Home' Independence : Independence Vol 38 No 2 Oct 2013 Contents VOL 38 NO 2 OCTOBER 2013 INDEPENDENCE 67
report all developments at monthly Board
The Steering Committee met to
brainstorm the major tasks that needed
to be considered and completed.
Small staff groups were then set up
to work through each task, led by
various Executive members. Areas
included stakeholder management,
legal matters, public relations/media
and communications, facilities, risk
assessment and management, the School
program (curriculum and sport) and
The Board and Finance Committee were
kept abreast of the progress in these
areas on a regular basis. Consultants
were appointed as needed.
At each step, a risk assessment was
completed with appropriate responses
discussed and agreed. The Board and
the Steering Committee worked with a
consultant to discuss issues such as how
to respond if information was leaked
early to the parents, how to deal with
disgruntled parents, students or staff,
litigation, the possibility of reduced
numbers, or no male enrolments.
A core conviction at Kilvington is that
everyone is of infinite value and intrinsic
worth. Throughout the process, the focus
was upon treating each person with care,
respect and the utmost dignity. We wanted
to listen attentively, and respect opinions,
while trying to gently move people along.
It was critical that at all levels -- Board,
staff, parents, students, alumnae -- we
lived out the school values and motto, Not
for our own, but others' good.
Board members conducted themselves
marvellously throughout the process.
They listened with understanding to
other points of view, were respectful of
a diverse range of opinions, were very
professional and worked hard. The level
of trust was amazing, exemplified in the
decision remaining confidential until the
news broke. It is so important that the
Board leads by example in living out the
core values of a school.
cater for the diverse needs of students,
whether they be girls or boys.
Over the next days and weeks, staff
were offered workplace and counselling
support. Staff consultation groups were
set up, run by an external consultant,
to hear any staff concerns related to the
A very carefully crafted letter prepared
for parents was sent by registered post.
We wanted all parents to receive the
news on the same day if possible, so that
no family was seen to be favoured over
Despite our best-laid plans, a student
who was sick at home opened the letter
from the School around 12.30pm. She
then texted her friends. Within minutes
the whole School was abuzz with the
news that Kilvington was going co-ed.
You could hear the wave of co-ed change
sweep across the School. Students texted
parents, and parents rang the School.
Reception staff were told to respond by
saying that a letter was being delivered
home that day to explain the situation,
and if parents wanted to talk about the
matter they were welcome to do so,
Those Board members who resisted the
change graciously supported the decision
once it was made. Indeed, they became
some of our greatest advocates.
After much discussion, we agreed to
inform all staff at a whole school staff
meeting the day before parents received a
formal letter from the School.
I'll never forget that meeting. When
staff received an email asking them
to meet after school, with only a few
hours' notice, and that the Chair of
the Board would be present, you can
bet there were a few tongues wagging.
Most were concerned that the School
might be closing; some wondered if I
was resigning. When the Chair made
the announcement the staff nearly stood
as one and applauded, relieved that the
school had a future, and they a job. The
timing was right for change and they
Some 95 per cent of our staff had taught
in co-ed schools before, so most of them
were unfazed about teaching boys.
Even so, we put in place a number of
professional learning opportunities for
staff with the emphasis on how to better
KILVINGTON'S move to co-educational provision
has increased student enrolments.
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