Narrabundah College

Narrabundah College is a government college that teaches the last two years of secondary education in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).[1] It was the first school in Australia to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB), starting the programme in February 1978.[2][3]

Narrabundah College
Coordinates35°20′10″S 149°8′52″E / 35.33611°S 149.14778°E / -35.33611; 149.14778Coordinates: 35°20′10″S 149°8′52″E / 35.33611°S 149.14778°E / -35.33611; 149.14778
TypeHigh school
MottoDiscover, Care, Excel
PrincipalKerrie Grundy
Colour(s)Yellow and black

Despite attempts to close the college in the late 1970s due to falling enrolments, the school now has a full enrolment and an extensive waiting list. It has earned a reputation for academic excellence in the ACT, attracting 63% of its students from out of area including New South Wales.[citation needed]


Narrabundah College was formed as a result of the ACT developing its own education system in 1974. The new system meant that public high schools would only teach from year 7 to 10, and that years 11 and 12 would be completed at a separate school. The pre-existing Narrabundah High School was re-formed as Narrabundah College.[3]

Due to low enrolments, the ACT Schools' Authority threatened to close the school in 1978. This prompted the community into seeking backing for the IB programme. The then-federal Minister for Education, John Carrick, approved the commencement of the programme in 1979, ensuring the survival of the school.[3] It has prospered in the years since.


Map of Narrabundah College before the demolition of blocks D, B, and C in 2018.

The college campus is located in the suburb of Narrabundah, Canberra. It consists of several buildings including the large "S Block" which was originally the segregated senior building for years 11 and 12 prior to the school becoming a secondary college. In addition to a quadrangle and a canteen, the college also has a gymnasium and a theatre, as well as spacious playing fields on which students may spend their free time and is close to golf courses, public ovals and the local shops.

The College facilities also feature smart boards, iPads, and computer and science labs.[2] Every student is supplied a laptop computer for personal and educational use according to ACT legislation.[4]

Block B, Block C, and Block D were contaminated with friable crocidolite asbestos. As such, the ACT Government employed Robson Environmental to undertake regular inspections to ensure the safety of staff and students. Furthermore, the affected buildings were demolished after the 2018 school year, and are to be replaced with modern educational facilities. Transportable classrooms were installed in the college during session 2 of 2018.[5]


Narrabundah College offers a wide range of courses, and is highly regarded in the field of languages. As well as ESL and TIS (Translating and Interpreting Skills), the college offers students the opportunity to study the following languages:

Hindi was taken off of the curriculum during the 2018 school year, but was reintroduced by the 2019 enrolment period.

Indonesian was scheduled to be removed from the curriculum in 2019 due to low interest; however, due to a student-organised petition for the school to continue teaching the language, the college has continued to offer Indonesian as a class.[6]

Student assessmentsEdit

For students to be awarded a Year 12 Certificate on the completion of Year 12, they must complete a total of 17 units from College courses including either 3 majors and 3 minors, 4 majors and 1 minor, or 5 majors. Courses offered by the College are assessed based on how students perform during assignments, essays, tests, "lab-pracs", workshop projects, and creative works depending on what is appropriate for the course area.[2]

Each course offered by the College is designated tertiary (T), vocational (V), or accredited (A). Students completing A units are awarded an A to E grade based on performance for each course criteria, students completing V units are designated as 'competent' (C) or 'not yet competent' (NYC), and students completing T units will receive an A to E grade as well as a score to indicate a rank compared to other students in the same course. Students who fail to complete the minimum requirements for assessments will "void" the unit, and do not have that unit count towards the completion of their course.[2]


Narrabundah College showing front entrance and driveway, Winter 2008
People at Narrabundah College. From left to right: staff, student, assistant principal.
Narrabundah College students, along with Principal, Assistant Principal and representative of the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.

In 2006, 918 students were enrolled at Narrabundah College, which had a capacity of 912 students. 86% of college-aged students in the college's priority enrolment area attend Narrabundah, yet over half of students enrolled in the school do not live in the priority enrolment area.[7]

In 2007, Narrabundah College was the best performing government-run college in the ACT, with a higher average University Admission Index (before the introduction of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) and a greater number of students achieving a UAI of 65 or over than any other state college. Narrabundah students also made a high proportion of those achieving in the top one percent of the state, with 18 students achieving a UAI of over 99. In addition to this, Narrabundah College also awarded more Tertiary Entrance Statements, and more Year 12 Certificates than any other college in the ACT.[8]

A very high percentage of Narrabundah College students who graduate with a Year 12 Certificate also obtain a ATAR and go on to study at university. In 2017, the median ATAR gained by students of Narrabundah College was 83.7 compared with the average of students from all across ACT colleges of 77. 86.75% of students from the college who were awarded Tertiary Education Statements in 2017 scored over 65 for their ATAR, while 144 students attained an ATAR above 90, and 86 students received a score above 95.[9]

Narrabundah College consists of a large number of students from foreign countries and non-English speaking backgrounds, being the school in Canberra with the most foreign students. There are significant numbers of diplomatic, exchange, and International Private Students (IPS) studying at Narrabundah College whose attendance is importance to its financing. The college is also known for its large numbers of students of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese ethnicity, carrying Narrabundah's ATAR and reputation with their work ethic.

Notable alumniEdit

The following people are notable former students who attended Narrabundah College:

Sister schoolsEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "Narrabundah College". Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "ACT Schools Authority". Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  4. ^ Quinlan, Glynis. "All Canberra public students in Years 7-11 to receive laptops early next year | The RiotACT". The RiotACT. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions - Narrabundah College". ACT Education Directorate. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  6. ^ College, Narrabundah (1 January 2003). "Indonesian at Narrabundah College will continue in 2019". Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ crCohortStats_NoVET.rpt Archived 2008-05-28 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Welcome". 1 January 2003. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  10. ^ "h2g2 - The Doug Anthony Allstars - Edited Entry". Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  11. ^ Pryor, Sally (26 September 2013). "Short end of the stick". Archived from the original on 4 October 2013.
  12. ^ Artist keeps mum on lofty theme, Canberra Times, May 7, 2013
  13. ^ Griffiths, John (6 November 2014). "Celebrating ACT Public School alumni". Archived from the original on 16 April 2016.
  14. ^ Celebrating the Achievements of our Past Students, ACT Government, archived from the original on 30 January 2017, retrieved 31 January 2017
  15. ^ Canberra Liberals Archived 2006-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Doherty, Megan (25 January 2013). "Timomatic and the local hero ... a dynamic duo for Australia Day". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Machine Translations: We Chat with J Walker". Coast. Coast Media Pty Ltd (Maria Reed). Summer 2009. pp. 30–32. ISSN 1833-3648. Retrieved 27 December 2013.

External linksEdit