As an independent, forward-thinking girls’ school, Ruyton is committed to preparing girls for a lifetime of learning, leadership and engagement in our global community. Our vision is to inspire girls to be bold and to educate girls to live lives of impact and purpose.
Ruyton’s Early Learning, Junior and Senior Schools are situated on the one campus, fostering a strong sense of belonging and authentic connection. Opportunities for students to interact across year levels and across sub-schools’ fosters meaningful connections.
We are committed to empowering our girls to flourish by embracing emotional, social and physical wellbeing practices. We approach wellbeing in both a proactive and responsive manner. With sequential and age appropriate programmes focused on developing resilient, confident and grounded young women.
Acknowledged widely as a high performing academic school, we continue to develop programmes and practices, expanding learning experiences to provide our girls with the knowledge and future-ready skills to help them thrive in a rapidly changing world. As a community we recognise that an ATAR score alone does not reflect the richness of the stories of grit, determination and success behind each girl’s journey.
‘We believe in girls’ is our ethos and our practice. We empower our girls to lead lives of impact and purpose with courage, character and compassion; both now and in the future. This is how we define success.
The extensive Co-curricular Programme at Ruyton enables our girls to follow their passions and challenge themselves in different ways to discover their true capacity. Essential life skills and characteristics are gained, such as time management, resilience, grit and independence. Ruyton girls develop as women of character and integrity.
Ruyton is a community that believes in girls.
The Ruyton we know today, situated at 12 Selbourne Rd, with over 900 students from Early Learning to Year 12, is a community that is deeply connected and proud of what we stand for. As an independent, forward thinking girls’ school we are committed to preparing girls for a lifetime of learning, leadership and engagement in our global community.
We are a community that believes in girls. This is who we are.
In 1878 the newly widowed Mrs Charlotte Anderson began a school in the back room of her rented home at 63 High St Kew. By 1880 Mrs Anderson reported that she had 21 students, enough to warrant advertisements in The Argus. As 1881 drew to a close Mrs Anderson made the decision to move her school from her rented premises to Edgecomb in Studley Park Road. With the new property came the need for a new name. Mrs Anderson honoured her great grandfather, the vicar of Ruyton XI Towns in Shropshire England, and named her school Ruyton Girls’ School.
This woman of great courage, grit and determination remained Principal until 1888. Her vision laid Ruyton’s reputation for sound scholarship, opportunity and challenge for girls; maintained fiercely by those who followed in her footsteps. This belief is still at the heart of all we do today as we foster the individuality of each girl in a caring and safe environment; nurturing her intellectual, physical, social and emotional qualities essential to flourish.
Today, from the Principal’s Study in Henty House, overlooking the Moreton Bay Fig, the daily routines of Ruyton are easily observed : the youngest of our girls whispering to the fairies in the tree, our athletes running in the morning, our Early Learning students peering through the windows on their way to library, or our Senior girls sitting under the windows of Henty, full of social chatter as they eat lunch. It is the rhythm of Ruyton, a rhythm that always seems to be buzzing with the excitement of the moment and the mystery of what lies ahead. This same study was used by Miss Hilda Daniell OBE, Miss Catherine Wood, Miss Margaret McRae, Mrs Prue Gillies AM, and Mrs Carolyn Anderson. The desk used by the Principal today is the very same desk used by Miss Daniell, a proud old scholar who led the School, and indeed saved the School, as Principal from 1913 to 1952. We are a community proud of our history and use the wisdom it provides to inform our future.
It is fair to say that Miss Daniell lived and breathed Ruyton. She strongly believed Ruyton had always been a home school, with a friendly association and co-operation between the teacher and the student, resulting in a much happier and more wholesome atmosphere. She felt this homely atmosphere had been greatly enhanced by the fact that Ruyton had actually been a home for many years when Mr Henry Henty and his family lived there. The beautiful garden meant a lot to the girls, just as it does today, and Miss Daniell believed it contributed greatly to their development.
In Miss Daniell’s Annual Report from the School’s Golden Jubilee year in 1928, she outlined how Ruyton has always provided a good, broad and cultural education and in its first 50 years had been privileged to witness a silent revolution in educational ideas and methods. She remarked
‘It is amazing to me that, in spite of all the work done by psychologists and educationists in recent years, there should still be people who affirm that it does not matter what a girl learns, as she will probably marry, and it will be all wasted. When you think of the tremendous power for good or ill that a mother has over the developing minds of her children, surely it is of supreme moment that she should bring a cultivated intellect and trained judgement to her task. It is the recognition of this fact that caused enormous development in girls’ education which has taken place in the last 20 years. In the early years of our history Australia demanded of her women immense moral and physical courage, and an endurance that was almost superhuman. She demanded it, and she got it, often from highly educated and sensitive women. Those crude pioneering days are over for the most part, and the children and grandchildren of these women are now a power in the land, and are already obtaining abroad a reputation for progressiveness. We must see that the education we give our girls shall not fall short of what is required to fit them for their life’s work.’
A great deal has changed since Miss Daniell wrote these words 90 years ago. Yet her words still strike an important chord; education is for life and it matters a great deal what our girls learn. We now live in a world where content is ubiquitous; free and growing exponentially. Our physical landscape, teaching methodology, understanding of the social, emotional development of girls, adolescents and young women have all evolved. What we know is simply not enough in today’s world, nor has it been for some time. Literacy, numeracy and knowledge of the disciplines will always be an essential component of being an educated person but learning how to ask deep questions, how to interrogate information, and how to apply thinking in different contexts is education future proofing; and it is a necessity not an option.
It is increasingly important to take our knowledge and apply it in new and unfamiliar situations, to actively seek issues and problems and solve them critically and creatively. We need to be able to innovate and to have the ability to determine what to do when we actually don’t know what to do. To be bold and thoughtful by asking deep questions, interrogating information and applying our thinking in different contexts. These are the new measures of true learning.
The shared vision in the recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Report on Education 2030 is that our young people ‘will need to be responsible and empowered, placing collaboration above division, and sustainability above short-term gain. In the face of an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, education can make the difference as to whether people embrace the challenges they are confronted with or whether they are defeated by them.’
It is hard to believe that our current Prep girls will be finishing Year 12 in 2030; but we are very aware of our responsibility to educate these young women for their future. We know that students learn best and engage fully when the work is meaningful and there exists real purpose and challenge. We strive to provide opportunities for student voice and agency, whilst equipping our young women with future focussed skills, attitudes and dispositions.
We inspire girls to be bold. We educate girls to live lives of impact and purpose. We are a community that believes in girls. This is who we are.
Ms Linda Douglas, Principal
A Message from the Ruyton Community to the Class of 2018
Yesterday was the final School day for our Year 12 girls as they move into their study leave and examination phase. Early in the morning 83 excited Wonder Women scootered down the front driveway to a fanfare of whistles and a lot of giggling, then gathered in the Courtyard Café for breakfast with our Year 12 parents. To commence this final day, a moment of great significance with parents and daughters together, is a wonderful tribute to the family experience that is such an important part of the Ruyton culture.
The Year 12 final Assembly highlighted their unique experiences, their ability to laugh at themselves, and their strong sense of connection. As always, the younger girls have watched with fascination as their heroes, ‘the big girls’, re-entered their childhood for the past two weeks. Yesterday was the absolute highlight for them as they shared this joyous occasion for the Year 12 girls and expressed their thanks for a year of leadership and friendship. Last night our Year 12 students, parents and staff gathered for the Valedictory Dinner, where the Class Valedictorian delivered a beautiful reflection on the Ruyton journey for this group of girls and a parent also gave a heartfelt message.
Whilst the mood across the day was joyful, it was also emotional, as these fine young women recognised the power of support and friendship they have experienced across the Ruyton family. The Class of 2018 has a strong sense of togetherness and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, as well as providing a lifelong haven and network for those who have made a significant journey together. After 15 years of schooling, of adventurous learning, curiosity and discovery, these young women are about to embark on a new phase of their lives; one they are well-prepared for and ready to embrace wholeheartedly.
Each and every one of our Year 12 girls has enriched the life of the School in her own way through her participation, her endeavour and her support of others. We sincerely thank the Class of 2018 for their efforts throughout this year to provide positive and inclusive student leadership of our community. These young women have stood up for what they believe in, taken action and made a real difference. As a community we thank them for their strong contribution to the School and wider community throughout their time at Ruyton.
On behalf of the Ruyton community I wish each and every one of our Year 12 girls every success as they move into the final days of their schooling. We know that they will strive to achieve their personal best and that we, as staff, parents and students, will be proud of their individual endeavours and achievements. Most importantly we are proud of who they are; of their grit, determination, kindness and compassion.
‘You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know.’
Antiope, Wonder Woman
Ms Linda Douglas, Principal
From The Principal of Ruyton Girls’ School
‘We purposefully support girls to understand their identity and shape their self-concept, self-efficacy, and self-confidence; to develop the knowledge and skills required to reject and overcome gender stereotypes that attempt to define them.’
Ms Linda Douglas
In relation to gender equity on an international scale, in 2017 the World Economic Forum ranked Australia in the following areas: Economic Participation and Opportunity (42), Political Empowerment (48), Health and Survival (104), and Educational Attainment (1). Overall, this equates to a gender equity global index rank of (35) for Australia. It is not unexpected that New Zealand (9) and Canada (16) ranked higher than Australia, but Cuba (25) and Nicaragua (6) might surprise you. There are many complex reasons why women do not have equal participation and reward in our society, however, these reasons are linked to social and cultural influences associated with gender.
One commonly cited reason for women lagging behind men in regard to wage gap and opportunities for engagement is that women are sensitive to work-family conflicts and more inclined to make career sacrifices. Last week, for the first time in Australia, 130 business leaders converged on the Sydney Opera House to talk about how men manage fatherhood and work, and how employers can help support more men to take extended parental leave and share the care.
It remains the case that in the majority of Australian households, mothers take extended leave upon the arrival of a child, while fathers or partners adopt a ‘secondary’ caring role and take very short breaks from work. This perpetuates stereotypical gender norms where women are expected to do the caring and men are expected to do the earning, rather than the reality that women now play a significant role in the earning too. Shared parental leave policies help to break this cycle, foster a more equal division of unpaid care and paid work and improve family work-life balance. Importantly, it enables fathers to bond with their children while they are young, which can result in greater satisfaction in their relationships with their children.
Another commonly cited reason is that pathways to promotion and pay rises often involve competition, and it may be that women do not like to compete. Research conducted by Professor Alison Booth at Australian National University (ANU) and Dr Patrick Nolen from Essex University (February 2009) has suggested that teenage girls who attend girls’ schools are more competitive than girls who attend co-educational schools. The Choosing to Compete: How Different are Girls and Boys study compared the behaviour of 260 English boys and girls when asked to enter a competition that included a small financial reward, as well as their attitudes to risky economic decision-making. The study found that girls from single-sex schools and boys from both single-sex schools and co-educational schools were equally likely to behave competitively in the experiment. Girls from co-educational schools were much less likely to participate in the competition, but the likelihood of the girls participating increased after they were placed in single-sex groups. The research also suggested that student family background was not a significant factor.
As a girls’ school, our focus is on preparing girls for a lifetime of learning, leadership and engagement in our global community; enabling girls to lead lives of purpose with courage and character. We purposefully support girls to understand their identity and shape their self-concept, self-efficacy, and self-confidence; to develop the knowledge and skills required to reject and overcome gender stereotypes that attempt to define them.
‘Time in the classroom is spent learning. Girls’ schools are a place where girls take centre stage. And we think that is where they belong. Simply put, girls’ schools teach girls that there is enormous potential and power in being a girl. By subtracting boys an all girls’ education adds opportunities. As a girls’ school, a girl occupies every role; every part in the play and every position on every team. Not only does she have a wealth of avenues for self-exploration and development: she also has a wealth of peer role models.’
National Coalition of Girls’ Schools
|The Positive Power of Community|
At Ruyton we support transforming momentum into action
‘I call myself a feminist when people ask me if I am, and of course I am because it’s about equality, so I hope everyone is. You know you’re working in a patriarchal society when the word feminist has a weird connotation.’
Ellen Page, actor.
Inspired by the popular photo project of the same title that went viral in 2015, Strong Is the New Pretty by Kate T Parker is a photo-driven book comprised of memorable photos (with minimal text) of fierce and joyful girls. It is a celebration of what it means to be strong; the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves. It serves as a strong reminder that real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it, whether that be athletic, bookish, brainy, brave, loyal, or courageous. The photographs champion the message that girls are perfect in their imperfection; beautiful in their chaotic, authentic lives; and empowered by their strength instead of their looks. They are messy. They are loud. They are thoughtful. Wild. Full of life. Adventurous. Artsy. Silly. Funny. Strong. Stubborn. Proud. Independent. Resilient. Bold.
So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts. Strong Is the New Pretty conveys an important message for every girl, every mother and father of a girl, every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person.
‘I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story – I will.’
Amy Schumer, actor, comedian.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away, there has never been a more important time to continue the focus on equality.
This year, International Women’s Day came on the back of unprecedented global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements and issues ranging from sexual harassment and femicide, to equal pay and women’s political representation. There is currently a strong global momentum striving for gender parity. Our inspiration often comes from hearing the bold stories of others, because seeing is believing. When we see what others are truly capable of we start to contemplate our own boundaries, fears and dreams, and begin to take risks.
At Ruyton we actively support transforming momentum into action; empowering women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrating the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realise their full potential. To raise our girls to believe in themselves and to believe in and support each other; that is our aim.
‘When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through the door of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back.’
Michelle Obama, former First Lady.
Ms Linda Douglas
How Ruyton Girls’ School in Melbourne is connecting with Bay Primary School in South Africa
Nurturing Global Relationships
This year our Year 4 girls became only the second school of students in Australia to become involved in the international programme Level Up Village. The mission of Level Up Village is to globalise the classroom and facilitate seamless collaboration between students from around the world via pioneering Global STEAM (STEM + Arts) enrichment courses.
We became digital pen-pals with classes at Bay Primary School in South Africa, some 40 km outside of Cape Town. Our girls were paired or grouped with students from that school and while the STEM focus for both schools was the Global Water Crisis, our girls gained much more than the experience of building aquifers and water filters. Our Year 4s made videos to share with their buddies, undertook joint project tasks and learnt a great deal about the impending and looming fear in South Africa that is Day Zero, a predicted day postponed in 2018, where the taps in homes throughout Cape Town would not turn on due to a generational drought.
While our girls had to reflect on their family’s own current water use, they learnt a whole lot more. We set time each week to make video entries for our buddies in South Africa to read. While these revolved around the Global Water Crisis there were also times when joint questions were posed, such as ‘If you came to my country where would I take you?’ It was great relationship-building, with some of the South African children wanting to take our girls to wildlife parks and some of our girls wanting them to visit the MCG and Great Barrier Reef. Some students at Bay Primary in Kalk Bay don’t have internet or technology at home and sometimes their exposure to suitable technology occurs only once a week at school. Lessons in sympathy and empathy were highlights of our learning journey, as was working collaboratively with classmates and students half a world away and experiencing the foibles often associated with technology being managed and stored in different parts of the word.
Mr Tony Doyle, Teacher of STEM and Green Team Leader
‘You would have to use your water reasonably. You have to use the water to brush your teeth, flush the toilet, showers, washing dishes, clothes and to drink. My buddy in LUV has to take two-minute showers to save water. I am worried that my buddy who doesn’t live right in Cape Town will go through Day Zero.’ Grace A
Ruyton is consistent in its performance of academic excellence among the top schools in Victoria. In the last nine years Ruyton has maintained an average median score of 91.55 in its VCE results at Year 12. In 2016 54 percent of girls received ATAR scores of 90 and above. There were three perfect scores of 50. In 2015 46 per cent of girls received ATAR scores of 90 and above. ‘This is not only testament to the hard work and commitment of our girls,’ says Principal Ms Linda Douglas, ‘but also is an endorsement of the dedication and expertise of our teaching staff. With ongoing parent support, this powerful combination produces confident and resourceful young women who are ready to tackle any challenge.’
(as voted by site visitors)