Dear Parents, Alumni and Friends
Over the last six months Cranbrook has engaged with our community on the proposal to introduce co-education in Years 11 and 12. The feedback was highly instructive and has caused the School to revisit a number of assumptions on co-education and to carefully consider the issues around changing Cranbrook from a “boys school” to a “school for girls and boys”.
There is broad community support for co-education at Cranbrook. Many see the transition as being a necessary and inevitable step forward in the context of a modern society.
At the same time, many parents have substantial concerns about changing the current educational model. These include cohort size, the ratio of girls to boys, Year 11 as the entry point and the potential impact of change on educational outcomes. There is an overriding concern that any major change should be carefully considered and not rushed. It was noted that the Senior School has been through a period of significant change over the last two years as a result of the pandemic and the redevelopment of the Bellevue Hill campus.
As a result of the community feedback, the School has considered Year 7 as a potential entry point for female students. Under this model, the School is able to better shape the overall size of the cohort and achieve a meaningful ratio of girls to boys. It also overcomes concerns around only having girls in the senior years whilst the middle years remain single sex. By introducing co-education in Year 7, students are able to grow together during their secondary education in preparation for the senior years.
In order to address both the desire to embrace a co-educational environment, but mitigate or remove the major concerns expressed by parents and alumni, the School Council has determined that Cranbrook should proceed to become a co-educational school within a time frame that minimises disruption to the boys currently enrolled in the senior years and allows for adequate planning to successfully manage the change.
Accordingly, the School Council has decided that as from 2026 Cranbrook will admit female students in Years 7 and 11. This will result in the Senior School (Years 7-12) being fully co-educational from 2029. There are currently no plans for co-education in the Junior School.
The three year time frame to prepare for co-education is considered appropriate for Cranbrook. It minimises disruption and allows the School to undertake additional planning around student experience, teaching and learning, pastoral care, facilities and governance issues arising from the establishment of a fully co-educational secondary school at Bellevue Hill. It also allows time for better admission planning as families with girls can consider and apply for admission with a clearer vision of what Cranbrook offers.
During the preparation phase, the School will continue to implement the co-educational initiatives announced last year – an expanded co-curricular program, the Academy enrichment program and the development of an outdoor experiential program at Wolgan Valley for Years 9/10.
The transition to co-education will require strong community engagement and support. This is an important step for Cranbrook and full details of the proposed co-education changes for the Senior School will be provided to the community in due course for further consultation.
Cranbrook remains committed to educating and developing well-rounded students who are able to flourish in, and contribute to, an ever-evolving society. Equipping our students with a strong academic education as well as a sense of confidence, integrity, empathy and respect remains central to our vision.
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 School Council would like to acknowledge the enormous contribution of the Headmaster, Nicholas Sampson, in developing the strategy of embracing co-education at Cranbrook.
Jon North Nicholas Sampson
President of School Council Headmaster