It’s been an exciting couple of months for St Vincent’s College Ashfield

Following the announcement of Ray Martin as the College’s principal last month, the College this month announced its inaugural leadership team, while also revealing the College crest and colours.

Together, the announcements represent a transformative period for education in Sydney’s inner west and for the area’s parents, carers and students.

In this Q&A, Nina Cook—who has children at each of the three Ashfield schools—gives a parent’s perspective of the amalgamation and how it will benefit the community’s families.

With news of the three Ashfield schools combining to become one K-12 College, what were your initial thoughts?

NC: I was thrilled with the idea. After attending all three schools’ parent forums in 2019 and discussing the possibilities with the executive and teachers at all three schools regularly in recent years, I was hoping this would happen. My only reservations were about losing the best educators we have here on the block. I am hoping there will be a concerted effort to retain our dedicated faculty.

Do you feel that the transition process from one stage of school to the next will be very different in this new learning model and what are your expectations with regards to this?

NC: I am hoping for a thorough process of information sharing to avoid all the time that can be lost from grade to grade and particularly from Year 6 to 7. If students are known, valued and cared for, admin and executive can potentially match students with suitable teachers from stage to stage. There can be greater emphasis on a holistic approach, knowing the whole child rather than data on a spreadsheet from enrolment forms because teachers can share information face to face – particularly from Year 4 to 5 and 8 to 9 as the students move through the stages of learning.

Do you see the coming together of the three Ashfield schools will be beneficial to the parish and wider inner west community?

NC: Yes – a K-12 school can nurture so many families. The interconnections families make within a school setting are so strong – families growing together over 13 years and beyond. St Vincent’s will be a uniting source of positivity and strength in our community. 

Do you have any concerns with the schools combining and how it may affect your family situation?

NC: My only concerns are about losing some of our treasured teachers. We have been building relationships over the past eight years on the block. With 12 years to go until our youngest child is finished school, we hope to raise our children with the support and guidance of the teachers we know and trust.

What are you as a family most looking forward to when St Vincent’s College Ashfield is in operation next year?

NC: We are looking forward to opportunities for the whole school to share special events, our younger children being mentored by older students, e.g. cross-curricular challenge days such as Thinkfest, reflection days, sporting carnivals, middle and senior school faculties collaborating with the junior school to give younger students insight into their future learning. 

There are plans to have a 7am to 7pm study centre and before and after school care. Is this something that you see your children and family could benefit from?

NC: Yes. Children learning and playing together is the best thing about school, so a study centre and before and after school care is a wonderful extension of that.

Was there anything you wanted to be brought to the attention of the Leadership Team as the schools journey to uniting as one?

NC: As the schools unite I hope the essence of the three schools can be honoured while a new school culture grows.