For the first time in 130 years, Sydney’s north shore will have a Catholic co-educational secondary school.
Marist College North Shore will accept female students from 2021, and provide an innovative, educational precinct catering for students – both male and female – from pre-school up to Year 12.
The radical change is a plan by Sydney Catholic Schools to provide local parents with a relatively low-fee Catholic co-education.
Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, Dr Dan White, said the change was a response to the changing demographic on the North Shore and providing families with schooling choices that would make their busy lives simpler.
A steering committee has been established to manage the seven-year program and ensure the school is not only equipped to accept girls in just three years but to manage disruption to current teachers and staff.
“Sydney Catholic Schools is committed to meeting the needs of the local community, and ensuring a strong educational pathway for Catholic students,” Dr White said.
“I am delighted that through Marist College North Shore’s transition to co-education in 2021, the North Sydney Catholic Precinct will allow parents to choose a seamless transition from Kindergarten through to Year 12 for their child, conveniently located on the one campus.
“Many hands and voices will help shape the community, allowing for a united charism and a wider range of co-curricular opportunities to support students’ development into well-rounded and faith-filled individuals.
“A feasibility study has been completed in anticipation of projected future enrolment growth. We will now move to a master planning phase for the precinct to ensure it meets the future needs of Our Lady of the Way Parish and the projected enrolment growth of the schools.”
Older sections of the current school site will be re-developed and converted into buildings up to six storeys high, under-cover parking built to help ease congestion as well as further building works on newly acquired land.
Programs are also being developed to not only welcome female students but enable them to take ownership of the college.
Marist College principal Tony Duncan said it was an “exciting period” for the community, finally offering families in the area the opportunity for their sons and daughters to attend the same school.
“There are so many reasons why this should go ahead,” he said. “Apart from the obvious benefits of boys and girls being schooled together, we have a fantastic transport system enabling students to commute from across the North Shore,” he said.
“The change will allow a child to continue their learning from primary to secondary, with curriculum choices that will allow a natural flow of teachers working together, providing an uninterrupted education for families.
“The first year of girls will start in Year 7, and will grow through the school gradually.
“Marist College is very proud of its respectful environment and we are already planning new and creative ways to welcome the girls.”
Parents and perspective parents are welcome to attend a public symposium at the school about the changes on June 27 at 7pm. The steering committee will provide a detailed update on the latest developments.