As Roseville College Principal, Megan Krimmer, watches her students walk through the gates each morning – happy, relaxed, laughing and chatting together, and at liberty to be themselves – she sees the benefits of an ‘all girls’ learning environment for young girls and young women, which she says really allows them to thrive.
According to Ms Krimmer, there has been significant research conducted in recent years that supports her own observations that girls flourish in all girls’ schools, because girls and boys learn differently. Logically, girls’ schools naturally specialise in the education of girls and provide learning environments that are best suited to girls.
“My daughters attended Roseville College, where I am now the Principal, and I have never regretted the decision to send them here,” she says. “This school was certainly the best choice for our girls and, although now graduated, they and their friends really value the education they received. Roseville College is a vibrant learning community where my daughters, their cousin and their friends were offered a wide range of educational opportunities and life experiences that really prepared them for the engaging and purposeful lives they are living today.”
Roseville College’s vibrancy – a vigorous, lively and vital energy – is the pulse linking and transforming generations of students for more than 105 years. Today, the school remains committed to embracing a positive, vibrant culture and providing engaging, enriching and empowering 21st century learning experiences to all of its students.
But how does a ‘vibrant’ learning environment translate in practise? “In my experience, in addition to a diverse, engaging curriculum, a vibrant learning environment for girls must also have: an empowering culture, a strong affirmative and supportive community, and a history of consistently and positively transforming young lives,” Ms Krimmer adds.
Most parents will agree that their child’s school should be a positive and inclusive place, which prioritises a safe, engaging and purposeful environment for learning, exploration and socialisation. This is its ‘culture’, and it is energised by the values and initiatives that uphold it.
At Roseville College, the culture is underpinned by its Christian faith, a strong set of values that recognise and seek to honour each girl as inherently valuable and foster each girl’s individual potential, a broad and integrated student wellbeing program for girls of all ages, and a commitment by staff and students to give of one’s personal best in all aspects of teaching, learning and participation in school life (and beyond).
This vibrant culture empowers teachers to specialise in delivering an enriching differentiated curriculum that caters specifically to the way girls learn, as well as to each individual’s needs and abilities.
It inspires girls to learn about themselves, to become self-assured in their identity, to be liberated in following their interests, and to pursue a bright, engaging and meaningful future.
As a result, Roseville College repeatedly sees girls empowered to be adventurous and creative, explore and freely participate in, as well as proudly demonstrate competence in every subject studied (whether it be Maths and Science, the Humanities or the Creative and Performing Arts, just to name a few). “Our girls have no gender stereotypes to overcome before exploring or pursuing any academic, sporting, creative, leadership, community and personal development opportunity at any time throughout their schooling,” Ms Krimmer explains.
“The vibrant culture at Roseville College seeks to empower students to give new things a go, to weigh up opportunities wisely, and to choose positive role models, who are everywhere; the School Captain, State and National Athletics Representatives, Maths and Science Olympiad entrants, the HSC Dux and the Service Captain – all girls, and all worthy to be emulated. Importantly, our graduates credit Roseville College with developing in them qualities such as optimism, a spirit of inquiry, wisdom and personal accountability, a concern for others, and the courage and confidence – the little inner ‘kick’ – to have a go.”
A strong affirmative and supportive community
Ms Krimmer says that a vibrant learning environment must be coupled with a strong, positive school environment. “According to Mission Australia, teenage girls describe this as one that places a high value on family relationships and friendships; specifically offering a place safe to talk about issues in the absence of boys, to try new things, and not be pressured to look or act a certain way.”
Roseville College has 830 students from Kindergarten to Year 12. “It is very important to them that they feel they can be ‘authentic’, that is, they are free to be who they really are – no matter their age.”
Ms Krimmer adds that vibrancy should partner with an overall sense of safety, where students feel safe, valued, inspired and involved. “In a vibrant learning environment, the ‘real me’ can be expressed and developed. Childhood and adolescence are precious times for girls to discover and learn who they are, how God created them to be, and to explore their interests and potential. It is also a time to learn about the world, to expand their thinking, and to be free to mature into healthy, well balanced adults.”
Also important for girls is friendly competition, developing collaboration skills, positive mental strength and resilience and maintaining a sense of physical wellbeing – all contributing to the vigorous, lively and vital energy that keeps young people engaged and ‘switched on’ to learn constructively.
ANU Professor Alison Booth believes girls in single-sex schools are more likely to compete with others. “At Roseville College, we see girls redress gender stereotypes in the subjects they choose, their leadership experiences and aspirations, and pursuits undertaken in such activities as outdoor education, drama, debating community service, and participation in competitive sports and a very active Student Representative Council. We find, at Roseville, that participation rates in sport among our senior girls continues to remain high throughout their high school years, a time when participation rates elsewhere typically decline dramatically. By fostering good-natured competitiveness, girls inspire one another to strive for their personal best – as well as for personal wellbeing and balance – without a fear of criticism, embarrassment or denigration,” she says.
Consistently, positively transforming lives
Roseville College’s Director of Curriculum, Dr Georgia Kamperos, says that large girls’ schools continually provide excellent learning outcomes for girls. “In the past 100 years in NSW, girls have performed and continue to perform proportionately better than boys in final secondary school examinations, largely in single-sex schools,” she explains.
According to the late Dr Ken Rowe, both girls and boys achieve 15-22 percentile points higher on standardised tests when they attend single-sex schools. So, girls in girls’ schools in NSW are likely to achieve the strongest learning outcomes.
Established in 1908, Roseville College has earned its place among the state’s leading schools for girls and provides a unique, vibrant, balanced and meaningful education for young women in a safe, strong and positive college community.
The school strives to provide a learning environment that will enable each girl to discover and develop her individual potential; academically, creatively, emotionally, spiritually, physically and socially.
Roseville College is also a connected community united by its purpose to engage girls in enriched learning experiences and empower each girl to make a positive difference in the world of today and tomorrow. The school aspires for every girl in its community to flourish: developing her unique potential and achieving her personal best in all aspects of her life.
Ms Krimmer says the school wants every girl to be renowned for who she is, how she thinks and how she lives.
In addition to the academic curriculum, girls are encouraged to extend themselves and engage in the wide range of co-curricular opportunities available. Among these are Antipodeans Abroad, Mock Trial, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Crusaders, Debating and Public Speaking, Robotics, Coding, Social Justice and Charity groups, Drama and Musical Productions, Music Tuition and Performance, Bands, Student Council, Sports, Photography and Creative Arts and many more.
A vibrant learning environment is also expressed at Roseville College by evolution of its physical campus. Centrally located in the established suburb of Roseville on Sydney’s North Shore, it features innovation in engineering, purpose and design on its evolving campus. The grounds include a Junior School Complex, Middle School Technology Complex, Senior Girls’ Study and Recreation Area, Multi-purpose Hall and Chapel, the Joy Yeo Performing Arts Centre (featuring a 350 seat auditorium, drama and recording studios), a Creative Arts Centre, a refurbished Library and Learning Enrichment complex, a heated swimming pool and multi-purpose outdoor courts.
“The college has a rich heritage of over 100 years of dedicated schooling for girls on Sydney’s North Shore and, clearly, we believe not only in girls’ education; but in girls’ education at Roseville College,” adds Ms Krimmer.
“A vibrant learning environment, coupled with the benefits of girls’ schooling, not only offers girls a comparatively – and not insignificantly – higher chance of succeeding in life because of the dedicated emphasis on how girls learn and develop differently to boys, but also positions them to seek out opportunities to engage and connect with the world around them as adults – for meaningful, rewarding lives. In my opinion, the thousands of girls and graduates who have flourished at Roseville College are living examples of precisely this.”