From the first time you visit St Matthew’s the atmosphere is something truly special. The overarching lime trees that line the driveway, the beautiful grounds and chapel, the character of the surrounding buildings, and the centennial sculpture ‘Prelude’, all encapsulate St Matthew’s special character which has been created over the past 100 years to cater specifically to girls and their education.
At St Matthew’s we focus on the needs of the individual, encouraging each girl to reach her potential in all aspects of school life, and – “ad astra per aspera” – to reach for the stars.
Girls occupy every role within the school from head of the swim team to chapel prefect, from lead guitar in the school band to head prefect, from library assistant to leading role in the school production. These leaders are the role models that students aspire to become, and we believe it generates a culture of successful females in every aspect of life. St Matthew’s girls leave knowing that they can do anything they want to do.
International research consistently shows that girls have more academic success in a girls’ school. We believe that during the fundamental years of 7-11, girls benefit from a single sex school, enabling them to learn how to think, developing their personal awareness and thought processes in learning. Social distractions are not present, time and attention in the classroom is not diverted and there are no subjects which ‘are not for girls’.
As a St Matthew’s girl enters the last years of her college education, she moves onto senior college for years 12-13, for co-education with Rathkeale College students.
Through this system, co-educational academic and selected extra-curricular activities achieve outcomes that would not be possible in each individual school. The two schools liaise closely to ensure the needs of all students are met, with a designated dean looking after the specific interests of both boys and girls.
The girls start and end each school day at St Matthew’s, attending assembly and carrying out any duties, before catching the school bus for a 10 minute ride out to Rathkeale. A St Matthew’s girl is always a St Matthew’s girl, but combining in these later years allows us to provide students with academic opportunities and personal development that would not otherwise be available, whilst retaining the school’s special character. We believe a St Matthew’s girl is better equipped for the ‘real world’ with the ability to hold her own more confidently because of this.
As a girls’ boarding school, St Matthew’s provides a safe supportive environment for girls as they develop into young women. Negative body image and confidence are serious challenges for today’s young women and a reassuring and caring environment with healthy active role models for the girls can be very beneficial. Seeing older students regularly playing sport and eating healthily, watching female teachers coach and participate in sport and having female teachers, counsellors, matrons and prefects to discuss concerns with can help girls establish a healthy positive relationship with their body.