St. Andrew’s Grammar: A Greek Orthodox school in WA with a major success story

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St. Andrew’s Grammar in Western Australia with close to 800 enrolled students, is a school with a community with a single focus – to develop a love of learning through outstanding teaching and a knowledge of every child. Its staff, students and parents work collectively together to achieve academic excellence and maintain the school’s special Hellenic character.

In an interview with The Greek Herald, school Principal Craig Monaghan stressed this distinct Greek core and said St. Andrew’s Grammar is becoming one of Australia’s fastest growing schools.

The school was in significant decline year upon year for a decade, reaching a low of 379 students in 2019 when Mr Monaghan first took on the role of Principal. The school is now just short of 800 students and has averaged a 20 per cent growth year upon year since then. The school is co-educational and offers Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12.

st andrew's grammar
St. Andrew’s Grammar in Western Australia has close to 800 enrolled students and a distinct Hellenic character.

“We’re quite different from other Greek Orthodox schools on the East Coast of Australia who have up to 95 per cent of students with Greek heritage. In 2022, we had seven per cent Greek students and we have since improved that to 13 per cent. We are working hard at ensuring that our Greek families seek us out now prior to us capping the school roll at 900,” Mr Monaghan said.

“We are very multicultural. All our students study the Greek language up to and including Year 8. They study Religion from Kindergarten to Year 8 and either Orthodox or Christian Values Studies from Years 8 to 12. So, we really reinforce the Hellenic culture and the Greek language and Orthodox Christian values to every student, many students who aren’t Greek. It is quite a unique situation.”

The school Principal added that St. Andrew’s Grammar is also focused on academic excellence and on being a community.

st andrew's grammar
St. Andrew’s Grammar is focused on academic excellence and on being a community.

“I think that the academic achievements have been part of the school’s recent popularity. Our recent results, with 100 per cent of our NAPLAN scores being above national and state averages and with our recent ATAR results (median of 88 and nearly a third of students gaining an ATAR of 90 or more), have been exceptional,” Mr Monaghan said.

“However, the key reason parents are looking to us is the fact that we know every child. We know their strengths and their weaknesses. We really teach the child rather than the subject.”

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St. Andrew’s Grammar puts the students first.

Building a campus that is ‘second to none’

Despite St. Andrew’s Grammar clearly growing academically and culturally, Mr Monaghan said its campus was “nothing to write home about” – until now.

Centrally located in the Perth suburb of Dianella, the school campus is currently undergoing significant development as part of a new Strategic Plan (2023 – 2028).

Over the next four years, the school will undergo five infrastructure projects which will involve new Pre-Kindergarten classes, a Science and Technology building, a new cafeteria, a Performing Arts Centre, and a specialist sports arena, among many other exciting developments.

Mr Monaghan said these plans are ambitious, but they have the support of its owners the Hellenic Community of Western Australia (HCWA) to accommodate the intensive school growth in recent years.

The HCWA’s ownership of St. Andrew’s Grammar, together with its financial contribution to the school’s prosperity, makes St. Andrew’s the flagship in promoting Hellenism and the Hellenic culture to the greater Western Australia community. The HCWA had the foresight and have been there to ensure the school’s strategic success, including the long-term appointment of Mr Monaghan.  

“The campus development is an important project to be able to retain our size, our uniqueness and our Hellenic character, but to also create a campus that is second to none,” he said.

“Parents and students come because of our community, our teachers, our academics. Now we need a campus which ensures that we assist our teachers in doing what they do so well.

“We have the land, we have just never really developed it… so it’s a really, exciting time. Our school will be a building site for the next five years, but I think we will all look back and think ‘wow, look at our campus now.’ It will be as good as any campus in Perth.”

st andrew's grammar
School Principal Craig Monaghan said parents and students come to the school because of its community, teachers and academics.

Retaining the school’s unique Greek character

Of course, with any growth comes change. Although this is something the school Principal is aware of, he said St. Andrew’s Grammar will remain proudly Hellenic, building traditions around Christian values.

“Even if the student has nothing to do with Orthodox Studies at home – they might be from a completely different religion – well, that’s fine because our teachers talk about world religions from a Greek Orthodox background,” Mr Monaghan said.

st andrew's grammar
St. Andrew’s Grammar is proudly Hellenic, building traditions around Christian values.

In the face of a student population which is strongly multicultural with more than 50 different nationalities represented, this Christian base is admirable. Couple this with the school’s celebration of Greek history and culture, and you have the perfect mix.

“We do special assemblies celebrating Greek Independence Day and OXI Day for example, and they are outstanding celebrations. All these Greek events are part and parcel of the school calendar and are predominantly held in our authentic Amphitheatre. They are sacrosanct and a core part of our annual calendar,” Mr Monaghan said.

St. Andrew’s Grammar will also be proudly hosting the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia National Schools Event (GOAANSE) from May 6 – 9, 2025.

st andrew's grammar
School Principal Craig Monaghan (right) said despite campus growth, the school will not lose its Hellenic character nor its knowledge of every child.

“We are honoured to be hosting this prestigious event. Our whole team of staff and students are excited, and we have been hard at work for a while now to ensure next year’s games are a memorable time for everyone involved,” Mr Monaghan said.

“It’s about celebrating Hellenism, celebrating our culture and holding onto those key events throughout the year. That’s what makes us who we are.”

St. Andrew’s Grammar is holding a Greek & Orthodox Family Open Day on Tuesday, August 13 from 9.30am. Register here: https://bit.ly/3xw36pu

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