Somerset College is an independent, non-denominational day school located in Mudgeeraba, Queensland. Established in 1983, the college has a non-selective enrolment policy and caters for approximately 1500 students from Pre-Prep to Year 12.
The college is particularly noted for its academic excellence, rating highly in state and national rankings. Since 1997, Somerset is one of only two Queensland schools where the most common OP score among students has been 1. In 2014, 56.2% of its Year 12 students achieved an OP 1-5, the second highest percentage of any graduating class in Queensland.
Somerset is affiliated with the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA), the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) and is a founding member of the Associated Private Schools (APS). The Celebration of Literature, Australia’s largest writers festival for children and young adults, is hosted by the college every March.
Somerset College was officially opened on 16 October 1983 by Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Its name is based on the fact the school is located on Somerset Drive, on a location formerly used for dairy farming .
The school's founding principal was Clifford Rodney (Rod) Wells. In 1980, Wells moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney with his wife, singer Roslyn (Dunbar) Wells, and obtained farmland belonging to property developer John Jenkins for a $1 deposit. For 12 months, Wells conducted feasibility studies, had meetings with the Queensland Education Department and held public meetings to establish financial, educational and community support. In 1981, a small group was formed as the first steering committee.
The first buildings opened on 27 January 1983 with 158 students in classes from Year 1 to Year 8. Staff, parents and students helped with the landscaping and laying of turf.
The school's slogan is the Latin phrase "Deo Confidimus" which translates to "In God, we trust".
The school is divided into the Junior School (Pre Prep to Year 6) and the Senior School (Years 7 to 12). Both have separate administration centres.
All students and some staff at the college are divided up into 5 different houses, each named after prominent families in the Mudgeereba area.
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. In June 2006, the college hosted the Asia-Pacific International Baccalaureate Conference.
Each year in mid-March, Somerset College hosts its annual Celebration of Literature. The three-day festival features notable authors and poets from around Australia, and attracts around 20,000 school student and adult participants. Past visiting authors have included: Douglas Adams, Paul Jennings, Geoffrey McSkimming, Kate Forsyth, Andy Griffiths, Andrew Daddo, Gretel Killeen and Terry Denton.
Somerset College's outdoor education curriculum includes camps for students in Years 6 to 11.
Students in the Senior School from Year 9 and upwards are encouraged to take part in the student exchange programs. Students studying German are able to visit Germany every two years (on the odd years students host German students). Students studying Japanese visit Japan every two years. The Italian trip is available to Year 11 students undertaking ab initio Italian and takes place in the summer holidays before beginning Year 12. It takes most of the cohort studying Italian and the group travels all around Italy visiting many historic sites and stays with a host family and goes to their billet's school for the first couple of weeks.
There is also an annual ski trip, typically held in early September, where any student from the Senior School is able to visit Perisher Ski Resort in New South Wales for one week.
Somerset College participates in the Associated Private Schools (APS) sporting season in both summer and winter.Rugby union
Australian Rules Football (AFL)
Golf (summer and winter)
Sailing (summer and winter)
Rehabilitation (summer and winter)
Somerset takes part in the following APS sports carnivals:APS Athletics Carnival
APS Cross-Country Carnival
The Somerset College Mascot is Martin the Spartan, and can be found at various school sporting events.Conrad Coleby
Sophie Monk, singer and actress
Margot Robbie, actress and producer
Ian Peres, Wolfmother band member
Sara Groen, former Saturday Disney host and Seven News Sydney Weather presenter
Wendy Kingston, Nine News reporter and presenter
Kate Morton, author
Sara Carrigan, Olympic gold medallist in Cycling, 2004)
Bryce Lindores, Paralympic cyclist
Joanna Fargus, Olympian and Commonwealth gold medallist in Swimming, 2002 and 2006
Ben Hudson, former professional Australian rules footballer and coach