‘The time is right’: Barker College is going Co-Ed!

It’s one of the North Shore’s best-known schools, and now Barker College at Hornsby is announcing a big change. The school is currently open to boys until Year 9 and is co-educational from years 10 to 12. Now Barker will open enrolments to girls for all years and plans to be fully co-ed by 2022. 


Barker College has this morning announced it is opening places for girls to enrol in Pre-K and Kindergarten from 2018, and plans to be fully coeducational in all years by 2022.

Head of Barker College Mr Phillip Heath

Head of Barker College Mr Phillip Heath

Head of Barker College Mr Phillip Heath, together with Chair of School Council Mr Ian Miller and Chair-elect Mr Peter Berkley made the announcement to parents via email and to staff and students at a full school assembly earlier today.

In the announcement Mr Heath commented that ‘the time was right’ to complete the Barker story, which began when girls were part of the original school enrollment in 1890. 

In a move that will no doubt reignite the single-sex vs coeducational school debate, Barker is presenting the argument that the gender divide in schools is no longer appropriate or needed in the 21st century. Shifting global and national societal trends related to gender, the home and the workplace have meant that there is no longer such a thing as a gender specific career. Young men and women need to learn to work respectfully together in diverse environments in order to be well prepared for the future.

‘Life is coed, boys and girls should learn together because their lives outside school are together. Their futures are not determined by gender and nor should they be,’ Mr Heath says.

How it will work:

Barker have planned a reasonably quick implementation schedule.

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten girls commencing in 2018
  • Year 3 girls in 2019 
  • Year 7 girls in 2020

In announcing the move, Barker cited the views of  Professor Diane Halpern, former President of the American Psychological Association who visited Australia earlier in the year and commented that ‘We don’t have sex-segregated workplaces so why would we have sex-segregated schools?’ during her address to the Australian Psychological Society Congress in Melbourne in September 2016.

No doubt this news will be dinner table conversation for some time to come!

Enrollments are now open for all years. To read the official announcement and find out more visit visit Barker’s website here.

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