Our Commitment to Coeducation
In a co-educational setting, learners have the privilege of working together, gaining mutual respect and understanding. This co-operative learning environment underpins our schools’ commitment to gender equity in all its manifestations.
The co-educational classroom builds on the richness of different ways of thinking and responding, engendering patience, tolerance and inclusiveness. This offers personal growth in confidence and empathy. In learning from one another, young people become more conscious of their own emotional intelligence, and better able to manage emotional challenges. The critical process of the establishment of personal value systems is enhanced by the broader perspectives offered by coeducation.
In today’s schools we are preparing young people for futures when they will be living entwined with people of all genders, working side-by-side, and for families where parenting is much more collaborative. They need to understand the perspectives of other genders. Young people need practice at working together, learning and taking advantage of the value of both their differences and all that they have in common.
Increasingly, employers are looking for recruits with good communication skills, with evidence of respectful relationships, and collaborative capacity. For many, tertiary education with other genders is the bridge to employment, and that space requires young people to plunge into independence with confidence. A co-educational schooling gives children the best preparation for both.
Schools give young people the valuable experience of building friendships, and in coeducational schools, genuine friendships are fostered with peers of across genders. These are built within and beyond the classroom: in music and drama, in sport, outdoor activities and leadership activities of many complexions. Through all such activities, young people are learning about themselves, and about others who are different, not only in gender.
Extensive international studies show no clear consensus about the connection between academic performance and gender separation. What they do show is that it is the quality of teaching which matters most.
There is a simple practicality to coeducation. The attendance of brothers and sisters at the same school is not just a convenience for parents. It enables siblings to share the most important dimension of childhood outside family. For boarders in particular, there can be close and supportive sharing which mitigates the wrench from home.
In essence, coeducation gives practical expression to the stated Ecumenical Schools values of diversity and equity: the diversity of different genders, with equal opportunity given to all.
Schools have changed enormously since the days when most single-gender schools were established. In this day and age, coeducation is simply the authentic learning environment: the natural choice.
Membership of Ecumenical Schools Australia is growing and enquiries from schools regarding prospective membership are welcomed.
Collectively, Ecumenical Schools Australia members have a stronger voice than they do individually. Member schools are able to take comfort in the knowledge that they are part of a group representing over 17,700 local students, over 3,000 staff, and many regions of Australia.