Benowa State High School, founded in 1980, is an independent high school located on the Gold Coast, Australia. The high school caters for students from grade 7 to grade 12, ranging from 11 to 18 year olds. The school has a proud tradition of being a supportive and caring community that delivers outstanding educational training and opportunities for all students. Since opening in 1980 it has worked in partnership with its community to build a reputation as one of the Gold Coast's leading co-educational secondary schools, providing compulsory and post-compulsory programs. The school draws its students from suburbs with diverse socio-economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
In 1985, Benowa State High School pioneered Queensland's French Immersion teaching program in grades 8-10 with extension into advanced language studies in Years 11-12. In 2015, the school gained accreditation from the French embassy as a bilingual school, “LabelFrancÉducation". Benowa State High School is only one of three schools in Australia to be bestowed this honour.
In 1990, Benowa SHS gained Education Queensland accreditation to provide education services for overseas students. The school has maintained its accreditation status with the latest accreditation process taking place in 2018. Many international students choose Benowa State High School as their preferred school and each year students from approximately 15 different countries partake in the homestay program. They form part of the 75 international enrolments that the school is accredited to accept. Benowa State High School has the highest accredited enrolment capacity within the Gold Coast Alliance of Education Queensland International accredited schools.
In 2005, Benowa State High School was one of five schools identified by the Queensland Department of Education to investigate CounciI Of International Schools (CIS) accreditation. The school community supported the decision to seek accreditation and the school was subsequently granted candidate status. The Team Visit occurred in 2006 and the CIS decision to postpone accreditation provided the school with the opportunity to address a range of recommendations to improve facilities. In early 2007, CIS confirmed accreditation and since then the school has maintained its CIS accreditation status. In 2016, the school was reaccredited by CIS and the evaluation noted the growth the school has demonstrated through its ongoing involvement in the accreditation process. In 2021, the school was successfully reaccredited again by CIS after a rigorous self-evaluation process with a commitment to continuous improvement.
Benowa State High School has delivered Steiner Education since 2006 and the program is currently known as The Waldorf Education Program. In 2018, the school received formal accreditation as an associate member of Steiner Education Australia. The Waldorf Education Program at Benowa State High School provides a creative and academic way of learning to extend students in all subject areas. The program develops learning activities, which are intellectually challenging, connected to the real world and are inclusive, participatory and socially critical.
In 2017, Benowa State High School gained accreditation to become an International Baccalaureate World School and delivers the Diploma Programme to students in years 11 and 12. In 2021, Benowa State High School completed the self-study process. The IB recognised that Benowa State High School successfully ensures that the standards and practices of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme are adhered to and can continue to offer the IB Diploma Programme. The introduction of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) provides students with an additional pathway in their senior schooling to integrate the ideals of international understanding and responsible rigour, to the end that IB students may become critical and compassionate thinkers, lifelong learners and informed participants in local and world affairs.
To align to the Benowa State High School's vision of “Many Pathways ~ No Limits", a variety of excellence and support programs are offered to encourage excellence, applaud achievement and celebrate diversity. In the junior secondary curriculum, Academic Excellence (STEM Excellence, French Immersion Excellence, Waldorf Excellence), Sporting Excellence and Cultural Excellence (Music and Dance Excellence) are offered to suit the abilities, talents and strengths of learners. In September 2020, the school has received the most outstanding STEM school award as part of the Queensland Government Peter Doherty awards for excellence in STEM education. The Access and Direct Instruction Programs are offered as support programs to meet the needs of identified students. A range of pathways are offered in the senior secondary curriculum which include general subjects, applied subjects, diploma courses, Vocational and Education Training (VET) courses, apprenticeships and traineeships.