The real value of education: How important is an ATAR ranking after school?

Does an ATAR ranking alone define the real value of education?

When was the last time you mentioned your ATAR score? Is it something that comes up in regular conversation? Were you required to provide your score to future employers? For Year 12 students, ATAR is often the centre of the universe. But how important is an ATAR ranking after school? In retrospect, it’s only a small component of a much larger education journey. An education that is focused solely on an ATAR score is going to be one that is seriously lacking. That is why Guildford Grammar School provides an education that is so much more and has a real vision for your child’s future.

What matters when you’re choosing a school? What’s an education worth having? There is no denying the importance of studying hard and striving for the best possible outcome. Of course, ATAR is important and different opportunities come from a good ATAR score. But it is one (average) point estimate in a lifetime. For many parents, what matters most is how schooling can prepare children for an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world.

At the heart of every parent’s decision-making process is their vision for the type of person their child will become; they choose a school based on what type of people leave its grounds. At Guildford Grammar, our focus is on making your child the best possible version of themselves.

The real value of education lies in shaping young people for successful futures. This is the foundation of an education worth having. As a fellow parent, here are my seven tips on what to look for in a school:

  1. Compassion and care are critical. An outstanding pastoral care system is required to nurture children and provide a safe learning environment.
  2. Variety is valuable. A wide range of options – scholarly, creative and sporting – is important so that students don’t feel pressured into ‘one path’. Guildford Grammar provides extraordinary opportunities with a broad range of co-curricular activities.
  3. Quality facilities and room to move provide students with an optimum environment for learning. At Guildford, students enjoy a stimulating environment with plenty of wide-open space to explore.
  4. Strong traditions and a proud school history can be used to inspire achievement rather than dwelling in the past – to Go Forward. Seek schools that consistently innovate.
  5. A great community. Schools that look to actively engage their community demonstrate a commitment to partnering with families and valuing their contribution to the school. Alumni and parent groups create valuable learning experiences for students and can help you feel connected.
  6. A school that values diversity of thought and experience will help better prepare children for the opportunities and challenges of life.
  7. I believe strongly in co-educational schooling. Our son and daughter were both fortunate to benefit richly from attending the same school together.    

Guildford Grammar School caters for, and represents, all the above qualities. But it is so much more. As some of our teachers have posted, an education worth having is about students being at the very core of the School – teaching them what they want and need, rather than a prescribed curriculum that will help them achieve a particular score. 

Finally, teaching kids to be resilient is at the heart of a good education. After all, it’s not how you fall, but how you get back up that matters. Add to that immersive, real-world experiences that aid creative thinking, and universal skills and capabilities that are so needed in modern society. That is an education worth having. 

Guildford Grammar School leads the way as an inclusive Kindergarten to Year 12, co-educational boarding and day school in Western Australia. With a proud heritage of 125 years, you can be sure that students will be inspired to live a life of purpose, defined by their character and not just a test score.

If you’d like to learn more about the real value of a Guildford Grammar education, I invite you to book a tour and experience the Guildford difference for yourself.

By Peter Kerr, Fellow of Council and Old Guildfordian (Wb 85-87).