End to 400 years of single-sex school if merger goes ahead

By Desmond Pugh   |   Senior reporter and photographer   |
Wednesday 29th June 2022 12:38 pm
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Haberdashers school
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If a proposed merger of the boys’ and girls’ schools in Monmouth goes ahead, it would see an end to 408 years of single sex education in Monmouth.

A decision will be taken in October over the possible amalgamation of Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls - schools which saw a rebranding only a few years ago - and if implemented, would see a fully co-educational school by 2024.

Chair of Governors, Lord Moynihan, an old boy of the school, said they were “keen to canvass as many views as possible on what would be a very significant change at Monmouth. ‘‘We believe that moving to a fully co-educational school will allow us to provide top quality education to our pupils from three to 18 - for generations to come.”

He hinted on a “rationalisation” of some of the buildings the school owns around town which would make “huge steps towards the sustainability of all aspects of our schools’ estates and reduce our environmental impact”.

In a statement sent out to staff and parents, it was announced that governors and the senior leadership of Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools have launched an evaluation process with a view potentially to merging Years 7 to 11 in the boys’ and girls’ schools.

Commenting on this announcement, Lord Moynihan said they wanted to canvass as many views as possible on what would be “a very significant change at Monmouth.

“We believe that moving to a fully co-educational school will allow us to provide top quality education to our pupils from three to 18 - for generations to come.”

He added there was “a significant trend towards co-education in the independent schools’ sector” and claimed that “the majority of parents believe it prepares their children properly for university and adult life. We have launched this discussion process in response to this and I’m really excited by what the future holds.

“Both the girls’ and boys’ schools deserve their strong academic and pastoral reputations and should be proud of what they have achieved. Should we eventually decide to merge, we will ensure that the best aspects of both schools are preserved.

“We are very excited by the potential that going fully co-ed presents, which responds to societal changes and is increasingly what parents, and indeed pupils themselves, are demanding. We have two terrific schools, and we believe that bringing them together will make them even stronger, delivering the best education for our pupils.

“At the same time, it would enable us to capitalise on the efficiencies that a rationalisation of the schools’ extensive estates would deliver; efficiencies that would deliver outstanding value for money.

“We propose to deliver transformative development, including a range of pioneering initiatives and exciting, innovative estate developments such as the creation of an outstanding Sixth Form Centre, an enhanced sports offering, more opportunities in the arts, a better boarding experience and unifying the working week for boys and girls. The resulting merger would also make huge steps towards the sustainability of all aspects of our schools’ estates and reduce our environmental impact.

“We recognise that our schools are an important feature of life in Monmouth. We are a major employer in the town, and we value very highly our responsibilities to the wider community.”

Speaking to reassure the staff that the school employs he added: “We recognise that our schools are an important feature of life in Monmouth. We are a major employer in the town, and we value very highly our responsibilities to the wider community.”

The Pre-Prep school, formerly known as Agincourt School until a few years ago, is already a mixed-sex educational facility and the Prep schools of Monmouth - formerly known as Inglefield and The Grange - are currently sharing premises on the Hadnock Road.

A final decision will be taken in October 2022, with the prospect of a fully co-educational school in September 2024.

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