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History

Anglican Schools Australia has an interesting history. Following a letter to the South Australian Anglican Schools Commission from Peter Moyes, Chairman of the Western Australian Anglican Schools Commission suggesting the initiation of discussions and sharing of information among Anglican schools organisations, a meeting was convened at St Mark's, Adelaide, in 1992. Present at that meeting were representatives of Anglican dioceses across Australia with an interest in Anglican schools. The outcome was the formation of the National Anglican Schools Consultative Committee (NASCC).

 

With support from Archbishop Ian George, it was agreed that NASCC should report to Diocesan Bishops and should seek to promote consultation between Anglican schools throughout Australia. Although initially focusing on newly established low-fee Anglican schools, NASCC quickly grew to include all schools under the Anglican banner. In order to facilitate communication and collegiality between the schools, annual conferences were hosted in turn by each state.

 

Australian Anglican Schools Network

At NASCC's eighth Annual Conference at All Saints Anglican School, Merrimac, Queensland, in 1999 the following Statement of Agreed Principles was adopted for a new organisation to be known as the Australian Anglican Schools Network (AASN): 

  • To provide a means of collegial dialogue at the national level.
  • To provide a forum for discussion of issues of significance to educators in Anglican Schools.
  • To organise national conferences.
  • To encourage Christian mission and outreach through schools of the Anglican Church in Australia.

A Management Committee was also formed. One of its first tasks was to investigate the procedure for recognition as a Network of the General Synod and, by October 1999, the Network was formally recognised by the General Synod Standing Committee. Another, was to translate the Statement of Principles into the following Vision Statement.

 

The Australian Anglican Schools Network, giving honour to God, putting God first and working within God's will, seeks to:

  • Provide a forum at the national level for Anglican schools to facilitate discussion particularly on spiritual, moral and values related issues as they have a bearing on education.
  • Be an effective network of General Synod of the Anglican Church.
  • Achieve recognition of Anglican schools as part of the mission of the Anglican Church.
  • Be a forward-looking, dynamic organisation aiming to develop a strong unity of purpose among Anglican schools.

In 2009 the Vision Statement was amended to include, 'Engage with the Commonwealth Government, national Anglican agencies, other national education bodies and industry groups on matters which affect the Church's mission through Anglican schools.' The aim was to find a means by which the Network could influence policy as Anglican schools, yet schools could retain their independence and local governance.

 

Founding President, Phillip Heath, who has written 'A Short Historical Summary' of the Network says that the 'formation of the AASN in 1999 came at a time of profound change both in the Anglican Church of Australia and in the national life. The experience of difficulties that forged and refined the nature of the Network forced us to focus our energies on the things that united Anglican schools rather than divide them'.

 

Anglican Schools Australia

At the Annual General Meeting in August 2011 the Management Committee proposed that the Network's name be changed to Anglican Schools Australia. Committee members believed that the proposed name was more user-friendly and it would better position the Network for recognition at a national level. It did not take long for the new name to gain acceptance.

 

All Australian Anglican schools are eligible members of ASA and the Network enjoys a growing significance in the life of Australian Anglican schools in considering the spiritual nature of Anglican education. ASA conferences provide a unique opportunity for governors, principals, chaplains and religious education teachers to meet on an equal footing while strengthening the unity and sense of common purpose among Anglican schools throughout Australia.