With an award-winning model of education at its core, Loreto Normanhurst’s 125-year legacy of excellence in girls’ education is well established. It is a legacy built from the vision of Loreto foundress Mary Ward, who 400 years ago was a dangerous innovator who shared the view that – “women in time to come will do much.”.
Today, Loreto Normanhurst embodies this vision through a profound commitment to remain at the forefront of innovation in girls’ education. It is the school’s holistic focus on student growth and outcomes beyond the classroom that has cemented its position as one of Sydney’s leading independent, Catholic girls’ schools.
A passionate advocate for the opportunities afforded by girls’ education, Loreto Normanhurst Principal, Marina Ugonotti, sheds light on the common misconceptions about girls’ education and how girls’ schools shape the next generation of female leaders.
1- We are NOT princess factories
Ugonotti counters the frequented stereotype that girls’ schools are merely princess factories, with an insight into the recognition and celebration of cultural diversity and student backgrounds within a combined day and boarding girl’s school environment.
“At Loreto Normanhurst, we do not attempt to create cookie-cutter versions of other girls. Instead, we recognise, acknowledge, and celebrate the diversity that is drawn together through the sharing of each girl’s unique gifts and values. This is what makes us interesting as individuals and brings us together as a community,” Ugonotti said.
It is this focus on fostering the positive development of girls who are unapologetically themselves that allows Loreto Normanhurst to instil the values of self-confidence and self-assurance to prepare well-rounded graduates who are ready to do great things in the world.
Ugonotti continues, “we also focus on the wellbeing of students from a girl’s perspective. This ensures our academic and pastoral care programs are tailored and delivered in a way that supports the growth of girls in and outside of the classroom.”
2 - We provide the tools and confidence for girls to take a seat at the table, even if it is not offered
Building on the attributes nurtured within the girl’s school environment, Ms Ugonotti acknowledges the impact this has, not only as students progress through their education but also, as they enter the post-school setting.
“Our girls develop a strength of gentle feminism, self-confidence, and active participation in the community. This allows them to bring perspectives of their diverse background into the discourse of the world around them and confidently take their seat at the table, even if it is not offered,” Ugonotti said.
With a proven, award-winning approach to learning, the Loreto Normanhurst Student Growth Model (LNSGM) emphasises collaboration, critical thinking, adaptability, and independence to nurture students who are agile and resilient thinkers, equipped to succeed as they enter the workforce.
Ugonotti continues, “at Loreto Normanhurst we focus on the holistic growth of the whole person, encouraging each student to fulfil her academic and personal potential in an atmosphere of freedom, care and respect for the individual.
It is this atmosphere which creates a safe space for our girls to take risks in their learning and to grow as individuals and as members of a community. It is what thereby empowers and motivates our students to use their individual gifts with confidence, creativity and generosity in loving and responsible service.
We gently guide them as they grapple with change and challenge to find opportunities for growth, all within the safety of a single-sex environment.”
3 - We offer an opportunity for girls to participate in every role and leadership position
“Girls’ schools help to shape identity, self-worth, and confidence in adolescent years to encourage girls to pursue roles of leadership. In a single-sex environment, girls are not required to split leadership positions 50/50 with their male peers, providing greater access to leadership opportunities during this critical developmental phase,” Ugonotti said.
Loreto Normanhurst, like many girls’ schools, benefits from the leadership of a highly capable, intelligent, and passionate woman. It is this daily modelling of women in leadership positions that normalises this to a point where it is barely noticed by students, and without even realising, girls are set on the pathway to pursue every leadership opportunity.
Ugonotti continues, “I am immensely proud of the opportunity afforded as principal of Loreto Normanhurst to model just one of many leadership roles young girls can aspire to achieve.”
Ugonotti became Principal of Loreto Normanhurst in 2019, having been an integral part of the school’s leadership team since she first joined the Loreto Normanhurst community in 2015 in the role of Deputy Principal. Her passion for girls’ education extends far beyond her time at Loreto Normanhurst, with a substantial career as a teacher and school leader at three Catholic independent schools for girls.
Since 2019, she has provided mentorship and guidance to the Loreto Normanhurst community, building on the school’s proven, award-winning approach to learning, robust pastoral care program and diverse boarding community in reflection of the school’s profound commitment to empower girls that are unapologetically themselves.
This article originally appeared as a media release from Loreto Normanhurst.