Somerset College: Wikis


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Somerset College
Latin: Deo confidimus
("In God we trust")
Established 1983
School Type Private/Independent
Denomination Non-Denominational
Slogan Deo Confidimus
School Fees $15 500 (per annum, 1 child family)
Location Mudgeeraba, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Enrolment 1170
Employees 150+
Colours Blue, Green & White

Somerset College is a non-denominational Christian school located in Mudgeeraba, Gold Coast, Australia.



Somerset College is one of Australia's leading independent Primary and Secondary education providers. From humble beginnings in 1983, Somerset College has achieved a much esteemed position in education. The success of its students and staff in academic, pastoral, cultural, physical and spiritual domains has flowed from a tangible commitment to excellence and collaboration. Somerset College was opened on 27 January 1983 with 158 pupils, ranging from Years 1 to 8. The first headmaster was Rod Wells. The second headmaster was Dr Barry J. Arnison OAM, who was appointed in 1986 and retired at the end of 2008, having served as headmaster for 23 years. Affectionately known as Bazza by pupils, Dr Arnison was held in very high regard by the School community. Mr Craig Bassingthwaite was chosen as Dr Arnison's successor and commenced his duties in January 2009. In December 2009, Mrs Beverley Gallus retired as Senior Deputy, having spent 24 years in the position. The current head of the Junior School is Mrs Virginia Lamb. The first Year 12 students graduated in 1987.

The School's traditional colours are green and blue, based on the values possessed by the founding members of the School Board. Green pays homage to the School's farmland location. Blue relates to the ocean which lies in the vicinity of the College.

School Structure

The school is divided into the Junior School (Prep-Year 7) and the Senior School (Years 8-12). Both have their separate administration centres; however, Mr C. Bassingthwaighte is headmaster of the entire school.

In Years 1 to 6, children have a single teacher for all subjects except for Physical Education, Art, Music and Language classes, which are conducted by specialty teachers. Year 7 is seen as the transition year from Junior School to Senior School and, in preparation for the structure of Senior School, the students in this grade have each class with different teachers. They also have the Year 7 Dinner, similar to a ball, at the end of the year to celebrate their transition. In Senior School, the students then move around to different classrooms for their classes.

Students at Somerset College are separated into five competitive houses: Andrews (yellow), Franklin (purple), Laver (green), Starkey (red) and Veivers (blue). Each year, the school has three major inter-house sporting events: the Swimming Carnival, the Cross-Country Carnival and the Athletics Carnival. In addition, an inter-house chess competition and the inter-house LAN competition are held annually. In 2009 history was made by Andrews House who were victorious in the Swimming Carnival, the Cross-Country Carnival and the Athletics Carnival in the same year, a result which has never been done. Adding to there collection Andrews also won the inaugural Arnison cup in 2009, awarded to the most successful house over the year, led by captains Alex Beck and Clara Tan who became the most success captains in Somerset College history. Different sections of the school conduct their own carnivals: one for Preschool and the Lower Primary, one for the Upper Primary, and one for the Senior School.

Within the school, the student body is led by a series of student leaders and school captains from year to year. Students may also be awarded with half colour, full colour or school honours for extracurricular or non-academic based achievement. These awards are presented at various evenings, such as the school's annual Sports Awards Night or the annual Cultural Collages evening. Positions of leadership are awarded to selected senior pupils at the beginning of their final year. The entry level leadership position is that of House Captain, a role characterised by sporting involvement and team spirit; a female and male senior pupil are selected from each of the five houses. The Captain of Committees and Senior Advising Pupil Welfare perform administrative and pastoral care functions respectively within the school. A female and male School Captain are selected each year and they serve as the school's representatives at formal events. However, the role of Chapel Sacristan is regarded as the most prestigious student position available. The Sacristans are entrusted with the spiritual development of the student body as well as various other responsibilities that surpass the School Captains'.

International Baccalaureate

Somerset College is one of three International Baccalaureate World Schools on the Gold Coast accredited to offer the IB Diploma Programme. It also offers the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), for which it received accreditation in 2006.

Event Highlights


Celebration Of Literature

Each year in mid-March, Somerset College hosts their annual Celebration of Literature week. The festival, which lasts for 5 days, features notable authors and poets from around Australia. Past authors include: Douglas Adams, Paul Jennings, Geoffrey McSkimming, Kate Forsyth, Andy Griffiths, Andrew Daddo, Gretel Killeen and Terry Denton. Other schools also partake in the festival by enrolling their students for sessions conducted by various authors.

Other Event Highlights

In June 2006, Somerset College hosted the Asia-Pacific International Baccalaureate conference. The conference had a number of keynote speakers, all of whom were accomplished professionals in their field within Australia and Asia. Some included: Associate Professor Evian Gordon (CEO of the Brain Imaging Research Unit), Nick Earls, Peter Goldsworthy, Don Cameron (Neuroscientist at Flinders University) and many others.

Drama and Musicals

Somerset College has an extensive dramatic arts program. Each year the school begins with its House Plays evening. Following this, the school then begins preparations for the senior and junior school musicals. In Term 3, preparation is undertaken for the Senior, Intermediate and Junior entries in the Gold Coast Drama Festival. The Junior play is often directed by Year 11 pupils, the Intermediate play by Year 12 pupils and the Senior play by one of the senior school drama teachers. For many years, these performances have been rewarded with both acting and overall awards by the adjudicators of the festival.

Graduate Highlights

Somerset College also scores consistently high in the OP tertiary entrance rank system. In 2008, Somerset College students achieved 14 OP 1s (the highest OP band available). This represents 11.1% of the cohort -- in comparison, the Queensland state average was 2.6% OP 1s. Over the 1992-2008 period, Somerset College has averaged 7.2% OP 1s each year

In 2008, 91.3% of OP-eligible students at Somerset College gained an OP between 1 and 15.

Active Student Committees

Technical Services Committee

More commonly known as the Sound and Lighting Crew, this committee is responsible for the management of sound and lighting during all important events at Somerset College. Their duties include providing technical services for plays, musicals and during the Celebration of Literature. The students in this committee regularly maintain the technical systems of the Performing Arts Centre.

Sports Appreciation Committee

Humbly begun in January 2009, the Sports Appreciation Committee has proven to become one of Somerset's most popular committee's. The Committee strives in creating an atmosphere of fun and happiness for all pupils, by doing so we try to provide an opportunity for students to build relationships through a common interest known as Sport.

Wordsmiths Committee, formerly Creative Writing Club

The Wordsmiths Committee's purpose as a committee is to assist with organization of Wordsmiths workshops and the Celebration of Literature. The main highlight of the Wordsmiths calendar is the annual Wordsmiths Retreat, where the group travels up to Mt Tambourine for a weekend of writing sessions with teachers from the English department, and performing of written pieces.

Somerset Campanology Committee

This committee consists of a group of students in high school who program the bells of Somerset College to play a large variety of music. This committee is very popular in the school community. Active members are able to gain a Bell Tie for their efforts. To get a Bell Tie, the member needs to have programmed a song into the bells, and then have it played. Pupils of the school are able to suggest songs that they would like to have played on the bells. They do this by placing ideas in to the Bell Box, this is situated next to the Cupids Corner box, outside the Franklin House Master's office. They thank the population for their continued support, and would like to remind them to suggest songs.

Environmental Committee

For several years this committee has been monitoring Somersets environmental state, and has been helping Somerset and the surrounding creek area to sustain stability by planting trees and reducing litter and pollution. Within 2006, the committee were responsible for the 'Save the Koala' appeal as well as their annual Plant A Tree event.

House Committees

These committees represent each house and organise decorations and support for competitors in sporting events such as the inter-house swimming, x-country, and athletics carnivals. They also organise special events held by each house: the Andrews Air-Guitar competition, the Franklin House 'Purple Faces' competition, the Laver House Jeans for Genes day fundraiser, the Starkey Fashion Parade and the Veivers House Milkshake stalls.

International Committee

This committee is run by both International and Australian born students. It aims to develop an international awareness amongst the school community. The committee is also responsible for special occasions such as Wish for Peace Day, Harmony Day, etc.

Inkspot Committee

Inkspot is Somerset College's newspaper. It is published once a term and written completely by those students involved with the committee.

Functions Committee

The Functions Committee consists of a group of students, who waiter in special annual events. Events include dinners such as 11/12 dinner, Cultural Collage, Sports Dinner, Valedictory Dinner and others.

Science Committee

This committee is run by students, a teacher, a committee leader and a secretary. The committee helps run science related events, such as science week. Along with this the committee continually assist the younger year levels of the school in science-related experiments from the field of chemistry right through to physics and geometry.

Sporting Traditions

Somerset College participates in the APS season in both summer and winter, allowing its students to experience a variety of sports. Such sports include rugby union, netball, soccer, cricket, volleyball and hockey. One alumnus of particular sporting fame is Andrew Stark, recently promoted to captain of Queensland's tennis team.

Also important to the Somerset lifestyle are the Development Sports. These sports give aspiring athletes a chance to develop their skills in their chosen fields, everything from distance running to sprint kayaking to martial arts, to motorsports.





  • Meg Palmer (TEN News on-air reporter, 2006-2008)


  • Joanna Fargus (Olympic swimmer, 2000)
  • Sara Carrigan (Olympic gold medallist in Cycling, 2004)
  • Bryce Lindores (Paralympic bronze medallist in Cycling, 2008)
  • Alex Beck (IAAF World Youth Championship finalist in Athletics, 2009)


  1. ^ "NSW Rhodes Scholars"University of Sydney list, (retrieved 16 April 2007)


  • Somersetonian 2006
  • Somersetonian 2005


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