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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.

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Name: Glen Waverley Secondary College

Sector: Public

Gender: Co-educational

Religion: N/A

Year 12 Fees: N/A

Location: 13-21 O’Sullivan Rd, Glen Waverley, Victoria 3150

Phone number61 3 8805 6700

Website: https://www.gwsc.vic.edu.au/

Tour Details

Tour was taken by Assistant Principal Jackie Knight 

Run on a Thursday morning while the school was in action

Tour group was quite large with about 30-40 people

There were no GWSC students on the tour and no opportunity to interact with them during the tour

Glen Waverley Secondary College assistant principal’s address

Jackie Knight seemed personable and knowledgeable about Glen Waverley Secondary College.  She stopped several times during the tour to ask if any parents had questions about the school.  

During the tour, Jackie emphasised that there is more to the school that just high achieving academic students and results that the school is well known for.  She said that despite the image, the school caters for all kinds of students and students at all levels and provides support for those that are struggling through literacy and numeracy programs. 

Even though they are strong in traditional academic subjects, the school is big enough to cater for a wide variety of interests and strengths.  She mentioned that at VCE level they encourage students to do what they are good at, even if that doesn’t involve maths / sciences etc as this is how they achieve very high scores.  She mentioned that they have students who score 99+ who don’t do academic subjects.  

I asked her about her thoughts on why the school does so well and is it just the kids and families that go there.  She said “success breeds success” – because the school is well known for high achievement, families with high achieving kids aim to go to the school by moving into the zone. 

The kids from these families tend to be relatively well behaved and willing to learn which means that the school also attracts good teachers who enjoy teaching engaged kids – hence success breeds success.  

She also said that because the school is big, this means that they can run a lot of programs and provide a lot of opportunities.  

View full gallery here.

The vibe at Glen Waverley Secondary College

Glen Waverley Secondary College is a big school with 2100 students.  The school grounds are surprisingly large and set right next to The Glen shopping centre and directly opposite Dan Murphy’s and a public carpark.  Despite being right in the middle of the busy shopping and dining district of Glen Waverley, once you’re inside, the grounds seem clean, relatively secluded and quite expansive with a full size oval out the back.  

Glen Waverley Secondary College is well known for its academic results and is a school that attracts high achieving students and aspirational families.  From my impression from the tour, this is definitely true.  There was a lot of mention of achievement and VCE results and how the students in the school are relatively well behaved and very high achieving.  It seems like a school where the focus is on achieving the highest VCE score possible and to enter into the university course of choice. 

VM ( Vocational Major ) is apparently now compulsory at all schools and is offered at Glen Waverley Secondary College starting from this year.  There are 18 students doing VM as an alternative to VCE, a small number with the overwhelming majority doing VCE. 


Despite its reputation for being solely academic focussed, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they seem to support kids’ interests outside academics too with many kinds of lunch time and after school clubs to partake in.  

Jackie mentioned debating, dance, library ambassador to name a few.  She said the school is big enough to support any kind of club that the students want to form, it’s likely that there’ll be other students happy to join.  She even mentioned one student is excellent at golf and is supported to do this by the school.  

Boy:girl ratio is about 55:45.  

Class sizes vary with smaller classes in the senior levels.  Depending on the popularity of the class at VCE level, class sizes range from 15-26.  From years 7-9 there are 24-26 maximum in each class.  

Classroom wise, there is a lot of glass so that staff can keep a close eye on students.  Classrooms are not generally open planned though. 

Enrolment at Glen Waverley Secondary College

Because of the popularity of GWSC, the school has not accepted anyone outside the zone for about 20 years one of the staff members said.  The catchment is strictly enforced.  They said even if they did accept students outside the zone, it would be purely based on proximity and they are unable to take anything else into account.  

The staff on the tour mentioned that you must live in the zone and you must remain in the zone for the students’ entire education at Glen Waverley Secondary College.  Siblings are not guaranteed entry if you move away.  I didn’t ask if the student would be allowed to continue if they had already started there.

Extension program at Glen Waverley Secondary College

There is no extension program like the SEAL programs at other schools.  Jackie hinted that because such a large proportion of the students there are high achieving, it wouldn’t be possible to extend them all. 

They do have differentiated learning in the classrooms where the classroom teachers will extend the students that need extension and work with other students at their level.  She mentioned they don’t “accelerate” kids but “enrich” their learning.  So a year 7 won’t be accelerated to year 10 maths, but will be given work to deepen their learning.  

There is a “scholar’s program” in years 9 and 10.  The program is an after school program that takes around 23-24 kids.  They look for high achieving but also well rounded students with interests outside of study.  They meet once / week after school and are encouraged to do a “passion project” outside of their normal studies.  Year 10 students in the program can take on VCE subjects. 

Students can apply to be part of the program and teachers can also recommend students for the program.  There is an interview process that takes place on admission.


Literacy / Numeracy support at Glen Waverley Secondary College

There are also a numeracy support program at the school for students that need extra support academically.  This is an intervention program that teaches kids in small groups.  The literacy program is commencing next year as they have identified there are students that need literacy support.  They will recommend that these students taking the literacy support program do this instead of a second language. 

Languages at Glen Waverley Secondary College

French and Chinese are taught at the school at many levels.  However there are limited spaces in each language.

Music at Glen Waverley Secondary College

There is an extensive music program at the school involving about 400 students, including instrumental lessons, bands and productions.  Jackie emphasised that students were encouraged to have a go at music rather worry about excelling in it.

Sports at Glen Waverley Secondary College

There also seems to be a lot of sports on offer and the school can facilitate anything that the students are passionate in.  There is a large oval and a under cover court being built.  Jackie mentioned a few courts on site that we didn’t see.  There is an athletics and swimming carnival where all students are encouraged to participate.  


We visited the arts building where Jackie said the students take all kinds of arts subjects including for VCE.  She was again at pains to say that although Glen Waverley Secondary College is known for its academic subjects, many students do well in art subjects too in VCE and there is something for everyone here.  Arts electives she mentioned included media, sculture, photography and a few more.


Although the library isn’t large, the enthusiastic librarian who spoke with the tour group more than made up for it.  

Reading for pleasure is highly encouraged and valued at Glen Waverley Secondary College.  There is a wide reading program as part of the English curriculum.  She said that there is a correlation between strong readers and literacy and general academic results.  Reading also encourages empathy and well roundedness.  

The Library Ambassador Club is a leadership role where students with the library book displays, recommend books to other students and generally encourage reading at the school.

Diversity / Inclusion at Glen Waverley Secondary College

When I asked about how they catered for neurodiversity and other kinds of diversity, Jackie answered broadly in that they value diversity.  She mentioned that they have a cultural diversity day or week where everyone comes wearing their cultural wear.  Not just national culture, but their own culture eg footy gear.  

I didn’t have the opportunity to ask any more about neurodiversity and LGBTQI and how they are supported and neither did she mention it again. 

She did bring up the topic of bullying.  As with any other big school there is some bullying that happens but she said it generally is not a big issue and “everyone is usually nice to each other”.  Most of the bullying that does happen, happens online.  

The school aims to reduce this by educating students about what their rights and responsibilities are as internet citizens, what to do and where to go for help if they are being bullied.  She mentioned using “restorative practice” which sounds like mediation when incidents occur – building relationships and encouraging kids to think about how they make others feel.  

In the rare incidences where there is physical violence there is severe punishment as physical violence is not tolerated.  

As you would expect, the school reflects the ethnic diversity of Glen Waverley with the vast majority of students coming from some kind of Asian and South Asian descent. 

Wellbeing at Glen Waverley Secondary College

Jackie mentioned that there was a lot of wellbeing support at the school and wellbeing is actively promoted. She mentioned health education classes and living and learning classes held during PE.  There is a wellbeing centre with mental health staff include counsellors and educational psychologists.  Students can self report there or they can be referred by year level leaders.

Final words

Glen Waverley Secondary College is a school that is well known for its academic results.    Their explanation about why the school does so well seems to make sense.  Due to its reputation, the school attracts high achieving, academic students, who in turn attract good teachers who enjoy teaching engaged students, thus creating a virtuous cycle of success.  

Although there’s no doubt that the education is very focussed on the end game of VCE results, there seems to be room for other interests and passions outside of VCE too.  

Glen Waverley Secondary College is a school that understands their reputation for being purely academic and wants it to be known that they encourage a wide variety of music, arts and sports as well.  Although doing well in VCE is the goal, students can achieve this at GWSC without doing traditionally academic subjects.  There are established programs and new programs to help students who need support in literacy and numeracy. 

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. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your detailed and thorough insights Crystal. Made me feel as though I was on tour with you!

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