of the school in question.

I encourage you to personally tour the school and meet the educators and students, form your own opinion and leave a comment here.

Best of luck with your search for the perfect school!

Name: Brentwood Secondary College

Sector: Public

Gender: Co-educational

Religion: N/A

Year 12 Fees: N/A

Location: 65 – 71 Watsons Road Glen Waverley VIC 3150

Phone number(03) 8545 0300

Website: https://brentwood.vic.edu.au/

Tour Details

Taken on a Wed morning while the school was in action 

Principal spoke to the whole group in the courtyard, then the group was divided into two ( they were pretty big groups about 20-30 ppl in each group )

Principal and an Assistant Principal each took a tour group

Several students followed each of the groups but did not say much during the tour.  I also didn’t see anyone ask the students any questions.

Principal’s address and view 

Principal John Ballagh commenced the tour by speaking to the whole group ( about 50 people ) in the school courtyard.  He gave an overview of the school mainly about student numbers and enrolments.  The school is capped at 1650 students with 1600 local students and 50 international.  He spent a lot of time speaking about enrolment as apparently that is one the most asked questions parents have.  

During the tour he spoke about how at Brentwood, he believes that students learn best when they are happy and healthy so the wellbeing aspect of their education is well resourced.  He believes that co curricular activities such as sport, music and the arts are important in student’s education as it will help them with life skills such as  leadership and communication which in turn helps them in academics and in life. 

Brentwood Secondary College hall
Brentwood Secondary College board

View full gallery here.

Overall vibe of Brentwood Secondary College 

My impression of Brentwood is that it’s a school that encourages well roundedness of students.  They seem to help students find a pathway no matter what kind of student they are or what they’re interested in. John the Principal emphasised that when assessing students, they look for improvements no matter where they start – so even if they start at a high level, they want students to be continuously challenged, stretched and improving.  

There are many cocurricular activities on offer in terms of music, performing arts and sports and students are encouraged to participate.  Brentwood seems to be quite successful in competitive sports as well as offer many opportunities for students interested in performing arts and music.  The principal believes that engaging in cocurricular activities helps students suceed in academics as well as in life – learning leadership and communication skills which are important in life.  

The grounds felt a little bare and basic with concrete floors and grey buildings but were clean and neat and had some beautiful big trees and greenery in the courtyards.  Students were seen quietly engaged in classrooms listening to their teachers or working on their laptops. 

Enrollment at Brentwood Secondary College

Principal John Ballagh said that they can’t enrol everyone that applies in year 7, so they have a clear process on how students are accepted.  

The process is: 

  • All students who are accepted into Brentwood need have placed Brentwood as #1 on their preferences in grade 6
  • All children who live in the Brentwood zone will be accepted
  • Siblings of students who are studying at the school will be accepted.  Note siblings that have already graduated from Brentwood don’t count. 
  • Then they will start accepting students outside the zone, based on distance away from the zone.  
  • How far outside the zone students are accepted varies every year depending on how many places are filled with priority students ( in zone or siblings )
  • Last year students were accepted about 4.5km ( as the crow flies ) outside the zone but on average it’s about 10-12km outside the zone
  • About 50% of places are filled within the zone and 50% outside of the zone 
  • There is no preference for children of alumni 
  • If Brentwood is placed at preference #2 or #3 you will not get an offer

Year 7 at Brentwood Secondary College

There are 12 year 7 classes with 25 students per class ( total of 293 year 7 students ).  

We were taken to the TLC ( Thinking, Learning, Creativity ) centre where two year classes were taking place.  I believe these are just year 7 spaces.  

The principal spoke about the effort is taken to integrate the students into the school when they start in year 7.  There is a comprehensive orientation program and even a pre-orientation orientation program for students who may not know anyone when starting at the school if they don’t come from one of the main feeder schools.  Brentwood staff will visit primary schools and even get a profile of new Brentwood students from their primary school teachers so they have some knowledge of them before they start.  

There is a real focus on “get to know you” activities to help students getting to know each other and settle into the school.  Year 7 camp to Phillip Island takes place early on in February so students get to know each other and the teachers.  

Brentwood takes onsite placements by social workers and youth workers.  These “resilience workers” become part of the wellbeing team and support the year 7 classes by having another adult in the room to help with social dynamics and ensure that students feel included.  

Students can apply to be part of an enrichment program if they are skilled above their peers in an area of study.  

There is also a literary support program in year 7 to help students who may be struggling.


German and Japanese are taught at Brentwood.  In year 7 students pick one of those languages and by year 9 it becomes elective.  

The reasons behind German and Japanese comes down the tradition and their ties with sister schools in Germany and Japan.  There is an exchange program where Brentwood students can spend time at the sister schools overseas and go to school there.  Similarly Brentwood hosts sister school students at the school.  

John says that this kind of cultural exchange is part of the reason why their language program is successful and Brentwood has a high uptake of language right through.  

Aviation and Duke Of Ed 

Aviation is a unique elective offered at Brentwood in year 10 where students can learn how to fly a plane!  

Duke Of Ed which is a community service and outdoor education program is also offered. According to the principal they are one of few schools that offer the gold Duke of Ed program.  

ASPIRE Program

All students partake in the Aspire Program has 3 pillars 

  1. Self 
  2. Learner
  3. My Future     

I didn’t quite get the details of each pillar, but they revolve around developing resilience ( self) , study skills ( learner ) and careers ( my future ).  

Careers and pathways at Brentwood Secondary College

Both VCE and VCAL subjects are supported ay Brentwood.  While majority of the students will go onto uni, there are a portion – maybe 20 out of 250 that will go out to work and to apprenticeships.  John said “We make sure every student has a pathway.  An ATAR is no good if it doesn’t open doors.”

Wellbeing hub at Brentwood Secondary College

The wellbeing building is currently being renovated.  

John emphasised that wellbeing is a priority for the school and should be a focus for all hence, the wellbeing programs and staff are well resourced.  There are several mental health workers and two counsellors as well as 8-10 placement workers at the school.  

The aim is to always have someone available for any issues a student may have.   John said that for students to learn well, they need to be both happy and healthy.  

Music / Performing arts at Brentwood Secondary College

Classroom music is offered from year 7 to 12.  Students can also learn instruments and have opportunities to participate in ensembles and choirs that perform regularly.  

There also seems to be an emphasis on performing arts.  There is a big school production each year which according to John is a big professional show.  There’s also a junior production especially for the year 7s and 8s to participate as often the bigger parts of the school production go to older kids.  


It seems Brentwood has a large number of sports on offer and students are encouraged to participate.  The schools seems quite successful in competitions and proudly displays their wins and awards near the gym.  

Inclusion / Diversity / Neurodiversity  at Brentwood Secondary College

I spoke to John and asked him about how they cater for neurodiversity.  He says that it depends on their learning plan and some kids will have special requirements including changes to their classroom, help with subjects etc.  He says as they take everyone who is in the zone and some that aren’t, they have neurodiverse kids and have catered to their needs.  

I didn’t see any signs about LGBTQI clubs or activism that I’ve seen in other schools. 

Last words 

Brentwood’s education seems to be quite well rounded and not just focussed on academic study.  There is a great emphasis on wellbeing of students and the principal’s opinion is that if students are healthy and happy they’ll learn well.  

I get the feeling that compared with the other large high schools in the area, Brentwood offers an education that’s quite diverse, catering for students who are academic and not so academic, as well as students who might be creative, arty, like working with their hands etc.  

There are also opportunities to explore a wide variety of music, performing arts, sports, outdoor education, cultural exchange and even aviation! Overall this public school seems like an excellent option for the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. 

Do you have any experience, questions or comments about this school? Let our community know and add a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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  1. I’m thrilled with your review! I have a grade 3 boy in Brandon Park Primary school so looking at options.. thank you so much 😊

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