Adelaide’s Anglican schools have been nurturing young minds through diverse programs of Christian education over generations.
There are 12 independent Anglican schools operating in Adelaide as of 2015, with over 13,000 students enrolled.
Anglican Schools Liaison Officer Jim Raw says the schools are brought together by their shared Anglican identity yet defined by their individual histories and features.
“Our schools provide opportunities for children and adolescents of all ages and from a wide range of backgrounds to engage in learning that will equip them to step into our society,” Jim says.
“Each has their unique character, with three of our schools sharing their Anglican faith with another Christian faith, another two schools being Kindergarten to Year 7, and all of our schools being spread geographically from the outer northern suburbs to the south coast.
“There is a rich diversity of students attending our Anglican schools where the sure foundation of a Christian love embraces the students’ lives with genuine meaning, purpose and service in the world they will inherit.”
St Peter’s Boys College is the state’s oldest Anglican school, with a history dating back to 1847 and strongly influenced by the Church of England.
Adelaide’s first bishop, August Short, summed up the school’s purpose as “educating (students’) minds, shaping their characters, and making their souls Christian” – a vision that continues to this day.
St Peter’s Girls’ School was then opened by the Community Sisters of the Church in 1894, with just four pupils.
“The Sisters who opened our school took a risk – sailing from England to the other side of the world to Adelaide, a city they knew nothing about,” Principal Julia Shea says.
“Their legacy lives on through our girls, who as genuine global citizens dare to be the change that they want to see not only in their own lives but within the context of the wider community.”
Pulteney Grammar School opened its doors in 1848 as another foundation of the Church of England, and current Principal Anne Dunstan says maintaining connections with local and national Anglican Schools has always been a priority.
“The Heads and Chaplains of Adelaide’s Anglican Schools work closely together to further the quality of education for all of the students who attend our schools,” Ms Dunstan says.
St Andrew’s School was the next to open in 1850, built from foundations as St Andrew’s Church to educate the children of the first Walkerville settlers.
While much has changed since the days of its first headmaster Mr William Owen, Deputy Principal Natalie Jonas says it continues to foster this “culture of inquiry and higher order thinking”.
A similarly rich and complex history is behind St Peter’s Woodlands Grammar School.
The school opened as the Parish Day School of St Peter’s Glenelg in 1863 – soon transitioning to St Peter’s Glenelg Anglican Grammar School – and moved to its current Partridge Street campus after Woodlands Girls School closed in 1998.
Walford Girls’ School was founded in 1893 by Miss Lydia Adamson in her family home on Fisher Street, Malvern and managed to retain this family ethos as its numbers expanded.
At its current site it continues to provide a challenging education program in a supportive Christian environment.
St John’s Grammar School has been providing a strong education option for families in the Adelaide Hills since 1958.
Originally established as part of the St John’s Coromandel Parish, the school maintains close links with the Church and a commitment to teaching social justice.
Trinity College is Adelaide’s largest school and one of the largest schools in Australia, with nearly 3500 students and six separate campuses.
Its establishment in 1984 grew out of a need identified by St George’s Anglican Church for an Anglican school in Gawler.
Current Deputy Head of the college Robert Smedley appreciates “the vision and pioneering spirit of dedicated parishioners, staff, parents and students” in those early years that have made today’s college possible.
“Trinity continues to maintain the solid foundation in the Anglican tradition and remains open to all who would like their children educated in a liberal and Anglican tradition, regardless of their economic status or religious affiliation,” Mr Smedley says.
Woodcroft College at Morphett Vale and Investigator College, with dual campuses at Victor Harbour and Goolwa, both offer a broad curriculum and a range of learning pathways as Anglican options in Adelaide’s south.
Two mixed-faith schools are putting ecumenical philosophies into practice, with a particular focus on inclusivity and respecting different points of view.
Pedare College opened its doors in 1986, named for the past pioneers of the Tolley family whose vineyard was originally going to be the College site.
It maintains links with the Anglican Schools Heads Group and the Uniting Church Educational Ministries Association Commission, welcoming students of all religious affiliation.
St Columba College is Adelaide’s most recently established Anglican school.
The college opened in 1997 as a joint initiative of the Anglican and Catholic Dioceses of Adelaide and quickly built a student community of over 1400.
Senior Chaplain for Anglican Schools Andrew Mintern says no matter the schools’ locations or how longstanding their heritage, their common commitment to educating the whole person – physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social – creates well-rounded, socially aware students.
“The faith and values of all our Anglican schools underpin their approach to educational formation,” Andrew says.
“Whilst not all in our schools necessarily own the Christian faith, most would place a high significance on the values of their school and appreciate that we are helping form young people who develop themselves as fully as possible in the knowledge that they can make a positive difference in the world.”