WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR AMALGAMATION?
Catholic education in the Ashfield area is changing to ensure academic, strategic, and community needs align and our continued response to the school communities’ ever-changing needs, including staff, students, their families and our parishes.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE OLD SCHOOL NAMES – DE LA SALLE COLLEGE AND BETHLEHEM COLLEGE?
While the names will no longer be used, there will be respect for each school’s unique identity and rich histories as they work collaboratively to become one College.
WHY WAS THE NAME ST VINCENT’S COLLEGE CHOSEN?
Of the three schools, the oldest is St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School, which was established over 150 years ago. This is also the name of the Parish. The new College continues as a Church to the world mission and St Vincent de Paul is an appropriate saint for this mission. Additionally, the three schools’ culture, tradition and values are grounded in the complementary missions of the Sisters of Charity, the De La Salle Brothers and the Vincentians. These three missions will continue as the schools unite to become St Vincent’s College.
HOW WILL THE THREE SCHOOL IDENTITIES BE RESPECTED IN THE ‘NEW’ ST VINCENT’S COLLEGE IDENTITY?
The three schools’ culture, tradition and values are grounded in the mission of Vincentians, Sisters of Charity, and the De La Salle Brothers. That mission continues as the schools unite to become St Vincent’s College community. St Vincent’s College will continue to celebrate and draw upon the contributions of the religious orders who have served them.
WHAT’S THE TIMELINE FOR GOING CO-ED?
In 2023, Years 11 and 12 will continue to have co-educational and single-sex classes. Years 7-10 will continue to operate as single-sex within the K-12 College.
Co-educational classes will be gradually phased in, starting with the first cohort of Year 7, co-ed in 2024 and the College fully co-educational from January 2027.
WILL THERE BE A NEW UNIFORM?
The current St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School, Bethlehem College and De La Salle College uniforms are cohesive across the three schools. Students will continue to wear their current uniforms.
The school leadership, in 2023, will develop the uniform in consultation with the community. The earliest for a new uniform rollout would be 2024.
IF MY CHILD IS STARTING YEAR 7 AT BETHLEHEM COLLEGE OR DE LA SALLE COLLEGE IN 2023, CAN THEY MOVE INTO A CO-EDUCATIONAL SETTING EARLIER?
Students who have enrolled into Bethlehem College or De La Salle College for Year 7, 2023, will remain in a single-sex education with co-educational co-curricular opportunities throughout Years 7 to 10. From January 2027, the College will be fully co-educational.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR A STUDENT TO ENROL INTO ST VINCENT’S COLLEGE?
Starting your child’s learning journey in Kindergarten will provide minimal interruption. Enrolment into St Vincent’s College is accepted at any year from birth. The recommended enrolment intakes for St Vincent’s College are Kindergarten, Year 5 and Year 7, although enrolment applications are accepted for any year group.
WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO PARENTS WHO WISH THEIR CHILD TO REMAIN IN A SINGLE-SEX SCHOOL?
Parents are welcome to contact their current school and discuss their circumstances with the respective principal. Sydney Catholic Schools have other single-sex school options that can be explored with each family. There is a gradual transition to a co-educational model, so current students are less affected than those commencing Year 7 in January 2024.
WHICH SYDNEY CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE AREA ARE SINGLE-SEX?
Sydney Catholic Schools have single-sex and co-educational schools. To find your nearest single-sex school, visit the Sydney Catholic Schools ‘Find a School’ page here.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ST VINCENT’S LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE?
A new K-12 school will have a single principal to lead the school from Kindergarten to Year 12. This provides a continuity of learning and other educational experiences for students. The deans provide strong senior leadership to staff and students. One of the deans will lead the mission activities and approach of the College. Three of the deans will lead their respective stage of the College (K-4, 5-8, 9-12). The head of operations is the equivalent of a Chief Operating Officer (COO) in the corporate sector, ensuring excellent operations and administration across the College.
HOW WILL THE AMALGAMATION AFFECT THE CURRENT LEADERS, STAFF AND TEACHERS?
Sydney Catholic Schools values all our leaders and teachers. All leaders are welcome to apply for the new leadership roles at St Vincent’s College. If unsuccessful, there are many other possibilities across Sydney Catholic Schools’ system of 150 primary and secondary schools. Minimal impact on teachers is expected.
HOW WILL BETHLEHEM COLLEGE, DE LA SALLE COLLEGE AND ST VINCENT’S PRIMARY SCHOOL TRANSITION TO CO-EDUCATION?
The transition from single-sex to co-educational offerings requires minimal changes to physical facilities. More detailed planning by the new leadership team will review the assessment of curriculum and co-curricular opportunities to provide for both boys and girls. It also requires professional development for staff on diverse and inclusive teaching practices. Holistically, this will ultimately provide a comprehensive offering to suit all students.
Sydney Catholic Schools will leverage previous experience from schools that have successfully transitioned from single-sex to co-education, such as Marist Catholic College North Shore and Marist Catholic College Penshurst.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE ‘PHASED’ CO-EDUCATION APPROACH?
The phased approach honours the current students and families’ choice for single-sex education. Going forward, co-education classes for Year 7 will commence from January 2024 to offer families an inclusive option.
WILL THERE BE CONSTRUCTION WORKS TO AMALGAMATE THE THREE SCHOOLS?
Bethlehem and De La Salle already share some facilities, which will continue. There will likely be upgrades to some classrooms and facilities. However, there will be minimal disruption to students and staff on the school site.
WILL THE CO-EDUCATION MODEL BE PRACTISED DURING RECESS AND LUNCH FROM 2023?
The 2023 leadership team will consider this as part of their operational plan for 2024 onwards.
WHEN WILL THE FACILITIES BE CONVERTED TO CO-EDUCATION?
Many of the facilities across the two secondary sites are already used by both Bethlehem College and De La Salle College students. Any additions or modifications will be considered in the master planning that will commence in 2023.
WILL THE THREE ASHFIELD SCHOOLS SHARE BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES FROM 2023?
Yes, while respecting the operational requirements of maintaining single-sex schooling in the secondary school, the facilities across the three sites will be available to all students when required and appropriate.
St Vincent’s College Ashfield will span all three existing school sites, with secondary students across Bethlehem and De La Salle Colleges’ facilities. Primary students will remain at the St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School location.
Based on an initial building and facilities assessment, there is more than sufficient capacity with the existing facilities to meet current and future student enrolments. There will be upgrades to classrooms and some facilities including the school entry over the next few years. A new master plan will be created during 2023 in consultation with the school community.
HOW WILL THE EXISTING PRIMARY SCHOOL BUILDINGS BE CONNECTED IF THEY ARE ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE TWO SECONDARY SCHOOLS?
Any changes to the buildings and how they are connected will be considered in the master planning process during 2023.
WILL THE PRIMARY COHORTS HAVE ONE TEACHER PER YEAR?
The primary school will continue as is, with a class teacher. Once the College establishes the K-4 section, the same will apply.
WILL THE PRIMARY COHORTS HAVE ACCESS TO SPECIALIST TEACHERS AND RESOURCES?
All students across the school will continue to have access to specialist teachers and resources in the same manner they currently do. Enhancements to this will be considered by the new leadership team during 2023 and beyond.
HOW WILL THE CURRENT STUDENTS BE SUPPORTED THROUGH THE CHANGES? WILL THERE BE DISRUPTIONS TO THEIR LEARNING?
Maintaining a quality experience for all our students and our community throughout the change is important. The intention of the phased model is to ensure minimal disruption to learning, where possible.
WHAT IS THE NEW FEE STRUCTURE OF THE K-12 COLLEGE?
Sydney Catholic Schools’ published fee structure will continue to apply at Ashfield. It is based on a fee structure by grade with incremental increases from Kindergarten through to Year 12.
IS THERE A FEE DISCOUNT IF I HAVE 2 OR MORE CHILDREN IN THE NEW K-12 COLLEGE?
Parents will be eligible for Sydney Catholic Schools sibling discounts.
WILL ENROLMENT FOR YEAR 7 BE ACCEPTED FROM YEAR 6 STUDENTS FROM OTHER SCHOOLS, OR WILL INTAKE BE BASED SOLELY ON CURRENT STUDENTS ATTENDING ST VINCENT CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL?
The Sydney Catholic Schools Ashfield Olympic Park Network will provide both single-sex and co-educational secondary school options. Primary schools in the network will be able to choose from both single-sex and co-educational secondary schools. As is the case now, a pathway is not a guarantee of an enrolment place, however, the intention is to provide a choice for parents based on the needs of their children and varied educational opportunities.
Further Sydney Catholic Schools enrolment information can be found here.
WILL PARENTS OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN ST VINCENT’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, BETHLEHEM COLLEGE AND DE LA SALLE COLLEGE IN 2023 AND 2024 BE INFORMED OF THE AMALGAMATION?
Parents of students enrolled at St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School, Bethlehem College and De La Salle College in 2023 and 2024 were informed of the changes at an information session on 15 June 2022.
WHAT IS THE ENROLMENT PROCESS FOR ST VINCENT’S ASHFIELD COLLEGE FOR 2023?
Whilst there is no St Vincent’s College in operation until 2023, parents will enrol their child into one of the three Ashfield schools – Bethlehem College (Girls, 7-12), De La Salle College (Boys, 7-12), St Vincent’s Primary (Co-Ed, K- 6). From 2024, a Year 7 enrolment will be for a co-educational model. Further Sydney Catholic Schools enrolment information can be found here.