St Mary MacKillop College recognises that there are many good schools in Canberra – schools across sectors with different structures, settings, and foundations. This is to Canberra’s advantage!
St Mary MacKillop College is committed to co-education. Our belief is that students learn best in a safe, respectful environment where difference and diversity is respected and recognised as the first steps towards authentic inclusion.
The College acknowledges some research around single-sex schools and academic achievement. We also recognise that much of this research is often commissioned by advocacy groups supporting single-sex schools and that it can overlook other important considerations such as fee structure, academic selectivity at points of entry, location, and the family backgrounds of students, which are also factors in achievement. Consistently, co-ed schools dominate those that achieve well in the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate, the ATAR, or the International Baccalaureate.
The College also acknowledges that, when new schools are built, they are almost always co-educational.
A powerful belief underpinning co-education at MacKillop is that all students learn differently – it’s not a case of all boys or all girls learning the same. Our teachers are trained and encouraged to use a range of pedagogical strategies in their teaching, a wide range of forms of assessment, and to discuss the strength and challenges of each student in their class through a flexible or differentiated approach to teaching.
Mary MacKillop worked to meet the needs of others with Fr Julian Tenison Woods, her sisters, bishops (sometimes), businessmen, and both women and men who were philanthropists. In an education beyond the classroom, MacKillop’s service and leadership programs, co-curricular programs, our schedule of performing arts, and our recreation and play are enriched by the diversity and inclusion co-education provides.
Co-education brings a healthy energy to our school; a respect for gender difference, a maturity and confidence in learning together, and a broad range of social, co-ed, extra-curricular opportunities that foster a healthy, tolerant learning environment.
Co-education reflects the working, cultural, and social patterns of adult life and is fundamental to MacKillop’s desire to be a Catholic school for all.
Australia’s next generation of leaders will not be achieving, thinking strategically, problem solving, or exercising initiative and enterprise in a single-gender setting – why would we restrict our students’ growth now?