Furious parents and alumni have stormed a prestigious Sydney private school over its decision to transition to a co-ed institution.
About 30 people arrived at the Newington campus about 8am on Wednesday, carrying placards and signs denouncing the school council’s decision to allow female students from 2026 and the school to become fully co-ed by 2033.
Messages called on the school to “reverse” the decision, with one sign stating the college had already lost “$5m in bequests”.
Another demanded a new vote on the co-ed policy.
“Demand school council transparency and accountability,” it read.
On Tuesday, the college’s headmaster Michael Parker wrote to parents alerting them of the planned protest, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Parker said staff numbers would be increased at the “perimeter of the college” to ensure the safety of students.
“There will be several hundred boys starting their first day at Newington tomorrow and they will be experiencing all sorts of mixed feelings as they walk through the gate at this threshold moment,” the message said.
“So that students are safe on Wednesday morning as they enter the school we will have an increased staff presence at the perimeter of the college.”
Separate to Wednesday’s planned protest, a change.org petition against the decision has received 2378 signatures over the last two months.
Former student John Ramarque said the school needed to remain an all-boys facility in order to “preserve Newington’s legacy for future generations”.
“As a proud member of Newington College in Stanmore, NSW, Australia, I have witnessed first-hand the unique culture that has been cultivated over generations,” he wrote.
“This culture is being threatened by recent decisions made by our headmaster and council. The decision to make our school co-ed is not just a change in policy; it’s an erosion of our heritage.”