School's plans to welcome boys sparks anger - The Leamington Observer

School's plans to welcome boys sparks anger

Leamington Editorial 21st Sep, 2023   0

PLANS by an historic independent girls’ school in Leamington to welcome senior boys for the first time has been greeted with anger by some parents.

The Beauchamp Avenue school will become fully co-educational for the first time in its 147-year history from September 2025.

The Kingsley Preparatory School already takes boys up until age 11, which means they currently have to move to another school to continue their education.

The introduction of boys to its senior school aims to offer mixed-gender education up to the age of 18.

Kingsley is part of the Warwick Schools Foundation, along with the same Warwick campus-based all-boys Warwick School and all-girls King’s High School.

Foundation chair of governors Sally Austin said the move would offer greater choice to parents in the area.

“Our pupils learning to work side by side with those with different interests and talents is an invaluable life skill.

“We believe that it is therefore important for all pupils, regardless of whether they are girls or boys, to interact as part of their school experience.

“This is happening on our Warwick campus, in a ‘best of both worlds’ environment, where girls and boys have numerous opportunities to work together.”

But the news has not been warmly welcomed by some parents who were angry at not being consulted.

Toni Reilly, who has set up a petition in opposition, told The Observer: “Parents were not consulted about this decision. I’m currently paying close to £5,000 per term for one child to attend the school. I believe the school making this decision without consulting the parents is an insult.

“Parents have their own unique reasons for wanting to send their daughters to an all-girls school. This could include wanting their daughters to be able to focus on their education without the harassment that teenage girls often face from teenage boys.

“There is a co-ed school (Arnold Lodge) literally around the corner. There are no other girls schools in Leamington, but there is a school that boys can attend.”

Richard Nicholson, principal of Warwick Schools Foundation, remains convinced the move is in the best interests of Kingsley’s future.

He said: “As part of our announcement, we invited parents to meet with key members of staff later this week to discuss and further explain the exciting plans to extend co-education from Prep in to the Senior School.

“The changes we are making are very much designed to ensure that the values and ethos of The Kingsley School continue and are offered to both girls and boys.”

Kingsley started life as Leamington High School and was renamed in 1949 to reflect the role of Rose Kingsley, who founded the school in 1884 with the support of Dr Joseph Wood, later headmaster of Harrow. Rose was a prolific writer and the elder daughter of Victorian author of The Water Babies, Charles Kingsley.


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