In response to a growing demand for co-education, all families in Sydney will be able to enrol their children in co-ed public high schools from 2025. The expansion of intake areas for 20 co-ed high schools in New South Wales (NSW) will provide greater access to families. Education Minister Prue Car noted the adjustment was in response to a surging demand for non-traditional schooling and emphasized that no family should have to leave their local area to access a co-educational high school. Over 120 schools and 300 families of students were consulted in the decision-making process, with Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen highlighting that local families have pushed for increased co-ed school options for years.
Families in Summer Hill now have two co-ed high school options: Dulwich High School of Visual Arts and Design, and Marrickville High School. This shift reflects a larger trend, where top Sydney schools are offering parents more access to co-ed education. St. Mary’s Cathedral College, for example, announced it will accept enrollments for both boys and girls from Kindergarten to Year 12 in 2025, after initially educating only girls until 1967. Furthermore, Newington College, an all-boys school established in 1863, is set to switch to co-ed for its kindergarten-to-year 12 program by 2026.
While these changes promote inclusivity and gender diversity, some have protested against the move, expressing concerns about potential negative impacts on academic results and school culture. The decision to admit girls for the first time at Newington College has sparked such protests, with some parents and alumni expressing worries about poorer academic outcomes and a departure from the school’s exclusive boys-only status.
The ongoing debate between co-ed and single-sex schooling reflects traditional perspectives on social norms between boys and girls. University of Sydney authors explained that elite boys’ schools have tailored their resources over time to what they believe is best for boys, leading some in these school communities to resist change. However, concerns about inclusivity and diversity making boys “second-class citizens” overlook the potential benefits of embracing greater diversity at school. Additionally, debates over single-sex versus co-ed schooling often neglect social class as a key factor in academic achievement, as schools are complex and diverse settings with various influencing variables.