ASC over East
ASC over East
The Revd Peter Laurence OAM, Chief Executive Officer
It’s now 12 years since the Anglican Schools Commission (ASC) first expanded over east. Defying all odds (and many sceptics), we crossed WA’s rabbit-proof fence at the turn of the last decade, acquiring a fledgling Anglican school in the Diocese of Wangaratta in Victoria called Cathedral College. Today the College has almost four times the enrolment of 2010, being a thriving Preparatory to Year 12 school with well over 1,000 students.
Halfway through the decade, the success of Cathedral College Wangaratta (CCW) led to the ASC being asked to acquire the other two schools in the northeast Victorian diocese - Trinity Anglican College Albury-Wodonga and Cobram Anglican Grammar School. Today, both schools join CCW as thriving, distinctly Anglican primary and secondary schools serving the NSW-Victoria border region and the northeast. Our three schools ‘over east’ educate more than 2,600 students and employ more than 350 staff. They join our 12 WA schools, educating a total 15,300 students and employing 2,200 teachers and support staff.
In late May, the Bishop of Wangaratta blessed a large patch of dirt in Shepparton which will become our fourth eastern states venture - All Saints Anglican School. It will open in 2024 with all classes from Prep to Year 7, growing to a full P-12 school by 2029. Located 50 minutes down the road from Cobram and just over an hour to Wangaratta, the four schools will become a dynamic Anglican education hub over east.
I’m often asked how a WA-based ASC ended up in Victoria and NSW. After all, both Sydney and Melbourne have an ASC, albeit Melbourne is very small, with only one school since its inception around 15+ years ago. In short, it was only in 2009-10 that the Commonwealth Government amended legislation to allow an entity to own schools outside their home state. Since Federation in 1901, Catholic and other non-government schools were only allowed to operate in their state.
This legislative change meant that the ASC, with the support of the Archbishop of Perth and Trustees, could respond to the Diocese of Wangaratta’s request for support, in a way that Melbourne could not. The Perth Diocese was viewed as well aligned with the Diocese of Wangaratta, allowing a logical partnership in mission to be established. The acquisition of the three schools during the last decade has made us stronger in every way.
The ASC’s new Strategic Plan 2025 is clear about our strategy. The first responsibility is to our existing 15 schools, that they remain thriving centres of learning and well resourced to serve their local communities. Looking beyond, growing new schools will be focused on our home base of WA, then regional Victoria and the border region.
Our eyes are focused on the horizon. We are in the latter stages of due diligence into a block of land in the northern outskirts of Perth, to be the next low-fee ASC school serving this fast-growing coastal corridor. The greatest challenge today is finding blocks of land that are affordable to buy … sound familiar?
Each new school marks a new beginning for tens of thousands of young people who will be educated there over the coming decades. It is my prayer that, as they learn to read and write, add up, play sport, dance and sing, they will become caring children and young adults, who come to know and share the all-inclusive love of Jesus.