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Primary News Co-education From 2021

Dear St Michael’s College Community

The St Michael’s College, Adelaide Board and College Leadership Team, with the endorsement of the De La Salle Brothers, South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools and Catholic Education South Australia, are delighted to formally announce that St Michael’s College will now be offering Primary co-education, beginning with Reception from 2021.

This decision builds on the evolving history of co-education at the College, which began sixty-five years ago, when the De La Salle Brothers were invited by the Archbishop of Adelaide to provide an additional, quality Catholic education option in the Western suburbs, to meet the needs of the growing population. Taking action, the Brothers, with the support of the local parish, formed the St Michael’s College Beverley campus as a Catholic school in the Lasallian tradition.

Our College opened in 1954 with the enrolment of 29 boys, and with numbers increasing steadily, a second campus at Henley Beach was established in 1967. In 1972, the first girls were enrolled to undertake studies in their final year of schooling. Along with new families, many had existing connections to the St Michael’s community. That shift to co-education was notable, not just as a change to the College structure, but as a symbol of the inclusive culture of St Michael’s. In 1985, girls and boys were enrolled in Years 11 and 12 and in 2008 the Year 8 cohort became co-educational. This year, we welcomed 272 Year 7 students to a secondary education that completed a fully co-educational profile at the campus.

The next logical progression of this story is the development of a Reception to Year 12 co-educational model that enhances our vision of Community, Challenge and Choice and reflects a world in which women and men collaborate, work, live, lead and succeed as equals.

Coinciding with this change, a significant investment into the facilities of the Primary campus is underway, catering for increased enrolments and the ongoing enrichment of a quality learning environment that is innovative and adaptable to the current and future educational needs of our students. This development will create further opportunities for our youngest community members to explore their curiosities, flourish and fully realise their potential.

This is an exciting initiative, designed to meet the needs of current and future families and to enhance the strong sense of community engagement across the College. We believe this decision will have long-term benefits for St Michael’s College, Catholic Education South Australia and the families of the Western suburbs. We are committed to ensuring the smooth transition of co-education across R-12 by 2027. Planning and implementation processes are ongoing and further information will be communicated on a regular basis. This will include opportunities for community discussion.

To register your interest in enrolling your son or daughter in Reception from 2021, please contact our Primary Enrolments Officer, Mrs Annie Clift on 8346 6548 or smcprimary@smc.sa.edu.au.

We look forward to working with you as we embark on this historic journey together.

Yours sincerely

John Foley, Principal and Marie Dorrington, Board Chair

 

FAQs

What is changing at the Primary Campus?

The Primary Campus will move to co-education, beginning with Reception from 2021. From January 2027, the College will be a fully co-educational school across each campus from Reception to Year 12.

The extension of co-education from Reception to Year 6 will be phased in over a number of years, with girls and boys now able to apply as follows:

  • Applications are now open for Reception 2021 and beyond. Please lodge your application via mail or in person to Mrs Annie Clift, Enrolments Officer. Emailed applications will not be accepted.
  • Interviews will continue to be conducted in Term 4 2019 for 2021 enrolments.
  • Applications can be lodged for non-entry year levels, but are subject to availability.
  • The College will continue to accept enrolments for boys in 2020, 2020 mid-year and 2021 for all year levels, Reception – Year 6.

The Primary Campus is undertaking a refurbishment of existing classrooms to create new and innovative learning spaces, to enhance teaching and learning for students and staff.

If my child is enrolled at the Primary Campus does that guarantee an enrolment at the Secondary Campus?

Yes, Year 6 students at St Michael’s College Primary, will be automatically transferred to the Secondary Campus.

Does this become the first entry point for the school?

From 2021 there will be three streams enrolled at Reception. A further entry point may include Year 7 at the Secondary Campus.  The enrolment criteria is as follows:

1.       Brothers/Sisters of current students

2.       Children of old scholars

3.       Children who attend local parish schools

4.       Catholics who have demonstrated commitment to the Catholic Faith

5.       Parents who are seeking a Christian education for their child/children

Why is the Primary Campus changing to co-education?

The history of our College is one of measured change. We commenced as a boys only school at Beverley and with growth came the expansion to the Secondary Campus at Henley Beach. Responding to community need resulted in the enrolment of girls into our senior years at Years 11 and 12. Over time, parent and student demand saw the shift to co-educational enrolment at all levels across the Secondary Campus.

This year, we welcomed 272 Year 7 students to a secondary education that completed a fully co-educational profile at the Secondary Campus.

How will this support the College’s ethos?

The move also supports the College’s Vision of Community, Challenge and Choice which we want to afford to all our families.

It will not alter that commitment; nor will it change our core values of excellence, respect, integrity, spirituality, teamwork and compassion. We further believe that this decision not only aligns with, but is confirmed by, our College heritage.

How will St Michael’s College accommodate the extra students at the Primary Campus?

Coinciding with this change, a significant investment into the facilities of the Primary Campus is underway, catering for increased enrolments and the ongoing enrichment of a quality learning environment that is innovative and adaptable to the current and future educational needs of our students. This development will create further opportunities for our youngest community members to explore their curiosities, flourish and fully realise their potential.

New building works will not only enable increased capacity but will include a contemporary state of the art Early Primary Centre encompassing:

  • Five new Early Primary Classrooms with breakout spaces both indoor and outdoor, with access to nature play.
  • An Innovation Centre which will incorporate: Thinkers Tanks, Makers Space, Design Space, Campfire, Resource Centre and Radio Station/Podcast Lab.
  • A new Art Centre on the upper level.
  • Early Primary will include a new toilet facility for boys and girls.
  • Energy efficient technologies such as solar panels, LED lighting and water retention and recycling initiatives.

In partnership with Edge Architects and Sarah Constructions, the development is due for completion at the end of Term 3, 2020.

How will this building project be funded and what impact will it have on fees?

The $6.5m Building Project is being funded through prudent financial planning and therefore will have no impact on tuition fees.

What will the uniform be for girls?

The uniform will likely be in a similar style to the uniform worn by girls at the Secondary Campus. However, the College will take this opportunity to review the boy’s and girl’s uniforms in light of nature and active play in the Early Primary years.

What leadership positions will be available for girls?

Student Leadership positions throughout the College will be open to all and will be filled by impressive young people. Leadership opportunities currently include:

  • Primary Campus Leaders
  • House Leaders
  • Youth Environmental Leaders
  • Faith, Service and Community Leaders

What will the co-curricular program look like?

The College’s extensive range of co-curricular activities are one of its most distinctive features, and our aim will be to consolidate strengths in key areas.  Currently, the majority of our sports are playable by both boys and girls, often together, especially in the early years. In addition to developing these as dual-gender offerings, we will implement particular girls’ sports as numbers and demand develops.

Beyond sport, we look forward to the diversity that girls will bring to our clubs, activities and extension programmes, to chess, debating, robotics, code club and more. Our Music and Performing Arts programme will be enhanced by co-education, and we look forward to future performances and productions involving girls. We currently offer a Primary Musical, Music Immersion Program, Individual Music Tuition, Stage Bands and Rock Bands which will be further enhanced by the introduction of girls.

Has co-education been endorsed by Catholic Education South Australia (CESA)?

St Michael’s College Adelaide Board and College Leadership Team, with the endorsement of the De La Salle Brothers, South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools and Catholic Education South Australia were delighted to announce that the College would be offering co-education beginning Reception from 2021.  We believe this decision will have long term benefits for St Michael’s College, Catholic Education South Australia and the families of the western suburbs.

Will co-education change our school?

Co-education will inevitably change some aspects of the current Primary Campus experience, but it is our firm belief that these changes will enrich and enliven our school community.

At the same time, our Board recognises that some community members may initially be concerned about this change.

For this reason, we will be holding forums with the St Michael’s College community — our students, staff, parents, Old Collegians and friends — to assist us with the implementation.

What are some of the benefits of co-education?

We have seen in both boys and girls the value they add to the College through their friendship, creativity, and leadership.

The social benefits of co-education in the Secondary Campus could not be clearer, and we are confident that our primary students will equally benefit from having boys and girls learning together.

The Primary Campus, through the collaboration of students, staff and parents, has developed a set of Primary Values that are important for all students in primary education which will set them up for future success. These values include; Innovator, Reflective, Collaborative, Expressive, Inquisitive, Respectful, Socially Aware, Resilient, Spiritual, Organised and Reflective. They assist us to foster an inclusive and respectful environment that supports staff and students to flourish.

In your curriculum what are the points of difference that support co-education?

In our experience, the gender of our students matters less than their willingness to strive, engage, learn and reflect our school ethos.  We see enormous benefits in bringing a diversity of opinion and perspective to our primary classes as we prepare all of our students to collaborate and succeed together in life beyond school.  We achieve this through our Program of Investigation, our Specialist Subjects, School Environmental Management Program, Integrated Learning Technologies and STEAM.

How will student wellbeing change?

The intent is for all year level classes to be co-educational, ensuring boys and girls feel equally valued, build positive, respectful relationships and develop genuine care for the wellbeing of fellow students.

We are an inclusive and respectful community where each individual is known, valued and cared for, enabling them to feel confident to explore their curiosities, flourish and fully realise their potential.

Through a quality Lasallian education, inspired by the Gospel and concern for social justice, students are empowered to better choose who they become as people, learners and leaders in the world.

Where can I find out more?

An Information Evening will be held providing an opportunity for community discussion. Any additional questions and feedback can be submitted through our Enquiry Form on the College website https://www.smc.sa.edu.au/contact-us/

For all Primary Campus enrolment queries please phone Mrs Annie Clift, Primary Enrolment Officer on (08) 8346 6548 or email smcprimary@smc.sa.edu.au