Mountains Christian Academy
Mountains Christian Academy (MCA) was a small private school attached to a church community in Blackheath, New South Wales, Australia known as the Covenant Evangelical Church. This church was founded by Howard Carter in the mid-1980s, and the school was started to educate the children of the church. It originally began as a high school and eventually included kindergarten and primary when there were enough children. It followed an education system known as Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), which came from the United States of America. MCA was one of the first schools in Australia to implement this system of education, closer to a homeschool academy than to the familiar type of church school.
Although MCA itself was a short-lived institution, it was the testing ground for a new educational paradigm that took off very rapidly.  The swift success of this new style of education caused uncertainty and disquiet among Australian educationalists. At MCA, Logos Foundation (Australia) introduced a type of education which offered an inexpensive, locally controlled alternative to state-run schools but was "criticised for religious, racial and community segregation", and the early-1980s saw intensifying conflicts between the ACE and government schools systems.
The academy closed in 1988 when the Covenant Evangelical Church and Logos Foundation (the CEC’s political and educational arm) moved their headquarters to Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Curriculum and school life
Under the ACE system students were placed in cubicles for most of their learning each day and progressed through booklets on each unit of work known as "PACEs". This school did not necessarily have teachers but operated with supervisors and monitors. Most, if not all, of the supervisors were parents of students in the school or members of the church community. The monitors were generally female and mothers of students in the school. There were some group teaching sessions in the afternoons which included subjects such as written expression, biology, sport and art. There were also electives such as cake decorating, cooking and flower arranging for the girls, and woodwork or metalwork for the boys. There were some drama classes but these were generally just rehearsals working up to the annual school concert, usually a musical involving Psalty the Singing Song Book, Ants'hillvania, or the Good Samaritan.
The school was divided into three teams who competed for points during the year. These were known as Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth, named after the three explorers Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth, who were pioneers and explorers and are known for discovering the Blue Mountains area. The team colours were respectively yellow, red and blue. The teams competed against each other in in-school sports carnivals and other activities such as marching competitions which involved the entire team, all ages. The school also participated in school carnivals against a sister school known as Wahroonga Christian Academy, which often involved the billetting of students amongst the CEC families as the carnival usually lasted more than one day. Being in teams included sitting at tables during lunch periods with members of the team, and care pairs. Care pairs consisted of an older student or high school student who was matched with a primary or kindy student, and generally acted as a "big brother" toward them. Sometimes the care pairs were more of a "care trio", three students of differing ages put together.[original research?]
MCA had very high standards of dress and cleanliness. Regular inspections were carried out and things such as hair and fringe length, nail length, skirt length and shoe shine were inspected.[original research?]
- Robert Long, ‘The Development of Themelic Christian Schools in Australia’, a paper delivered at the 1993 conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education. Available online
- Alan Barcan, Sociological Theory and Educational Reality: Education and Society in Australia since 1949. Kensington, NSW: New South Wales University Press, 1993. p. 229.
- John Harrison, ‘The Logos Foundation: The Rise and Fall of Christian Reconstuctionism in Australia’, Publications of the School of Journalism and Communication, University of Queensland (2006), available online.
- Robet Long, ‘The Search to Explain a New Schooling System’, a paper delivered at the 1994 conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education. Available online
- Cathy Speck and David Prideaux, ‘Fundamentalist Education and Creation Science’, Australian Journal of Education 37:3 (1993), pp. 279-95.
- Roger Hunter, ‘The Shock of the Old: The Militant Church and Education’, in Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Comparataive and International Education Society (10th, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 24-26 November 1982). abstract online
- Hunter, ‘Shock of the Old’.