However, the transition will happen more slowly than under the original plan, which would have begun in 2023.
The co-ed proposal had strong support from younger alumni. In May, almost two dozen recent head prefects wrote to the council, saying private boys’ schools foster attitudes and behaviors that are no longer acceptable in broader society.
“The current single-sex independent school structures in Sydney create one-dimensional interactions between the genders … some of the attitudes and norms of behavior that develop in these communities are, rightly, no longer acceptable in broader Australian society,” the letter said.
The council said the longer time frame minimized disruption to present students and allowed plenty of planning time to consider issues such as curriculum, pastoral care and facilities for the female students. There were no plans for co-education in the junior school.
“The headmaster and school council are excited by the proposed changes and believe that they will create an enriched learning environment that better supports our students during their time at Cranbrook and beyond,” the letter said.
Cranbrook is one of several boys’ schools making the move to co-education amid debate over whether single-sex schools serve students in the modern world.
Newington, in Stanmore, is consulting parents about a proposal and would be the second GPS (Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools, a group of the state’s oldest schools) school to do so after The Armidale School.
Barker College in Hornsby has also completed its transition to co-education. “More than 80 per cent of the world’s great schools are co-educational,” Barker explained on his website. “The world has shifted.”
Sydney Catholic Schools has begun introducing girls at Marist Catholic College North Shore and has finished the tradition at Marist Penshurst, while girls will begin at Champagnat in Maroubra next year. It is proposing a similar change at St Mary’s Cathedral School.
It has also announced plans to merge De La Salle College and Bethlehem College at Ashfield.
To prepare for girls at Marist North Shore, the school added a maroon tunic to the uniform, changed the names of the sports houses – which mostly commemorated notable priests – and put the staff and students through gender bias training.
However, there are no plans to merge or introduce co-education at any of the NSW Department of Education’s 30-odd single-sex schools, despite a push from parents in Randwick and the inner west.
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