The Ten Best Co-ed Schools in Melbourne
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The Ten Best Co-ed Schools in Melbourne

Discover Melbourne’s ten best schools specialising in co-education.

By Josh Bozin
Wed, Mar 13, 2024 2:01pmGrey Clock 5 min

The age-old debate when it comes to the discussion around schooling is whether to send your child to a single-sex or co-educational school. And notably, there has been a surge in co-educational schooling in recent years, with close to 86 per cent of students in the independent sector of Victoria alone said to be attending a co-educational school, according to Independent Schools Victoria.

The topic doesn’t come without its share of controversies, however. While many are in the camp that co-educational programs are, in large, leading to a more diverse, inclusive and progressive schooling experience for students, there is also a backing that voices its disadvantages and challenges – coeducational schooling can prove detrimental for certain types of learners, and at times, for girls.

So, as the educational system faces a changing with the times for future students, below we look at the very best co-ed schools in Melbourne based off a number of criteria, from academic and extracurricular programs, to facilities and location, plus more.

But first…

What is co-ed schooling?

Co-educational schooling, in its simplest form, refers to an educational system where both male and female students attend classes together in the same educational institution. Whereas single-sex schooling are institutions segregated by gender.

Is it better to go to a co-ed school?

To many, it depends the specific needs of the child at hand. While it’s proven that co-ed schooling does promote a sense of gender equality, a greater dynamic of social interaction and an opportunity to develop—or further enhance—interpersonal skills, some would argue that it can also present its challenges. For one, it can be said that educators would need to employ a more diverse teaching style to accomodate for the varied learning styles of both male and female students.

What is the most expensive school in Melbourne?

In 2024, it’s Geelong Grammar, with an average tuition fee of $46,344 per year for Year 12 students.

What is the most prestigious school in Melbourne?

While somewhat subjective, the most prestigious school in Melbourne is often determined by a number of varying factors, like academic performance, facilities, and extracurricular activities. Geelong Grammar, again, is at the top of the schooling hierarchy in Victoria – a boarding and day school founded in 1855 and one that has long held a reputation as one of the most prestigious co-educational institutions in Australia.

 

Below you will find nine other prestigious co-educational schools in and around Melbourne.

 

1. St Leonards College

St Leonards

 

Located in Brighton East, St Leonards College is one of Melbourne’s leading independent co-educational schools catering for students in all year levels, from ELC for three-year-olds through to Year 12. Since 1914, St Leonards College has been the Bayside school of choice, and remains an institution well regarded for its extracurricular activities.

2. Geelong Grammar

Geelong Grammar
Stefani Driscoll

 

Geelong Grammar is Australia’s largest co-educational boarding school, catering for over 1,500 girls and boys from pre-school through to year 12. In its rich 168-year history, Geelong Grammar has taught some notable alumni or “Old Geelong Grammarians”, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch and even King Charles III.

3. Carey Baptist Grammar School

Carey
Trevor Mein

 

Carey Grammar is a known leader in independant co-education, with campuses in Kew and Donvale that caters for students from early leaning to Year 12. With a strong focus on innovation, Carey is renowned for its progressive and diverse curriculum.

4. Wesley College

Wesley
COX Architecture

 

Wesley College is an open-entry, co-educational school that has been offering the highest forms of education and cocurricular programs for over 150 years. Today, Wesley is one of Australia’s leading coeducational schools, with multiple campuses throughout Melbourne. Notably, Wesley is also one of the leading International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the country, and is the only school in Victoria to offer IB from primary through to senior school.

5. Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School

PEGS
John Gollings

In Melbourne’s north-west you’ll find the suburb of Essendon, where you’ll find most of the city’s most popular co-educational schools: Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, or ‘PEGS’. But PEGS offers a different structure to its co-educational system; in primary years of prep to year 6, there is a seperate junior school for girls (Moonee Ponds), and boys (Essendon). Its flagship Keilor East campus is home to a seperate Middle School campus for girls, and one for boys. From years 11 and 12—or VCE—, the senior school is combined.

This structure, as PEGS explains, allows students to “enjoy the proven benefits of a single-gender education during childhood and early adolescence as well as a mature co-educational environment during critical VCE years.”

6. Haileybury

Haileybury College

 

With an educational history dating back to 1892, Haileybury is considered one of the country’s finest co-educational schools thanks to a number of factors, from innovative teaching methods and outstanding academic results, to a strong focus on international studies.

7. Yarra Valley Grammar

Yarra Valley Grammar

 

A school that is highly regarded for its extensive range of contemporary opportunities and impeccably high standards of performance—led by principal Dr. Mark Merry— Yarra Valley Grammar, a school originally built on farmland “in the middle of nowhere”, is one of Melbourne’s best co-educational schools in the heart of the famed Yarra Valley region.

8. Caulfield Grammar School

Caulfield Grammar

 

Caulfield Grammar has long held its reputation for academic excellence, as well as its commitment to a well-rounded, co-educational program. With a particular focus on VCE curriculum, students in years 10–12 will participate in a diverse academic program with 49 VCE subjects to choose from, and a range of broad and balanced co-curricular experiences.

9. Mentone Grammar

Mentone Grammar
2construct

 

Located in Melbourne’s idyllic Bayside area, Mentone Grammar is a leader in co-educational schooling, providing students from ELC to year 12 a plethora of opportunities to thrive, from its creativity and science centres to its immaculate sporting facilities, all designed to support a well-rounded—and highly regarded—educational program for females and males.

10. Huntingtower School

Huntingtower School
Sculptform

 

With a strong focus on literacy and numeracy, the co-educational program at Huntingtower School in Melbourne’s south-east enables its students to “develop deeper level thinking skills.” Plus, with a strong extracurricular program that allows students to experience activities like triathlons, urban adventures and language immersion programs, there’s no shortage of what is possible at Huntingtower School.

All Photography supplied. 

 

 



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How demand for co-ed schools is shaping the property market in NSW

Families seeking co-education schooling for their children in and around Sydney will be pleased with a new local government initiative.

By Josh Bozin
Wed, Mar 13, 2024 3 min

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t indulged in the on-going furore that was caused by the announcement in 2022 that Sydney private boys’ school Cranbrook would become coed.  Since then, somewhat of a domino effect has ensued, with a string of affluent private schools joining the effort to switch their educational offerings to both female and male, including the prestigious boys’ school Newington College in Sydney’s inner west, and Barker College in Sydney’s north. Others, such as Bethlehem College and De La Salle Ashfield, also in the inner west have announced they will merge to create co-ed learning, starting next year.

In Melbourne, Catholic girls’ school St Aloysius College transitioned to co-educational schooling last year, while Christian Brothers College St Kilda merged with Catholic girls’ school Presentation College Windsor to create St Mary’s College in 2022.

While the question of whether co-educational schooling will provide a better outcome for students continues to be debated, in New South Wales, it’s also influencing the property market in local districts thanks to a recent local Government promise.

In 2023, it was announced that the NSW Government will rezone the catchments of 20 state schools schools in the inner west of Sydney from 2025, a commitment to ensure every student in NSW has a place in a co-educational public high school by 2027. It’s a move that will give families unprecedented access to co-educational schooling, but in the process, will widen the net for those looking to buy a home that’s near a reputable school. No longer will prospective buyers, often young families, be constrained to a specific area in their search which ticks all the boxes, such as location, affordability and distance to quality schooling.  

“We committed to this complex reform after hearing time and again from parents that they want to have their children to have access to co-educational environments throughout their schooling,” says Prue Car, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning, via the NSW Government website.

“This is about giving all NSW students guaranteed access to a co-educational public high school.”

Newington College. Peter Rae
Newington College. Credit Peter Rae

Michelle May, director of Michelle May Buyers Agents, says that the Government’s solution to growing demand for co-ed education will help families search for homes outside of a narrow geographic area, thereby increasing their chance of success.

“Searching for the right home to settle into is a competitive and high-stakes process for families, and up until quite recently, there were areas with only single-sex schools available,” says May. “The move to grant families access to co-ed education is obviously in line with the times. On top of factors like lifestyle and accessibility, schools are a major part of finding a home that’s the right fit, and families who previously avoided looking for homes in particular areas because there was no school for their son or daughter will no longer be bound by such considerations.”

If you look at the statistics, Australia has 304—soon to be 302—single-sex schools that educate over 284,000 students, with numbers dwindling. Of these students, around 54% attend girls’ schools, 86% are in secondary education, and 85% are in non-government schools, according to a recent study. Over three-quarters of single-sex public schools are in NSW. Yet, despite a growing demand for co-education, many parents have been limited in choice because they live in 1 of the state’s 25 single-sex public school catchments.

Now, under the proposed changes by the NSW Government, families in Sydney’s inner west and south west currently zoned for a single-sex high school will be able to send their children to a nearby co-educational high school.

In Sydney, May is already witnessing how the rezoning plans will affect future buyers looking in alternative areas.

“They are checking out up-and-coming suburbs and are more open minded about areas they have previously overlooked due to school zones. There is high confidence that the inner west rezoning will soon be extended to the rest of Sydney and NSW,” adds May.

Looking at the highly-competitive property market in Sydney, the Government’s plan for rezoning will also make the purchasing process a lot less stressful, evening out the buyer pool in what has otherwise been high concentration areas. This, in turn, could have a “knock-on effect” on property sales results across the state.

“If a family is looking to purchase a home that ticks all the right boxes and now there are suddenly more options to choose from, it’s definitely a very wonderful thing,” adds May. “This means parents are less worried about competing for expensive and less spacious inner city properties and are more able to buy into the classic family home they always dreamed about.”

 

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