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The Melos Education Ltd

A Vision for the Future: The Melos Group

In recent years plans were developed that led to the formation of a group of schools that will foster a partnership strengthening individual schools and other educational institutions and enhance the cause of Christian education in Australia and possibly beyond.

This initiative came from Green Point Christian College (a ministry of Green Point Baptist Church) on the Central Coast of NSW. The initiative is based on an approach that would see schools relieved of the burden of governance, and where there is a Church involved, allow a focus on ministry partnership between Church and School. Single board governance of the Group would see schools and Churches able to focus again on their central purpose as schools and on ministry with the schools by their founding Church.

Background Context 

Over the past decade or so a new concept has been emerging in the Australian Christian school sector. Traditionally Schools have been independent and while they may have had a second campus or a pre-school, very few groups of schools or systems existed. A new model is emerging of schools banding together to come under a common governance structure and to share expertise in business operations and school leadership.

In today’s rapidly changing world, Christian schools face growing numbers of challenges:

  • A changing political climate and growing societal antagonism toward Christian schooling
  • Increasing compliance and legislative demands creating a significant burden on administration and the expertise of staff
    The demands and responsibility of governance making it harder to get willing and appropriately capable people from school company memberships
  • Churches which birthed small schools now often have responsibility for large schools that consume pastor’s and Church member’s time and energy and can drain expertise and volunteers from other Church ministries
  • Some schools face declining enrolments and financial challenges that result in stress on school leaders and board members who often feel inadequate to cope
  • Relational conflicts between board and principal can compromise a Church leader’s role as pastor to all involved
  • School boards can face employment disputes with their principal which tax board members time and competence and lead to harm to the school
  • Increased parental and societal expectations on schools mean they must be constantly evolving and moving forwards. This can be a drain on a school leader’s energy and focus and boards may be ill-quipped to assist them.
  • The experience of many Church established schools is that governance issues take priority over ministry opportunities, diluting the opportunity for Church and school to work together in gospel ministry.

New Models

It is in light of these challenges and the growing opportunities that are arising as people look for the values and safety of Christian schools for their children, that has led to a consideration of new models. Joining together with others is one way of strengthening individual schools. This can provide access to greater expertise, reducing governance demands and utilising wider experience which will help give long term stability and security. As the current paradigm of schooling changes, a group is better placed to experiment with new paradigms of schooling without endangering an individual school’s very existence.

Benefits of a Group Approach

We see the following benefits arising from a group approach.

  1. Strong and strategic governance helps secure an institution’s future. By establishing a structure that allows for the recruiting of experienced, skilled and visionary people, we help to assure the on-going vision and strength of each member institution.
  2. The body image in Scripture is about the value of each part of the body contributing to the health of the whole. A group of educational institutions adds strength to each member, allows for the support of smaller members and gives opportunity for all to share expertise while allowing for economies of scale to assist financially.
  3. Churches often find their human resources diluted by demands of school governance on key members. By relieving Churches of this function, a greater focus can go into the ministry opportunities a Christian school brings. Non-Church established schools can struggle to find people willing to even be directors.
  4. In an era of increasing compliance and accountability demands, a group can utilise common policies and practices to meet such demands without diluting the time and resources of personnel in each school. This allows the focus to be kept on education rather than compliance.
  5. Independent schools can and do work together, often through their respective Associations but operating under a common governance and leadership structure, gives an impetus to cooperation and a mutual strengthening of quality in each member.

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