Philanthropy at SCEGGS
As an independent school, isn’t SCEGGS a ‘wealthy’ school?
Contrary to this perception, SCEGGS does not have a large corpus of funds to draw upon. Unfortunately, historically, independent girls’ schools have not benefited from the generosity of parents and past students in the same way as independent boys’ schools.
In SCEGGS case, in the mid-1970s the school faced such a significant financial crisis that SCEGGS almost closed. The school remained open due to the substantial fundraising efforts of our community at the time, brought about by the ‘Saving SCEGGS Appeal’.
School fees are already very high, so why is SCEGGS asking the school community to contribute more?
School fees only cover the operating costs of the school. SCEGGS fees reflect the significant investment it makes in teaching – the number and quality of specialist teaching staff and the investment in staff development.
Fees do not provide funding for new buildings or scholarships. To provide the facilities our girls deserve and to ensure the school continues to uphold its commitment to social justice, we rely on your financial support. In the face of rising costs and uncertainty in the future of government funding, SCEGGS needs philanthropic support to maintain our well-deserved reputation for student diversity and educational excellence.
Will everyone be asked to donate?
We are asking everyone to donate an amount that is ‘generous for you’. Ideally, we would like all members of our community to consider the impact that SCEGGS has had on them, and their family, and pay it forward to benefit future generations of SCEGGS girls, many of whom will come from the current SCEGGS community. This is an inclusive campaign and all donations, whatever the size, will make an enormous difference. We acknowledge the varying financial capabilities of our community and while we will seek leadership gifts, we value every contribution.
What is the purpose of our Masterplan?
The SCEGGS Masterplan provides an outline of our campus and the configuration and evolution of its facilities to support an outstanding educational experience, helping to inspire, motivate and engage our girls. We aim to achieve this through prudent investment from now to 20 – 30 years ahead.
The plan articulates our vision to consistently provide highly functional and more flexible learning spaces. We also need more large, open plan spaces for meetings, collaborative exercises, and community events. The needs and objectives of a classroom are evolving as rapidly as the contemporary workplace – and we aspire to foster greater collaboration, connection, and innovation in the classroom and beyond. The Masterplan helps the school community to understand the long-term investment required to achieve these goals.
What is the time frame for the project?
Subject to planning approval and raising sufficient funds from the community, the redevelopment of Wilkinson House will commence at the end of 2021, with girls and staff expected to be enjoying the new facility in 2023.
Our vison for the Scholarship Fund is longer term, with the goal that 10% of our student population is on means-tested full-time equivalent (FTE) scholarships. The capital campaign funds will contribute to that goal.
As part of this program, we are working towards the establishment of an Indigenous Scholarship Program in our Primary School.
Will the project result in an increase in enrolments?
There is no plan to increase enrolments in either the short or long term. We want to improve facilities and make better use of our site for the benefit of generations of SCEGGS girls.
Our Masterplan is focused on retiring inadequate buildings and creating contemporary learning spaces. It will enhance currently underutilised campus areas and improve the integration of
campus buildings and accessibility for girls who have a physical disability.
The means-tested Scholarship Program will provide girls, who would otherwise not be able to access a SCEGGS education, the opportunity to attend our school to the benefit of all girls.
Is the redevelopment of Wilkinson House necessary?
Absolutely! Wilkinson House occupies a material part of the SCEGGS’ campus but does not contribute to the facilities of our school to the extent that it should.
Originally purchased as a block of flats, Wilkinson House became home to the school’s boarders in the 1960s. The small flats were adapted to provide cosy spaces for boarders and then adapted again to operate as classrooms. This means, amongst many things, that teachers and students work in inflexible and awkwardly shaped classrooms with limited natural light, as well as inefficient and unreliable technological connectivity. The redevelopment of Wilkinson House will provide larger, more functional learning spaces with improved connectivity.
What disruption will be caused by building works?
Considerable measures will be taken to ensure the impact on our students, teachers, and neighbours is limited. Classrooms will be relocated and any building work likely to cause major disruption will be undertaken during school holidays.
What about the historical significance of Wilkinson House?
Originally named Gwydir Flats when it was completed in 1928, Wilkinson House was a residential apartment building designed by celebrated Sydney architect Emil Sodersten.
Considered one of Sodersten’s earliest buildings, its design was influenced by the Mediterranean and Georgian revival styles. It was renamed Wilkinson House after headmistress Dorothy Wilkinson, when it was acquired by SCEGGS in 1962 and converted into our Boarding House.
With the closing of the Boarding House in 2001, Wilkinson House was converted into a senior educational centre, which it continues to be to this day. The School’s continuing association with Wilkinson House will be secured for future generations with the proposed refurbishment, which will rejuvenate a much-loved building and help to preserve the legacy of Emil Sodersten.
What scholarships are currently offered at SCEGGS? / Are all scholarships means-tested?
Annually, SCEGGS offers a wide range of scholarships; some based on merit, funded by the school (such as port, music and academic achievement) and others that are means-tested, funded with the support of our community.
Scholarships contribute to the school’s diversity and reflect our commitment to tolerance and social justice. While scholarships encourage outstanding students in a range of areas, providing them with a stimulating and challenging educational environment, scholarships benefit all our girls by strengthening and diversifying our student body.
Scholarships cover full or part tuition and are designed to financially assist recipients to enjoy all the benefits of a SCEGGS education. Most scholarships are means-tested, including all newly created scholarships.