We are committed to supporting the needs of families for a Catholic Education within the Inner North East of Adelaide. There is a growing need for an affordable Catholic school to offer Co-Education, which has been recognised over the past 15 years and never more important.
The vision of our founder Edmund Rice was to provide a Catholic education for the students who were able to attend his school. His vision was based on inclusivity and justice for all. Ricean educational philosophy stems from a place of gratitude, a desire to live by gospel values and create a positive future for all by offering a liberating education, and this is unbound by gender. In our case and to fulfill our commitment as an inclusive community, this opportunity is now available to families of both male and female students who wish to attend St Paul’s College.
St Paul’s currently has its highest number of students in our College’s 63-year history. We are therefore in a strong position to embrace co-education and maintain a commitment to a truly liberating education that emphasises our proud tradition.
Our decision follows extensive community consultation with students, families, old scholars and local schools, and receives overwhelming support from Catholic Education South Australia, the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools and Edmund Rice Education Australia, as well as the broader community. Significant demographic studies have also been undertaken, revealing that our strength as a College is complemented by the continued growth of our surrounding area.
The transition has already started, with significant preparations for 2022. Commencing immediately, we will offer positions for girls as well as boys in Reception through to Year 8 for 2022. Co-education will progress through the secondary year levels with St Paul’s becoming a fully co-educational College in 2026.
St Paul’s College will maintain an environment where students can thrive and through extensive Professional Development, staff will hone and develop expertise in teaching both girls and boys in a co-ed environment. As has been the case for 63 years, our College will intensely focus on providing a quality experience for all students who we endeavour to develop as leaders, serving themselves and others.
As with all aspects of equality, co-education will ensure equality of gender is a lived experience as we prepare young people for our world. To maintain our commitment to equity, co-education will maintain our commitment to meet the individual needs of all students to ensure their development and success.
A ‘Uniform Working Party’ is one of the eleven working parties developed to meet, investigate, plan, and recommend an appropriate uniform for our College, which will be confirmed by the end of 2020. We wish the uniform to be comfortable and modern and will include a pants alternative for girls and additional co-curricular uniforms. We also feel it is appropriate to review some aspects of the boy’s uniform at this time.
We will apply our current co-curricular philosophy in that we commit to providing a co-curricular sport, activity or opportunity wherever there are enough students to partake in that sport or activity. While our College will offer co-curricular opportunities for girls, we will also provide opportunities for mixed activities such as tennis, table tennis and squash. We plan to introduce new sporting opportunities, such as netball and hockey, guided by student interest.
A review of all curriculum offerings will be undertaken by the recently formed ‘Curriculum Working Party’, which is one of eleven working parties reviewing College practices and planning for 2022. We envisage that curriculum offerings will evolve with the growth of co-education at St Paul’s. Our College is also committed to ensuring that learning and career pathways guide curriculum offerings, as much as student interest, rather than assumptions about gender dictating curriculum offerings.
Our current and developing model of pedagogy (ERICA) will allow for each student to work within their strongest area and undertake experiences across all programs. A continued commitment to integrated, project-based learning in Primary and Middle Years allows students to shape their own learning based on interest and readiness as a learner, with flexibility that helps students experience success. Students’ understanding of ‘The Learning Pit’ in Primary Years and embodying teaching and learning that is engaging, relevant, innovative, creative and authentic (ERICA) throughout the College, guides our preparation for co-education.
Our valued pastoral care program will remain, whereby strong relationships are developed between students, Home Group Teachers and Leaders of Pastoral Care, such as Leaders of House in Middle and Senior Years. Our focus on positive education will continue. Girls will be supported through the development of specific programs and the appointment of specific staff to assist with transitioning to co-education, as well as discussion forums and leadership programs to ensure that all students develop a sense of belonging as meaningful contributors to our College community.
We anticipate most classes will be coeducational, while remaining open to some occasions where classes could be split into single sex, perhaps for topics within pastoral care or religious education. This will be reviewed in the work of our eleven working parties guiding our transition to co-education.
Buildings and facilities are being upgraded to provide the best environment and opportunities for our students. St Paul’s is proudly in a strong position to engage a significant buildings program that includes a Master Plan, together with the more immediate plans to renovate our Resource Centre (already underway), main courtyard and two storey amenities/ senior years building by January 2022. We will completely revamp the main courtyard and develop various active and quiet zones including landscaping to soften the environment. Our construction of a new two-story building in place of the current amenities block will incorporate a second-floor Senior Years learning centre with flexible learning spaces, a balcony overlooking our grounds to the Adelaide Hills and include changerooms and amenities on the ground floor. This significant building program occurs alongside a 0% fee increase for 2021.
A Transition Coordinator will be appointed. There are 11 working parties established to review all aspects of college life and ready our College for co-education from 2022. Our Senior Leadership Team is overseeing these Working Parties that include curriculum, identity and mission, pastoral care, co-curricular, uniform, counselling, building and learning spaces, and uniform, each sharing safeguarding (child protection) as a critical focus. These working parties will include key members of staff, along with parent and student representation. The implementation process will be overseen by the senior leadership team and the College Board.
Staff will participate in extensive professional development throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 as our College welcomes co-education.