CO-EDUCATION - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Co-education at Hereworth
Hereworth has been a part of the fabric of Hawke’s Bay since 1927. With a rich and beautiful heritage, it has provided an outstanding education for boys for close to a century with a clear focus on preparing them for a life beyond our school gates.
Hereworth boys are surrounded by diverse opportunities and engaging, challenging experiences so they develop resilience and adaptability within a supportive educationally stimulating and nurturing Christian environment.
Today, however, we must also prepare our students for a new, exciting future that will be far less defined by gender roles than in the past. The world of education, the world of work and employment, and the world of leadership, have changed and evolved considerably over the course of the past 50 or so years. The School’s culture is inclusive, innovative and full of hope for the future, and now we are planning carefully for the introduction of girls.
It is an exciting time to be involved at Hereworth with this change in strategic direction. Educating girls at Hereworth will definitely be a new experience for us given our history of ensuring an excellent education for boys.
However, given the favourable response since mid-May 2021 when we announced to the community our intention to become an integrated co-educational school, we have had over 170 enquiries for the enrolment of girls, indicating there is an obvious demand from parents for their daughters to experience a Hereworth education. So, we now look forward to offering those same opportunities to girls.
And while co-education is a big change for the School, the strong distinctives of Hereworth, which are widely recognised and valued, will remain the same – our special Christian character, the excellent teaching and learning, the structured focus on pastoral care, wellbeing and character development, the small class sizes, the breadth of co-curricular pursuits and the strong sense of community. These will continue to be thoughtfully maintained and nurtured, alongside the careful implementation of initiatives to cater for, and be inclusive of, all students.
Why has Hereworth decided to transition to a co-educational school?
Most independent schools, including Hereworth, were established in a world which was vastly different to that experienced by current generations of learners. Given the changing world in which we live, co-education offers a more inclusive, equitable and diverse community. It helps to give students an increased understanding of themselves and one another.
By 2024, Generation Alpha (those born 2010-2024) will be the largest generation across the globe and as a school we need to consider the world into which they will be entering - a rapidly evolving and technological world where the only constant is change; a world in which boys and girls, men and women have equal footing, living and working together in partnership in life, taking their places naturally in the wider community.
Co-education will allow our students to share in the collective joy of growing intellectually and socially, learning to collaborate, applying their knowledge in new situations, exchanging ideas, debating issues and sharing varying perspectives, thereby developing an acceptance of difference, respect and empathy for one another. This presence of both genders working together will add to the richness and diversity of thinking and learning, and relationship building, that fills all classrooms in our School.
Furthermore, becoming a co-educational school with an increase in enrolments will ensure Hereworth has sustained success and viability for the long term. The Ministry of Education office in Napier has also indicated that becoming co-educational will be of the most benefit to the Havelock North community.
In a practical sense, co-education will allow parents to keep their children together at Hereworth, sharing in those formative experiences collectively, thereby enhancing the value of family, community and identity, not to mention the significant advantages in efficiencies and practicalities for families.
Our end goal for all students who leave Hereworth is that they are resilient, lifelong learners who are as fluent in emotional intelligence as they are in cognitive intelligence, who can think independently, are ethically aware, have grown in their faith, and can approach the world with curiosity, compassion and empathy. They will also have made friends for life and want to contribute to making the world a better place.
We want to make Hereworth even better and stronger for the next 100 years. We are confident that our school has a bright future and will thrive as a co-educational school. Co-education will strengthen Hereworth’s mission, and fits with key drivers in its Strategic Plan including improved enrolment accessibility, financial stability, and stronger and more diverse community relationships. It will also support the region as future population growth will put pressure on local primary and intermediate school rolls.
Will my child benefit most from co-educational or single sex schooling?
For years we have embodied the role of a boys-only school and have been exceptionally successful in designing programmes for boys. However, moving forward and embracing the future, we believe that life, both inside and outside the school, is for both genders. The road ahead in education, the workplace, and life in general, is a path forged in partnership together.
Some parents will choose co-education and some will choose a single sex school. It is a personal decision and should be based on the needs, including the age, of the child. Parents know their child best. At the end of the day we all want our children to be happy, and a great school experience plays a significant role in that happiness.
At Hereworth, we know as human beings that we are closer and more connected with each other than ever before. So now is the time to let both boys and girls learn, play and develop relationships with each other within our School grounds.
How will Hereworth accommodate the additional students?
In 2021, the School undertook a Master Planning review to look at facilities required to accommodate not only girls but to cater for increased enrolment demand. The School currently has teaching spaces to cope with additional enrolments. We are presently reviewing our facilities to maximise their use. Some spaces in existing buildings will be repurposed for new classrooms and learning spaces.
The Multi-Sport Facility demonstrates the School’s on-going commitment to provide for the needs of boys and girls in sport, both now and for generations to come. It will comprise four indoor cricket lanes, two tennis/netball courts, a basketball court, a classroom for the teaching of Hauora, bathroom amenities, and parking for 35 cars adjacent to the building.
Once completed, this significant and much needed facility will complement our artificially surfaced tennis/hockey courts, large grass playing fields, swimming pool and mountain bike track.
This complex will allow us to showcase sporting events, hold full school assemblies and gatherings, and provide a space that the wider community can access. Careful thought has been placed on the design of this space so that it will blend into the existing landscape and respect the way in which the environment shapes Hereworth.
Will the introduction of girls in the Junior, Primary and Intermediate years mean an increase in the class sizes?
Whilst the student population will grow as we transition to a fully co-educational school, small class sizes will remain a priority at the School, so your child will receive the care and attention they require.
At Hereworth we acknowledge that the teaching and learning, and pastoral care and wellbeing programmes, are intertwined, contributing significantly to a student’s positive school experience. Small class sizes are certainly a key consideration for both boys and girls to allow this to be achieved.
Will all classes be co-ed?
The introduction of girls will be a gradual process. From expressions of interest received so far, we are expecting to be able to enrol girls in all year groups. The pattern at this stage is approximately equal numbers of boys and girls in a single class in each of Years 0 to 4. In Years 5 to 7 where we commonly have multiple classes, we are expecting to have co-ed classes and boys-only classes in each year group as we commence co-education. Parents who feel strongly that they would like their son to continue in a single-sex class may speak to the School about this possibility. We await to see confirmations of interest from girls wishing to enter Year 8 2023.
There may be occasions where for academic and/or pastoral care and wellbeing reasons, some classes will be single sex. The majority of learning will take place in a co-ed setting as learning together enables boys and girls to work co-operatively in environments not dissimilar to the real world.
What about co-curricular provision? How will that be affected?
The co-curricular provision contributes significantly to the stimulating and inspiring environment at Hereworth and provides another avenue of opportunities for students to shine. Our co-curricular offerings of sports, music, drama, debating, chess and cultural activities, already popular with our existing boys, is being reviewed to ensure an even more extensive programme for all students from January 2023. Of course, the opportunity to make Sporting Prep Fixture teams in a similar way to the boys based on merit, will also be offered to girls to enable them to enjoy the same great experience as our boys.
Will the wellbeing programmes change with the introduction of girls?
We believe that the development of positive self-esteem, the ability to set meaningful goals and a growing sense of resilience can be enhanced through a well organised and well delivered pastoral system. With that in mind, the ‘Thriving at Hereworth’ programme is being developed with a clear and distinct focus on ensuring that all students have what they need to thrive; to grow; to inspire; to serve; to think critically and to be a learner fully engaged with the world around them.
In all year groups, the class teacher will continue to be the primary pastoral carer, supported by specialist teachers and support staff. All staff will continue to ensure that every child is known and valued as an individual. Our respected wellbeing programme will continue to foster strong bonds between student and teacher to assist with building a sense of community, which is so much a part of Hereworth.
Will my child have access to a sufficient range of learning programmes and facilities?
The activities and events that we offer each term at Hereworth are a reflection of our mission to inspire students, teachers and families to thrive and through this thriving to be able to work with and inspire others around us.
We believe that all students deserve an enriched curriculum experience and, therefore, a range of academic enrichment and support programmes are available to students. In addition to subject-based enrichment, Hereworth students have access to other learning programmes that promote academic development and specialised learning support.
Hereworth is fortunate to have 22 acres of beautiful, park-like grounds, complete with extensive playgrounds and ovals for students to enjoy being outdoors. The use of facilities across the School is being reviewed in order to provide the best learning environment for all students.
I enrolled my son at Hereworth because you are specialists in boys’ education. What guarantees can you give me that his education won’t suffer as a result of this change?
We know how to get the best from boys. We recognise that girls are different; but many of the practices used are of benefit to both genders. There is, however, significant work ahead to refine our co-educational model. Be assured the School will be applying much rigour to this process.
Will there be a girl’s uniform to complement that worn by the boys?
The Hereworth School uniform has been designed to develop a school identity and to give students a sense of pride and belonging.
The Hereworth green, red and grey colours are an iconic part of our history and it is fitting that this is evident in the design of our new girls’ uniforms. It will retain the much loved white shirt (albeit short-sleeved), along with a tie, jersey, blazer, skort, tights and socks to provide a fresh, stylish new look, whilst still allowing the girls to be able to participate actively. We are introducing a cardigan option available to both girls and boys, a nod to the Hawke’s Bay climate in winter.
Acknowledging that successive generations of Hereworth students have placed great value on their named hat and to maintain consistency, the girls will have an identical sun-safe wide-brimmed Hereworth embroidered hat.
We are committed to providing a uniform that is uniquely Hereworth, one that students will take pride in wearing and that suits the range of activities in which our students are involved.