The Armidale School is considering becoming co-educational.MORE than 120 years of tradition could be set for a shake-up as The Armidale School (TAS) considers becoming co-educational.
The school board has announced the start of a consultation process to look at the option of opening its doors to girls as both day students and boarders (from Year 6) in all year groups, from the start of next year.
The school has had a co-educational junior school since 1989.
TAS headmaster Murray Guest said the consultation period would run for two months and involve more than 20 meetings.
“We’ll have meetings here at the school and elsewhere, from Brisbane to Sydney and as far west as Walgett,” Mr Guest said.
“We’ve had great feedback so far.”
He said there were those who were not keen to rethink tradition, as well as those who wanted to enrol their daughters straight away.
“We see this as the next step in education.”
Mr Guest said two years of analysis, research and external review of independent education in the region, national and overseas had all played a part before the school considered the move.
“There is no reason to believe that either co-education or single sex education is superior to the other,” he said.
“The board and the school are fully aware of the importance of this historic change, particularly for our alumni and our current families.
“Should we proceed, the process towards full co-education will not be a the cost of changing our values, history or networks in the community.”
Old Boys Union president Mark Berry, “Emu Creek”, Walcha, said this was an individual decision for each Old Boy to make.
“As a parent of a TAS school student and an Old Boy I’m partial to it, I can see the benefits of it.
“The most important thing is that parents and Old Boys go along to the consultations and listen to the headmaster and get information and made a decision from there.
“Whatever the school does we’ll support them.”
He said while he had the ties of the boys school it was important to move forward.
“The junior school is co-education and already NEGS (New England Girls School) and PLC (Presbyterian Ladies’ College) do lessons with the TAS students in Year 11 and 12.
“It will keep the school viable.”
He said if the school was to become co-educational the union would look at changing its name.
He said girls from the junior school were already entitled to join the Old Boys Union.
The consultation process will conclude in early March with the school board set to hand down a decision on March 31.
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