The Age, Wednesday 18th December 2019

About 150 Mazenod College religion and society students were fast-tracked to complete the subject’s VCE final exams in year 11 this year. Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

To turn his Catholic boys’ school into a humanities powerhouse, Mazenod College subject co-ordinator Nick Young said he had to confront the students’ weaknesses.

“Boys definitely connect with history; they love war, revolution and those sorts of narratives,” he said. “But they don’t like reading. That’s a stereotype that exists, so their holiday homework is a lot of reading. We try to upskill them and normalise it before they come into exam year.”

The strategy has paid off: an analysis by The Age found Mazenod College in Mulgrave was one of the top schools for 40-plus study scores across several humanities subjects.

For the fourth successive year Mazenod topped the state in religion and society, with 17 scores of 40 or above, nine ahead of the next best school. It also had eight 40-plus scores in History: Revolutions, and four in global politics and geography.

About 12,500 students achieved a study score of 40 or more in a VCE subject this year, which means their results were in the top 9 per cent of the state.

Kyle Hoad, Mazenod’s religion and society co-ordinator, said almost all of this year’s 150 VCE students completed the subject in year 11 as part of the school’s accelerated program.

“We say to the year 10 students, ‘Hey, if you want to be part of this cohort that gets great results, you’ve got to show us in year 10 that you’re trying’,” Mr Hoad said.

“If you can get over 70 per cent in your English and RE exams in year 10, I’ll put you in.

Mazenod offers students the opportunity to join an accelerated history class from year 7.

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