Ascham School

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Ascham School
Ascham School crest. Source: (Ascham School website)
Coordinates33°52′42.99″S 151°14′11.31″E / 33.8786083°S 151.2364750°E / -33.8786083; 151.2364750Coordinates: 33°52′42.99″S 151°14′11.31″E / 33.8786083°S 151.2364750°E / -33.8786083; 151.2364750
TypeIndependent, Day & Boarding
MottoLatin: Vi Et Animo
(With Heart and Soul)
HeadmasterMr Andrew Powell
Enrolment1000[1] (2007)
Colour(s)Navy Blue, Red & Khaki

Ascham School is an independent, non-denominational, day and boarding school for girls, located in Edgecliff, an Eastern Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1886, the school has a non-selective enrolment policy and currently has approximately 1000 students from Kindergarten to Year 12, including 100 boarders from Years 6 to 12.[2]

Ascham follows the 'Dalton Plan', an educational philosophy created by Helen Parkhurst in 1916. The 'Dalton Plan' aims to produce independent and confident leaders.[3]

Ascham is a member of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools (Australasia),[4] the Junior School Heads Association of Australia[5] the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA),[6] the Australian Boarding Schools' Association,[7] and the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).[8]

Ascham is operated as a not-for-profit company. All funds must be used to benefit the school. This function is administered by the school's Council of Governors who are elected by the school's members.


Ascham school was established in 1886 by Miss Marie Wallis, as a private, day and boarding school for girls, in a terrace house in Darling Point. The school moved to its current site following the acquisition of Glenrock estate in 1911. The school was named after Roger Ascham, tutor to Queen Elizabeth I.

The school adopted the 'Dalton Plan' as its method of teaching in 1922.

Ascham became a company, Ascham School Limited, in 1937 under the direction of Headmistress Miss Margaret Bailey. This transferred ownership of the school from herself to ensure the long-term succession of the school.[9]

School crest[edit]

The Ascham school crest was developed in 1911 by Ascham art teacher, Mr Albert Collins. Symbols on the crest were explained in the school's Charivari magazine in December 1911: the dolphins symbolise energy, persistence and the ability to swim against, as well as with, the tide; the wings suggest aspiration and ambition; the lamp and book represent learning; and the combination of the acorn and eucalyptus seed mark the historical union of Britain and Australia.[10]


Ascham is composed of three school areas designed to accommodate for the different stages of the students' educational development.

Infant School

The youngest students, from Preparatory to Year 2, at Ascham are taught in the Hillingdon building which has its own hall, library, classrooms and recreation area. The students at Hillingdon are taught according to the Spalding Method.

Junior School

Students from Years 3 to 6 are housed in the Fiona building. Junior School students have access to a broad range of school subjects and co-curricular activities.

Senior School

The senior school serves students from Year 7 to Year 12. They are taught according to the Dalton Plan. This method gives the older students increased flexibility while placing on them the responsibility to learn and participate in the school's numerous academic and cultural opportunities. In all, the campus hosts the Packer Theatre, a studio theatre, an indoor heated pool, a gymnasium, tennis courts, playing fields, IT facilities, art rooms, science laboratories and three libraries.

Exchange programme[edit]

Ascham has exchange programmes with the following girls schools; St Mary's Calne, UK; London City School for Girls in London; Havergal College in Toronto; Nightingale-Bamford School in New York; Northlands in Buenos Aires; Durban Girls' College in Durban; Institut de la Tour in Paris, St. George's School, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Old Girls' Union[edit]

The Ascham Old Girls' Union ("AOGU") was founded in 1899 by former students of the school. It now has a membership of over 4,000. The AOGU encourages involvement of all past students in the Ascham community and helps alumnae remain in contact with their classmates.[11] The AOGU also funds bursaries for the daughters and granddaughters of past students. The recipients of bursaries are means-tested and reviewed annually, and also carry an obligation to uphold the ideals and values of Ascham.[11] The AOGU released three publications per year to its members.[11]


  • Miss Marie Wallis (founder) 1886 - 1902[8]
  • Mr Herbert J. Carter 1902 - 1914
  • Miss Margaret Bailey 1914 - 1946
  • Dr Hilda Rayward 1947 - 1948
  • Miss Dorothy Whitehead 1949 - 1961
  • Miss Merrilee Roberts 1962 - 1972
  • Mrs Rowena Danziger 1973 - 2003
  • Miss Susan Preedy 2004 - 2005[12]
  • Mrs Rowena Danziger 2005[13]
  • Mrs Frances Booth (acting) 2005
  • Mrs Louise Robert-Smith 2006-2012[14]
  • Dr Helen Wright 2013–2014[15]
  • Mr Andrew Powell 2014–present[15]

Notable alumnae[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ascham Annual Report 2005" (PDF). Retrieved May 25, 2007.
  2. ^ "School Choice - Australia Choosing a School". Archived from the original on 2007-08-30.
  3. ^ "A Dalton Education".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-09-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-09-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools (AHIGS)". AHIGS. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30.
  9. ^ "Home - Ascham School".
  10. ^ "The Ascham Tradition".
  11. ^ a b c "Ascham Old Girls' Union".
  12. ^ "Grande dame of Ascham back as headmistress resigns". Sydney Morning Herald. 2005-02-24. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  13. ^ "Ascham without a headmistress again as Danziger bows out". Sydney Morning Herald. 2005-03-08. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  14. ^ "Ascham lures headmistress with shining record on results".
  15. ^ a b "Ascham headmistress Helen Wright leaves school after a year". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  • Simpson, Caroline Fairfax; Dupree, Annette Fielding-Jones; Ferguson, Betty Winn, eds. (1986). Ascham Remembered 1886-1986. Sydney: Fine Arts Press. ISBN 0-86917-013-9.

External links[edit]