Anglican Schools Australia began in 1992 as the National Anglican Schools Consultative Committee (NASCC).
It was formed as a means of sharing information between Anglican schools organisations, after correspondence between the then-Chair of the WA Anglican Schools Commission, Peter Moyes, and representatives of the South Australian Anglican Schools Commission. This prompted a meeting at St Mark’s in Adelaide, attended by representatives of Anglican dioceses across Australia and the NASCC was born.
With support from Archbishop Ian George, it was agreed the NASCC would report to Diocesan Bishops and would 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, a tradition which continues today.
By 1999, the NASCC conferences had grown in number and there was a desire to provide a formal constitution and connection with the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia.
There was recognition that a new pathway was needed to provide a central voice for Anglican schools throughout the country
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):
A Management Committee was formed and, by October 1999, the Network was formally recognised by the General Synod Standing Committee. The former Statement of Principles was translated 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:
Founding President, Phillip Heath AM, who wrote 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”.
In 2009, the purpose of the Network again expanded to include advocacy and engagement.
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. 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.’
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.