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Ready or not: Giving students the edge in the real world

St Leonard's College

St Leonard’s College provides students with “an education for life,” offering an experiential education that nurtures confident and compassionate learners.

Nestled in the heart of Melbourne’s bayside is St Leonard’s College, a school that offers a unique approach to education that is both genuine and authentic, according to College Principal Peter Clague.

“St Leonard’s vision is to equip students with an education for life,” says Mr Clague. “We firmly believe the best way to prepare young people for success in the world is by offering a setting that reflects real-life situations.”

Originally founded as a Presbyterian Girls College in 1914, St Leonards opened its doors to boys in 1972, and has now chalked up over 40 years of experience in coeducation. Located in Brighton East, St Leonard’s College provides education from Early Learning to Year 12, and offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and the VCE as tertiary pathways.

St Leonard's College
Outdoor adventures and exploring nature are a few of the ways that students gain valuable insights about the world around them.

Examining the benefits of experiential education

When it comes to the philosophy of coeducation, St Leonard’s firmly believes that all genders thrive when they learn and grow together where students can collaborate across every aspect of school life, from the classroom to the sports field, the stage, and leadership roles.

“Through genuine coeducation, students gain an understanding of the importance of respectful relationships between men and women in fostering a prosperous future,” says Mr Clague.

“Therefore, when they step out into the world as graduates, they are equipped with the abilities and knowledge to participate in a society where all genders work and live together harmoniously.”

As every school has a fundamental responsibility to prepare young people for the challenges and opportunities that await them beyond the classroom, St Leonards believes that coeducation is essential in achieving this ambition.

“Coeducation ensures our student body reflects the world outside, where different genders, cultures, beliefs, and experiences intersect,” says Mr Clague.

“It breaks down gender stereotypes and provides equal access to non-traditional subjects, helping to create a level playing field for all students. And it also allows teachers to monitor and address any gender bias that may emerge in academic outcomes, ensuring that every student has an equal chance to succeed.”

But the advantages of coeducation far exceed academic achievement, according to Mr Clague. He sees it as an opportunity for students to learn to appreciate and respect the differences amongst their peers in the classroom, and beyond.

“This exposure helps them develop their sense of self and compassion for others, setting the foundation for a fulfilling life beyond school.”

Outdoor Hike
St Leonards College provides students with practical, real-world experience and learning opportunities in a coeducational environment.

Understanding the benefits of experiential education

St Leonard’s recognises that each child has a unique learning style, irrespective of their gender, and they are offered a smorgasbord of choice to ignite their passion for learning and discover their individual talents. The vast array of programs at St Leonard’s ensures every student has the opportunity to flourish.

The College prioritises experiential education, where students are at the forefront of their own learning, making it the cornerstone of the school’s educational approach. Students actively engage in real-world situations and reflect on what they have learned.

From outdoor adventures and social action initiatives to exploring nature and immersing themselves in different cultures, students gain valuable insights into themselves and the world around them.

Through these practical, hands-on activities, they develop essential life skills and gain valuable insights into the broader communities they exist within – locally, nationally and internationally.

St Leonard’s educators are skilled in the experiential approach, intentionally designing and delivering activities that embrace the unknown. By facing uncertainty, students can grow in confidence and conviction.

In this kind of environment, it’s not just about succeeding; it’s also about learning from failure. When things don’t go as planned, children learn how to persevere, adapt, and change course – skills that are essential to the College’s promise of an education for life.

St Leonard’s fosters a vibrant community of learners who are encouraged to realise their maximum potential and become their best selves through experiential education. As a result, they’re equipped with the confidence and readiness to enthusiastically embrace the world beyond the College’s gates.

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