King's celebrates the 40th anniversary of admitting girls - and say it's been a win-win.
It might have been a controversial move at the time but the advent of female students attending South Auckland’s King’s College celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
While opening up the then 84-year-old boys’ school to girls initially ruffled a few feathers, today female students are an integral and valuable part of the school environment.
Headmaster Simon Lamb says female students now make up nearly a quarter of the school’s total roll – and about a third of senior-level students.
“The school was established in 1896 and had been male-dominated, but the thinking in 1980 was around equality and opportunities we could give to girls attending the school,” Lamb says.
Initially female students were able to attend only in the last two years of secondary schooling (formerly sixth and seventh form, now years 12 and 13). Since 2016 girls have been able to start at year 11 and complete all three years of senior schooling at the college.
Starting female students in year 11 means they have continuity throughout the three years of NCEA but also gives them access to the full three-year Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) programme. Lamb says the dual offering of NCEA and Cambridge is one of the attractions of the college to parents of female students.
“Offering our students the choice to study NCEA, CIE or, on an individual basis, a combination of both, means King’s is able to provide personalised learning pathways that allow every student to achieve their academic goals and give them the strongest possible foundation for their future,” says Lamb.
“The opportunity for girls to attend King’s for three years also allows for a greater depth of involvement in sports teams, music and cultural groups.”
Lamb says parents and new students are also attracted by the co-educational environment, “which brings a lot of a healthy competition and intellectual rigour. It provides a very balanced senior school experience that prepares them well for the world beyond school”.
Lamb says having female students at King’s benefits both sides of the equation: the girls can access the education and facilities of the college but also bring their unique qualities to the student body.
“They have a lot to offer. The girls who come to King’s are quite entrepreneurial and keen to take advantage of the opportunities the school has to offer, and of being in a new environment. We’re delighted to have them.”