Sydney Morning Herald
YEAR 12 students at a private school in Sydney are forced to complete HSC subjects at TAFE if it appears they will not score high marks.
Malek Fahd Islamic School, in Greenacre, joined the top 10 HSC performers in the Herald's league table for the first time last year, ranking ninth - a jump from 15th position the previous year.
Malek Fahd students, who pay fees to attend the school, make up close to half the free HSC chemistry class at Bankstown TAFE this year.
Ken Enderby, who co-ordinates the Bankstown TAFE HSC program, said in recent years students had told him they had to take HSC subjects at TAFE because they could not sit them at Malek Fahd. He said one Malek Fahd student who was asked to leave the school achieved a lowest score of 60 per cent and a highest score of 72 per cent at TAFE.
"I have had parents in tears because their children have not been allowed to sit subjects at the school," he said.
"I'm happy to have those kids here. These are very good students - well behaved and a pleasure to teach."
Twenty-one year 12 students from Malek Fahd enrolled at Bankstown TAFE this year to complete studies in subjects including physics, mathematics and chemistry, all offered at the school.
Of the 24 students enrolled in the Bankstown TAFE HSC chemistry class, 11 are from Malek Fahd.
Mr Enderby said eight students from Malek Fahd were taking legal studies at the TAFE.
The principal of Malek Fahd, Intaj Ali, said yesterday his school offered 11 HSC subjects, including advanced English and mathematics, biology, business studies, chemistry, physics, studies of religion, and legal studies.
Dr Ali denied that he had encouraged poorer performing students to study at TAFE. "No, no, no," he said. "There is no such thing. It is only when they want to change a subject." The 71 students who completed the HSC at the school last year achieved 126 results in band six, which are marks of 90 per cent or more.
Dr Ali said the school had gradually increased its subjects and its student numbers.
Since the school was established by Australian Federation of Islamic Councils in October 1989, the student population has grown from 87 children from kindergarten to year 3 to more than 1700 children from kindergarten to year 12.
The school has rapidly improved its performance in the Herald's HSC results league table, which is based on the number of student scores of 90 per cent and above divided by the number of examinations attempted.
Malek Fahd only receives credit for the subjects that are completed at the school. TAFE colleges receive credit for Malek Fahd students who sit their examinations at TAFE.
Mr Enderby said 13 Malek Fahd students were at Bankstown TAFE last year.
The HSC co-ordinator at Granville TAFE, Dougal Patey, said some Malek Fahd students also studied at his institution.
Year 12 students at Malek Fahd pay about $1600 in fees for the year. The school received $3.6 million in state funding and $9.3 million in federal funding in the 2006-07. The funding had increased 14 per cent over four years.
It earned $2.4 million from fees and recorded a surplus of $3.4 million for the year ending in December 2006, $500,000 more than the previous year.