Posted by Br Gary Wilson FSC
on 19 February 2021
From this school year, St. James College East Bentleigh and St. Bede's College Mentone are amalgamating, the result of 18 months of planning. Both sharing the Lasallian heritage from 1970 and 1938 respectively, their decision, announced by the St. Bede's College Board Chair, Mr. Anthony Brinkley and the Principal, Mr. John Finn, was signed and celebrated in a liturgy on January 27 2021 at St. Bede's.
Forming possibly the largest secondary school in Victoria, the 'new' St. Bede's footprint will gradually offer expanded opportunities for students 'broadened pathways' - for the wide backgrounds and talents of boys in south-eastern Melbourne. Already, and historically, the majority of Year 10 boys from East Bentleigh transition into their final two years at Mentone. The senior level at St. Bede's has some of the widest curricula offerings in the state, with VET, sports, music, speaking & drama prominent. In addition, the future offers the shared expertise of many more teachers, and several integrated areas of administration and pastoral care.
There has been a Steering Committee harnessing the process of joining together. One College Board with appropriate representation and expertise, reflective of the amalgamation will exist. Current staffing, enrolment criteria and curricula will continue at both campuses, with a strong recommendation required re future curriculum provision and any changes to student fees. Parent, staff, student and Old Boy consultations will take place this year, as the changes are embedded more in the future. The St. Bede's school uniform will be worn by all Year 7 2022 boys for the first time. Mr. Stephen Pooley is the St. James campus Deputy Principal.
John Finn, the Principal, pointed out that as pilgrims who invest in the future, we Lasallians are grateful "for the vision of the Brothers", and the imitation of John Baptist de La Salle who constantly travelled France, in his concern for broadening education for all youth. He noted, at the ceremony, the profile of youth entering adulthood: by 2030 there will be more insecurity in employment, marriages ending on average after six years, and so changed needs for today's youth searching for confidence, health, and a moral compass. An expanded St. Bede's College, with its Lasallian educational principles, looks to the overall health of each young person.
To watch the ceremony click HERE