Making history 134 years on

Wellbeing is at the core of St Aloysius College, creating a space for its students to be nurtured and achieve academic excellence.

Since its foundation in 1887 by Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley, St Aloyisus College has been committed to the education of women as a means to effect social change and help them to discover and achieve their full potential.

From the beginning of 2023, the school is taking a bold step towards the future by becoming the first Catholic co-educational secondary school to serve the city of Melbourne.

Co-education will commence with the first intake of Year 7 boys in 2023. Subsequent years will continue to welcome boys through the Year 7 intake until St Aloysius becomes fully co-educational in 2028.

This move to co-education is informed by two years of research, led by Mercy Education and Catholic Education Melbourne in a plan to re-imagine Catholic education for future generations of families living in inner Melbourne.

The change continues the 134 year Mercy tradition of responding to local community needs and making an affordable education available to all young people, especially families seeking to educate their children together.

Principal Mary Farah says a working committee will manage the transition across the decade.

“We aspire to be a co-educational school where young girls and boys are respectful, optimistic and inquisitive, supported to be faith-filled individuals who know god’s loving kindness and share it with others,” she says.

“The transition to co-education remains faithful to the vision of Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin in 1831, inspired to foster justice, compassion, hope and hospitality in the Mercy tradition.”

Farah says the College’s mission statement clearly articulates its unique focus; based upon its Catholic faith foundation, in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, it leverages the college’s positive energy and supportive community to enable its students to move confidently into their futures.

Built upon the Mercy education values of justice, compassion, hospitality, respect, service and courage, Farah says the Mercy values, alongside inclusivity and leading research in the field of education have continued to influence the school’s decision to move towards co-education.

“I am incredibly excited and proud to be the Principal of such a progressive college, and I am honoured to lead the college in this new chapter of its illustrious history; a chapter that will provide our young people with new and untold opportunities and real-world experiences,” she says.

The St Aloysius curriculum blends the best of educational tradition with an innovative, enquiry-based cross-curricular approach that allows students to make connections, synthesise knowledge and develop literacy skills.

Farah says by the time students leaves St Aloysius, she hopes they will have achieved their very best at VCE or VCAL and developed a love for learning.

“ Learning isn’t a place or time, it is a way of life, a habit, and that’s what schools should be about,” she says.

The school takes great pride in its Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) program, which has been carefully designed to increase awareness and curiosity in these fields. St Aloysius College has a passionate, inspiring and high calibre staff cohort that seeks each day to provide unique, engaging and broad educational opportunities for all the students and families.

Farah notes that the curriculum at the College promotes strong interdisciplinary awareness and provide students with the skills and ability to adapt in a range of fields including the Sciences, Design Technology, Coding and Art.

From Years 7 to 9, students experience a rich and diverse education encompassing a core curriculum and expanded by a broad range of extracurricular options designed to extend students and spark their curiosity.

The Senior Years at St Aloysius College has a central focus an education to prepare students for life beyond school, whatever this may look like for the individual.

During these years, students are encouraged to explore their talents and interests academically, culturally and as part of the local and global community.

Preparation for success after school does not only take place in the classroom at St Aloysius College.

There is also extensive, personalised careers and pathways program available to all students.

“Preparing Students for careers of the future is such a privileged honour – and one we realise takes energy and skill. It’s a privilege we do not take for granted – we take it seriously,” Farah says.

In addition to the pursuit of academic excellence, the College is passionate about providing the very best wellbeing support to all students.

Among many other internal programs, the college’s Nourish Program is designed to cultivate an environment that provides support for the mind, body and soul and is delivered school-wide.

In weekly 45-minute sessions led by pastoral leaders, year level leaders and a range of specialist staff and guest presenters, the program covers a range of topics, including wellbeing, study habits, learning behaviours, time management, cyber-safety, growth mindset, friendship, and nutrition.

“The world into which our school was founded was a vastly different world to the one we now find ourselves in; women over the last century have made tremendous strides towards equality in all areas, and schools like St Aloysius, led that very charge and continue to do so with our embracing of co-education,” says Farah.

“As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, our college has one eye on the future while ensuring our values and mission is treasured and grounded in all what we do.”

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