Select a School
Mount St Bernard College, Herberton
Motto Luceat Lux Vestra 'Let Your Light Shine' Final _ Correct MSB Logo 2.jpg
Address 15 Broadway, HERBERTON QLD 4887
Postal Address PO Box 14, HERBERTON QLD 4887
Phone Number (07) 4096 1444
Fax Number (07) 4096 2509
Email Address
Web Site
Total Enrolments 214 David Finch
Year Levels Offered 7-12
Student Population Co-Educational
Principal David Finch
Parish PriestFr Greg Moses
Parish Number (07) 4091 1125

About our School

Mount St Bernard College is located at Herberton, on the Atherton Tablelands. Established in 1921 by the Sisters of Mercy as a day and boarding school, the College enjoys a proud history and a rich tradition.

The Sisters of Mercy began their educational ministry in the Herberton district over 100 years ago with the opening of St Patrick’s Parish Catholic primary school in 1910. Responding to the changing educational needs in far north Queensland, the original Sisters of Mercy Boarding School, St Mary’s Cooktown, was moved to Herberton in 1921. The Sisters of Mercy gifted the college to the Diocese of Cairns in February 2006 and it is now administered by Cairns Catholic Education Services.

As a Catholic school, Mount St Bernard College is open to all who support its values and are seeking a holistic education. The College serves local students from the Tablelands district and welcomes as boarders students from rural and remote areas of the Far North and North West of Queensland. Mount St Bernard College also reaches out to students from the remote communities of Cape York, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Torres Strait & Papua New Guinea.

With male and female day students and boarding for both girls and boys, the College enrolment reflects a broad spectrum of cultures and experiences. Mount St Bernard College strives to enable its students to develop a broad range of skills enabling them to become the persons God created them to be.

Mount St Bernard College: Mercy Traditions, Spirited Learning and Building Futures, promotes a holistic approach to education in a caring Christian environment.

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

The MSB curriculum has been designed to provide diverse pathways to meet the wide ranging of needs of the students we serve. We offer a broad curriculum intended to contribute to the deep learning and holistic development of students. In response to the needs of individuals and their breadth of aspirations, an MSB education can help prepare young people for direct entry into the world of work, lay the foundation for tertiary studies through our academic programs, or provide a pathway to further vocational qualifications. Our transition learning units focus on building literacy & numeracy skills to accelerate students. This enables them to engage in vocational learning in senior years.

MSB is renowned for its expedition programme and in recent years we have developed an expedition centred outdoor education curriculum, in partnership with YMCA, through which individuals have an opportunity to challenge their comfort zone and develop traits of self reliance, leadership and teamwork.

A range of Vocational Education & Training (VET) offerings complement the academic curriculum.  These include VET Certificate training in IT and Media, Construction, Engineering Pathways, Education Support, Sport and Recreation, Outdoor Recreation, Public Safety, Hospitality and Allied Health Assistance.

Extra Curricular Activities

The following extra curricular programmes are offered within the college community;

  • Social Justice Committee

  • Sporting opportunities  - regional,state & national Representatives.

  • Pastoral Care

  • Recreational Pursuits

  • Expeditions

  • Cultural Dance

  • Reading club

  • Liturgies

Social Climate

Mount St Bernard College is a school in the Mercy tradition. As a Catholic school, the values of Mercy education - love, respect, participation, service and personal best effort - have endured as proud traditions at the heart of the life of the College.

MSB values respect, participation and personal best.  Students are supported to respect themselves, fellow students and adult members of the school community.  Respect is experienced in positive relationships, affirming language and peaceful actions.  Respect for school facilities and the surrounding environment is also promoted.  Importantly, student respect for the purpose of school is observed in students’ positive engagement in their learning.

Bullying behaviours are proactively addressed by MSB’s structured development of students’ Social Emotional skills.  MSB’s Student Wellbeing & Pastoral Care Team respond to individual bullying incidents to both support students subjected to unwanted and inappropriate behaviours and assist students engaging in bullying behaviours to address their inappropriate attitudes and actions.

The Pastoral Care and Student Counselling Team also work actively in the residential setting, leading discussions and activities focussing on anti-bullying strategies and learning about resilience and respect. Middle Leaders in Pastoral Care liaise with the Head of Pastoral Care and the AP-Mission on student matters. The Heads of Residential work closely with day school personnel.


Parent Involvement

We are committed to building strong partnerships with parents through regular contact and encouraging open relationships between staff and parents supportive of students' growth and learning.

This is assisted by formal structures:

  • Information evenings
  • The College newsletter, with editions each fortnight helps the parent and family community maintain awareness of upcoming events, celebrate student and community achievements , stay informed of emerging developments in education
  • Students are issued with a diary each year, and parents are advised to monitor this as it is used as a key means of communication by staff to families 
  • Students and families are also encouraged to participate in community social events throughout the school year. NAIDOC celebrations are very popular.


Mount St Bernard College has a Parents and Friends Association which meets twice per term. Meetings are advertised in the newsletter. Parents are invited to attend or join the group regularly.

Parent Satisfaction

2015 Parent Survey

  • *      84% of parents surveyed agree or strongly agree that this school delivery a Religious Education program that is values based and meets students’ needs.
  • *      73% of parents surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree that the school always aims to improve the quality of education it provides.
  • *      68% of parents surveyed agree or strongly agree this school takes parents’ concerns seriously.
  • *      94% of parents surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree that the teachers at my child’s school are very good at encouraging my child to learn.
  • *      94% of parents surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree this school is meeting the academic needs of their child.
  • *      89% of parents surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree that there is good two way communication between the staff and parents at my child’s school.
  • *      94% of parents surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree that overall, I am satisfied with the education my child(ren) receives from their school.


Data Last Updated Thu 16 Jun 2016

Staff Reporting Data
Qualification Highest level of attainment Doctoral / Post-doctoral Masters Bachelor degree Diploma Certificate
% Staff with this qualification 0% 12% 28% 22% 7%

Workforce composition
Headcount FTE (Full-time equivalent)
Teaching Staff37 32.8
Non-Teaching Staff 90 57.93
Indigenous 15 7.47

Total funds expended on teacher professional development$44564

Teaching Staff Involved in Professional Development100%

Major Professional Development Initiatives

2015 Teaching Staff Professional Development Opportunities


·         New Employee Induction & Student Protection PD

·         MSB School Portal, Roll Marking, EMinerva & General Access PD

·         Whole School Student Positive Behaviour Support (WSPBS) PD

·         Learning Support - PD by Katharina Lane

·         Crossing Cultures - PD by Lillian Miller & Antoinette Cole 

·         Hapara PD (Teacher dashboard) by Ursula Elms

·         Effective Use of In Class School Officers by Danielle Purdy

·         Promethian Board Use PD by Louise Kidner

·         Allied Health PD

·         Moderation Observation PD

·         Assistant Principal Religious Education PD

·         Beginning Teachers PD

·         Moderation Observations Cairns PD

·         Gifted and Talented PD

·         PAT testing PD

·         21st Century Pedagogies PD

·         21st Century Learning in the Classroom PD

·         QCIA Workshop PD

·         CTA Moderation of Certificate III PD

·         Hearing Impairment PD

·         Visible Learning PD

·         NAPLAN PD

·         Personal Boundaries Seminar

·         Australian Curriculum Planning PD

·         QCAA Panel Training PD

·         Eagle and the Wolf PD

·         Indigenous Band Scales PD

·         Adobe Suite Use with Australian Curriculum PD

·         Know Teach Learn PD

·         Conference for Adolescent Success PD

·         Mental First Aid PD

·         Resilience Among Young People PD

·         Panel Verification PD

·         Students With Trauma Background PD

·         New Teachers Survival Guide to Behaviour PD

·         Secondary Traumatic Stress and Compassion Fatigue PD

·         RE Curriculum PD

·         PAT Testing Skill Development

·         Internal PD Algebra Skill Development

·         Topics on Religious Education and Wellbeing That Help (TREWTH) PD

·         Social and Emotional Learning PD

·         Student Reporting System and Timetabler PD

·         Mathematics Curriculum PD

·         QCAA New Standards PD

·         Learning Support Teachers PD

·         Copyright PD

·         Google Wizadry PD

·         eMinerva Cluster Training

·         Management of Safety Plan PD

·         SAS Moderation PD

·         Vocational Education and Training PD

·         QCAA NAPLAN Literacy PD

·         Legal Studies Curriculum Conference PD

·         Occupational Therapy PD

·         Cyberspace PD

·         State Moderation Conference PD

·         Courage to Care PD

·         Design and Technology Curriculum PD

·         Indigenous Liaison Officer Cluster PD

·         Visual Arts in Practice Planning PD

·         Algebra Skill Development PD

·         Apply First Aid PD

Average staff attendance rate for the school year, based on unplanned absences of sick and emergency leave for periods up to 5 days93%

Percentage of teaching staff retained from the previous school year100.00%

Staff Satisfaction

The MSB Staff satisfaction survey indicates a very high level of commitment by staff to Mount St Bernard College. Staff acknowledge the availability of professional development opportunities.

2015 Staff Survey

  • *      79% of staff surveyed agree or strongly agree they feel committed to this school.
  • *      4% of staff surveyed disagree or strongly disagree that my workplace has a positive ethos.
  • *      58% of staff surveyed agree or strongly agree school delivers a Religious Education program that is values based and meets students’ needs.
  • *      70% of staff surveyed agree or strongly agree they have opportunities for professional development.
  • *      70% of staff surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree that they have an opportunity to participate in learning communities within the school.
  • *      50% of staff surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree conflict is well handled.
  • *      29% of staff surveyed agree or strongly agree our school encourages student responsibility.
  • *      29% of staff surveyed disagree or strongly disagree that behaviour management is consistent at the school.
  • *      54% of staff surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree that communication is effective.

The religious and spiritual culture of the College is valued by staff.  An appreciation of the school's student centred religious education program is also indicated.

Data Last Updated Thu Jun 16 2016

Student Reporting Data
Average student attendance rates
YR 7YR 8 YR 9 YR 10 YR 11 YR 12
90.34% 92.05% 90.22% 90.80% 88.65% 90.92%
How non-attendance is managed by the school

Parents are encouraged to contact the school on the day that a student is absent. If students are absent without notification, a MSB staff member telephones parents on that day.

Mount St Bernard College has a proactive Pastoral Team Care who monitors and supports maximised student attendance.  Individual students at risk through non-attendance are counselled and supported to maximise their participation.

Boarding students are always accounted for - if unwell they remain in the Morrissey Boarding House.

Year 10 to 12 Apparent Retention Rate70.96
Post-School Destination Information

 Please see below:

The distance travelled

-Much growth and success has been evident at Mount St Bernard College. Our Senior class graduated in November with very creditable results. Every Year 12 student achieved a QCE (100% of cohort of 21) and was awarded a Vocational Education & Training (VET) qualification. Of OP eligible students, 100% achieved in the OP range 1-15. All students who made application to QTAC received a tertiary offer. These outstanding results evidence not only the academic commitment and application of our students, but also are testimony to the professionalism, dedication and excellence of MSB's educators.

-This year saw a consolidation of  MSB's transition learning program with dual learning units; Dungarven 1 & 2. Our transition learning program is designed to meet the needs of young learners who for a variety of reasons require intensive literacy and numeracy facilitation to enable a successful engagement with the core curriculum. Students are well engaged in their learning and consolidating literacy and numeracy capacities. Students have shown an increased capacity and willingness to engage and concentrate in the classroom setting; a precursor for learning. Students take pride in their learning outcomes and are willing to celebrate this in the broader school community. Educational experts from QUT have partnered with MSB in analysing empirical data related to student learning so as to identify the most suitable junctures for student transition into core curriculum studies.

-Academic programs across the core curriculum have been the focus of ongoing development in response to emerging needs identified in the Australian Curriculum. In the VET area a major success has been achieved through MSB's partnership in the Cairns Catholic Colleges Trade Training Centre Consortium. The Consortium successfully won in excess of $9m in Commonwealth funding for this project. The MSB TTC facilities have been constructed. 

-The development of MSB's buildings and facilities brought many benefits to both Teaching & Learning and Boarding operations. Our participation in the Commonwealth Government's Building the Education Revolution (BER) and Digital Education Revolution (DER) programs enabled the total refurbishment of the Science and Language facility, while new and extensively renovated residential facilities came on-line. These facilities have greatly enhanced living and learning at MSB.

-MSB's particular outreach to young learners from remote communities of the Cape, Gulf and Torres Strait is an ongoing hallmark of MSB's contemporary commitment to educational need and an active investment in 'closing the gap' for indigenous Australians. The cultural diversity of our community is a great source of our pride. MSB's NAIDOC celebrations this year were a feast of the senses; our ritual, dance, song and feasting became a focus of unity for our school community.

-Co-curricular engagement by the student community continued to expand. Students successfully participated in Rostrum Voice of Youth, Legacy Junior Speakers, Lions Youth of the Year, and Student Constitutional Convention events. MSB's renowned Expedition Program once again saw significant personal growth and community cohesion amongst participants. This was complemented by a mid-year visit to our Nation's Capital and a few days in the ski fields. September Show Case was once again a wonderful celebration of student achievement. MSB life, as ever, has been rich colourful and vibrant.

Where are we going ?

Target Area Catholic School Defining Feature
CES Strategic Priority MSB Goal/Objective and Implementation Strategies

Defining Feature:

  • be a place of authentic evangelisation where faith and life are one
Strategic Priority 1:
  • Building Catholic school identity.
  • Reviewing Junior RE Programmes and designing rigorous assessment tasks
  • Youth Minister Team based at college "working in the day / boarding school and wider community
  • Providing liturgies for individual year levels to promote faith and identity
  • Working with Fr Robert Greenup and Deacon Ralph Madigan Indigenous Community Outreach
  • Implement sacramental programme
  • Liturgical ministry training for students
  • Re-engagement with Religious to support pastoral care and student wellbeing.
  • Deacon Alban Hunt working with RE staff and classes.

Defining Feature
-  be a centre of vital holistic learning
Strategic Priority 3:
Maximise learning opportunities of students by developing quality work programs and supporting contemporary pedagogical practices
-  Collection of authentic data to assist with developing programmes to address the learning needs of diverse range of students
-  Curriculum team
-  Learning Support "LST school officers
-  Transition classes to assist students access mainstream curriculum "further develop student profiles & develop continuous assessments tasks/testing tools to inform readiness for moving into mainstream classes
-  Whole school reading programme to enhance and improve both reading and comprehensions skills
-  Up skilling school learning officers "offering PD
-  Facilitate PD for teachers to assist with the implementation of Australian Curriculum
-  Continue to work with CES personnel in the area of Transition classes
-  PD for teachers on Indigenous Band scales
RELATIONSHIPS Defining features: -  be welcoming to all who want to share their life
-  be a community sustained by life giving relationships
Strategic Priority 4:
A mission of inclusiveness
-  Implementation of a range of scholarships and bursaries to enable equitable access to Catholic schooling at MSB
-  Integration of counselling services - counsellor employed on a 0.8 FTE basis.
-  Employment of Indigenous school officers and house parents "in particular from the communities we serve
-  Equitable allocation of resources to cater for diverse range of students
-  Visits by college personnel to Cape and Island communities
-  Implementation of accompanied travel "college staff to accompany students home/back to school at holiday periods
-  Continued association with Wuchopperen and Miden to support the physical health and social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous students
-  Continued liaison with Transition Support Services to support student/family engagement

Defining Feature
-  Be a place of self renewal and agents of change Strategic Priority 10:
Resourcing for excellence in learning outcomes, equity in learning provision and outreach for new mission.
Facilitation of "Strategic Futures Project" leading to MSB's 2012-2016 strategic plan
-  New structures (boarding facilities and General Teaching Areas) to reflect the needs of the students
-  Capital Building works 'Block Grants' redevelop school facilities new buildings and refurbishing existing buildings

- refurbishment of Mercy Convent classrooms from 2015.

Student Satisfaction

2015 Student Survey

  • *      73% of students surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree they feel positive at school.
  • *      61% of students surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree they feel happy at school.
  • *      69% of students surveyed agree or strongly agree that teachers are easy to understand.
  • *      50% of students surveyed agree or strongly agree that this school is preparing students well for their future.
  • *      76% of students surveyed agree to some extent, agree or strongly agree they feel good about being a student at school.
  • *      19% of students surveyed disagree or strongly disagree that they look forward to going to school.


Data Last Updated Thu Jun 16 2016

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 7, 2015
Reading Average Score for the school 476.582
Average Score for Queensland 537.322
% students at or above the national benchmark 84.615%
Writing Average Score for the school 418.865
Average Score for Queensland 497.108
% students at or above the national benchmark 41.025%
Spelling Average Score for the school 494.193
Average Score for Queensland 541.008
% students at or above the national benchmark 87.179%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 458.049
Average Score for Queensland 531.951
% students at or above the national benchmark 64.102%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 460.269
Average Score for Queensland 535.044
% students at or above the national benchmark 74.358%

Data Last Updated Wed Jun 22 2016

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 9, 2015
Reading Average Score for the school 510.895
Average Score for Queensland 567.391
% students at or above the national benchmark 64.285%
Writing Average Score for the school 472.054
Average Score for Queensland 529.855
% students at or above the national benchmark 39.024%
Spelling Average Score for the school 542.613
Average Score for Queensland 576.704
% students at or above the national benchmark 85.714%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 499.868
Average Score for Queensland 560.198
% students at or above the national benchmark 57.142%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 521.178
Average Score for Queensland 581.87
% students at or above the national benchmark 80.487%

Data Last Updated Wed Jun 22 2016

Year 12 Outcomes

Number of students awarded a Senior Statement. 30

Number of students awarded a Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement. 1

Number of students awarded a Queensland Certificate of Education at the end of Year 12.27

Number of students awarded an International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBD).

Number of students awarded one or more Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications.29

Number of students who are completing or completed a School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SAT).3

Number of students who received an Overall Position (OP).5

Percentage of OP/IBD students who received an OP 1-15 or an IBD.100%

Percentage of Year 12 students who are completing or completed a SAT or were awarded one or more of the following: QCE, IBD, VET qualification.96%

Percentage of Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre applicants receiving a tertiary offer.100%

Data Last Updated Thu Jun 16 2016

School Funding By Source
Income 2015

Australian Government recurrent funding$8,272,832

State/Territory Government recurrent funding$2,457,653

Fees, charges and parent contributions$3,810,423

Other private sources$473,058

Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)$15,013,966

Deductions 2015

Income allocated to current capital projects$468,053

Income allocated to future capital projects and diocesan capital funds$0

Income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)$123,895


Total net recurrent income$14,422,018

Schools And Colleges

There are 29 Catholic schools and colleges in the Diocese of Cairns. With the exception of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School at Thursday Island and St Joseph’s Parish School, Weipa, all schools and colleges are within two hours driving time from Cairns.

The Cairns Diocese has two Prep to Year 12 colleges (St Andrew's Catholic College at Redlynch and MacKillop Catholic College, Mount Peter), 20 primary schools and 7 secondary colleges. Of those, St Augustine's College, Cairns is an All Boys college and St Monica's College, Cairns is an All Girls college. In addition to day schooling, St Augustine's offers boarding for students of St Augustine's and St Monica's. Mount St Bernard College, Herberton (MSB) is a day and boarding secondary college for boys and girls.

In 2016, Catholic Education opened two new schools to meet growing demand. MacKillop Catholic College is located in the Cairns southern growth corridor at Mount Peter and offers Prep to Year 3 in 2016. It will grow to full Prep to Year 12 status, with the possible early commencement of secondary in 2018. St Joseph’s Parish School opened in Weipa, offering Prep to Year 6.

In a strong initiative towards social justice engagement, Catholic Education opened a Flexi School for disengaged young people in Cairns and Cooktown in 2015. Holy Spirit College caters for students aged between 11 and 17 who have disengaged from education or for whom enrolling in a mainstream secondary school is not the best alternative. Holy Spirit College has capacity to enrol up to 52 students in Cairns and up to 38 in Cooktown, of whom up to 32 can be weekly boarders drawn from the wider community including HopeVale and WujalWujal.