Dear Newington community
We write to you today to share the outcome of the extensive strategic review into the future of our school, conducted by the Newington College Council. The review considered what is best for the long-term future of Newington and each one of the young people we educate.
We first talked to our community about this in February 2022, when we shared that we were specifically assessing three overlapping elements – how we maintain and build our diversity and inclusiveness amid significant socioeconomic and cultural shifts in our local area; whether co-education is a preferable model for Newington given the evolving demands and opportunities of society and work now and into the future; and whether the College should become larger at either the senior or preparatory schools, or both.
In the months since, the Council has undertaken a thorough investigation of the ELC-12 education landscape in Australia – and specifically Newington College’s place in it. We sought to understand what demographic mix of students, within a contemporary context, would best deliver our overall vision to empower students with great hearts, inspired minds, and strong wings, ready to make a positive contribution to society and the future.
A commitment to Newington’s core values, rich history, much-loved traditions, and to an ongoing excellent experience for our current students, were the bedrock of our considerations throughout.
With this review formally concluded, we are excited to announce that Newington College will build on its 160 years of education by beginning a phased transition to co-education and growing the senior school, which will see the College become fully co-educational by 2033.
The Council has made this important decision because we aspire to build on Newington’s strengths, heritage and values, and because we recognise that diversity, inclusiveness, belonging and life-readiness in today’s context is enhanced by giving boys and girls the opportunity to learn, think and thrive together.
We believe this decision is best for the long-term future of Newington, and especially the futures of each of the young people we educate now, as well as those students who will join us in the years to come.
INPUTS AND CONSULTATION
To ensure an inclusive and well-considered process throughout, the Council sought feedback and input from our Newington community – from students, parents and carers to teachers and staff, from our alumni of all ages to future parents and carers, and from the wider community. We sincerely thank everyone who contributed to and positively engaged in this process.
We also benefited from expert, robust qualitative and quantitative research to help the Council understand the drivers of success in education and key enablers to achieving long-term sustainability for our school. We also considered the learnings of schools around the world that have transitioned to co-education, and those that have chosen not to, and then digested the relevant insights from their lived experience.
We wish to be open about our rationale so our community can understand why we are making this change. More information detailing our process, the key reasons that led to our decision and other considerations can be found here.
IMPLEMENTING THIS DECISION
The Council has worked closely with the Headmaster and College’s executive management team throughout this process. Now the decision is made, we have asked them to form a project team to manage implementation in a disciplined and phased way, while remaining focused on the current operations of the College and the progress of our boys.
Implementation will, of course, be handled with a view to there being no disruptions or diminution to everyday school life for our students. We are ready to invest in the appropriate resourcing and professional development of our staff to successfully implement this decision and simultaneously deliver on our commitments to current students and families.
From 2026, we will welcome boys and girls as students in Kindergarten and in Year 5 at Wyvern and Lindfield. Enrolments for boys and girls will then be opened for the first time at our senior school, for entry into Year 7 in 2028. A number of places will also be opened for female students in Year 11 from 2028. This staged approach will see the College become fully co-educational by 2033.
Consistent with our masterplan, the College will continue to develop our facilities over the next decade. Our plan ensures the quality of our facilities and enables more students to attend the senior school in the future without compromising any of our much-loved green space. Our preparatory schools are not anticipated to increase in size though there are enhancements planned at those campuses, too.
Maintaining our values
We are committed to our enduring promise to prepare all students to contribute positively to society, just as we are resolute about evolving Newington’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
We know Newington will continue to instil in current and future generations of children – including daughters and granddaughters of Old Newingtonians – our core values of inclusivity, courage and kindness as well as academic rigour and a healthy dose of curiosity.
We have also been transparent in consulting openly with the Uniting Church (UCA) throughout this process. The UCA acknowledges and supports the intention behind Newington’s decision to transition to co-education, providing gender diversity and inclusiveness in the future, consistent with our long-standing UCA ethos.
We will expand our existing means-tested scholarship program in partnership with the Newington Foundation. This will allow more students from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to attend the College. We thank all our donors for their much-appreciated support.
Sport and co-curricular
We have considered wide-ranging aspects of life at Newington’s senior and preparatory campuses and we are steadfast in our commitments to the AAGPS and our breadth of co-curricular programs.
We are committed to ensuring that our current students continue to thrive at Newington over the next decade and beyond, with our strategic focus on developing their great hearts, inspired minds and strong wings. And we will continue to be there for each student, walking alongside them as they grow, achieve and discover what’s possible – this is the essence of our Newington way.
Newington College is already a great school, yet we are ambitious for our future. Ultimately, we aim to be one of the best co-educational schools in Australia. We are proud of our present and passionate about our vision for the decades ahead. We hope you can feel the energy behind that ambition.
We understand our community may have questions about the details associated with this announcement. Information about some of these matters can be found here. We also welcome your questions and invite you to email these to firstname.lastname@example.org
In closing, we would like to again thank our community – the hundreds of parents and carers, alumni, students, teachers, staff and friends of Newington, here and overseas, who have helped the Council with this endeavour. We sincerely appreciate all your contributions.
We are full of optimism and confidence as Newington College begins this next, exciting chapter. We will keep our community up to date with developments through further announcements in early 2024.
Tony McDonald (ON 1976)
On behalf of the Council of Newington College