After more than 100 years of being unashamedly a highly exclusive private school for boys, Hereworth has crunched the numbers and decided it needs to think outside its very square box to ensure its future survival.
In a bold move, and one that will surely ruffle a few feathers in the Old Boy community, Hereworth has applied to the Ministry of Education to not only welcome girls into its fold but to also become a State integrated school.
With a falling roll and fees that have become prohibitive for many, Hereworth Trust board chair Jonathan Hensman says in order to be sustainable into the future, the school needed to address how it could appeal to a broader base.
“The past few years have been very challenging. Our roll, which we would like to be higher, has been steady at around 200, and our financial situation is becoming increasingly tight with rising costs,” says Jonathan. “Continuing with the status quo and doing nothing is not an option. Previous boards have looked at alternatives over a number of years, and the current board believes becoming a state integrated school for boys and girls is the best option to ensure Hereworth’s longevity.
“Demographic analysis indicates increased future demand for primary and intermediate school places in Havelock North, which allows Hereworth to add value to the Havelock North and Hastings communities.”
Jonathan is hopeful that becoming an integrated co-ed school will also “broaden its diversity”. “We need to work had to achieve that and we are hoping to become more accessible to a much wider range of people, which is exciting.”
Hereworth has traded on its “Designed for Boys” by-line for the past 100 years. How that will now morph into “Designed for Boys and Girls” is a work in progress.
“The boutiqueness of Hereworth has served us well,” says Jonathan. “Now is a chance to share it with a broader base. Yes, there is a degree of sadness in making this change but we will ensure the special character of the school is retained. We think we’ve got a much larger contribution to make and very much want to be part of the solution to our region’s growing community.”
Engagement with the community has begun and if the Ministry’s decision is favourable, Hereworth could be integrated as soon as early 2022, and rolling out the red and green carpet to girls as soon as 2023.