James Ruse Agricultural High School

Gesta Non Verba

Telephone02 9871-7126


About our school


James Ruse Agricultural High School is a selective co-educational public secondary school that endeavours to nurture the academic, physical, social and emotional well-being of students, instil the core values of acceptance, service, participation, integrity, respect and endeavour (ASPIRE), and promote the importance of Agriculture in the school and the wider community.

Our enrolments are restricted (in Year 7 by the NSW DoE Selective Schools Test and in Years 8-11 by an application process involving a submission of achievements, a test and interview) of around 860 students drawn from all over Sydney, with 97% from non-English speaking backgrounds. All James Ruse graduates undertake tertiary education and the school motto, Gesta non verba - deeds not words - continues to be embodied by them when they leave.

At James Ruse, the aim is to provide highly gifted students with learning driven by curiosity and challenge. Our students develop skills, knowledge and perspectives with an emphasis on collaboration, self-direction and a pedagogy that inspires lifelong learning. Our broad curriculum, including a study of Agriculture, and varied co-curricular experiences develop the whole child, which enables James Ruse students to become active citizens who make positive contributions to the community - locally, nationally and globally.

We are well known for the high academic achievements of our students and very proud of their outstanding Higher School Certificate results every year. We are also proud of student success in a multitude of competitions such as Maths and Science Olympiads, with students regularly being selected to be part of teams that represent Australia at an International level. Furthermore, our students enter and often win competitions, in writing, poetry, geography, languages, technology, engineering and computer programming. All students accelerate in Agriculture by undertaking the Preliminary Course in Year 10 and we offer the opportunity to accelerate in a number of other subjects such as Japanese, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE), Software Design and Development (SDD), and Music.

The school farm is a working one and has a range of intensive and extensive farming enterprises which support the curriculum delivered at Ruse. There are a range of environmentally sustainable practices in place.  With the livestock we own, we have been a member of Angus Australia for over 25 years, run a Prime Lamb enterprise and able to support a Free-Range egg production system and meat chicken production. We have Washington Navel oranges and Sherman Red peach orchards well as the Parramatta Amateur Beekeepers Association housing their hives on our grounds. The remaining hectare of the farm is utilised by all students for vegetable production.

James Ruse students are prepared for life after high school by learning 21st century skills. In Year 7 students participate in an innovative critical and creative thinking programme while Year 8s engage in Philosophy, STEM and Drama courses, laying the foundation for collaboration and communication skills for our gifted learners.

The expansion of Professional Learning Communities involves a large proportion of teaching staff targeting Visible Thinking. The objective is to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes thereby encouraging each student to strive for their personal best. To address gifted under achievement, the school conducts an Academic Performance Mentoring programme as well as a Literacy Support programme and a student led Maths mentoring program. Peer mentoring and study groups are encouraged and supported by strategic deployment of school resources.

In addition to our academic activities, our students participate enthusiastically in a range of over 60 extra and co-curricular activities held before school, during recess and lunch, and after school. They can choose from Social Justice groups, environmentally-focused clubs, technologically-based groups, publications, debating and many, many more opportunities. We have very high numbers of students in our Australian Cadet Unit and the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Scheme program which provides students with vital life skills. In addition, we offer a broad excursion programme both in Australia and overseas to complement the academic curriculum.

The school values creativity and our Creative and Performing Arts program is exceptional with a multitude of opportunities provided for students to participate in Music, Drama and Visual Arts. James Ruse students regularly achieve great success in the HSC with nominations and representation in the prestigious ENCORE, OnSTAGE and ArtExpress. We have a variety of musical groups including bands, orchestras, ensembles and choirs. These performing groups also take part in various events and performances during the year including band camp, band festival and the annual end of year concert held at the Concourse Concert Hall in Chatswood. Other eagerly anticipated  highlights of the year are the annual School Musical and Music, Art and Drama (MAD) night.

We have a rich history of sport at James Ruse and the students compete in four different houses: Jones, Mullavey, Rassack and Toft. Sport is an essential element of the life of every James Ruse student and their level of co-operation and enthusiasm is evident through their active participation in the three annual school carnivals – Swimming, Cross Country and Athletics. The Year 7 and Year 8 Integrated Sports Program is an extension of the classroom where every student can develop their own personal fitness and learn valuable skills in team sports. Years 9 to 12 students have the opportunity to compete in a Grade team on Wednesdays in the Hills Zone Combined High School Sports Association competition. This competition has numerous sporting options which extend throughout the winter and summer school terms. Through Sport, all students learn about the benefits of competition including perseverance, resilience, integrity and fair play. Many of our students compete at Zone, Regional and State levels as part of the NSW Combined High School Sports Association in swimming, athletics and cross country. Some of our students also compete at National and International level in their chosen sport.

James Ruse also has a strong focus on student leadership, promoting positive values and developing a sense of local and global citizenship in all year groups. The Student Representative Council and the Prefect body work hard to maintain a passionate, supportive school spirit with both groups running numerous activities throughout the year including sporting and wellbeing events. Thousands of dollars are raised each year in support of charities.

The Wellbeing team, comprising the Head Teacher of Wellbeing, 6 Year Advisers, 6 Assistant Year Advisers, the School Counsellors, Student Support Officer and the Student Transition Coordinator, deliver a proactive rather than reactive Wellbeing curriculum. This requires a strong understanding of the current educational and personal needs of our students and we use the latest research into wellbeing initiatives and strategies to support each student whilst they are at school. The Wellbeing Curriculum focuses on strengths, resilience, emotional intelligence and positive psychology to ensure students are prepared for the world post-Ruse. We have created and implemented a school wide culture where students’ personal best, diligence and good behaviour are encouraged and recognised in addition to academic excellence.

Our parents are a core part of our vibrant James Ruse community. Our P&C participates in school governance as well as running community forums and raising money to fund school improvements which enhance student learning experiences and outcomes. Many parents also volunteer their time and expertise in order to enhance the quality of school life which includes assisting in the library and the uniform shop.

For further detailed information about the history of the school, please visit James Ruse Pioneers.