Pro Deo et Patria
(for God and Country)
St Peter’s College is an Anglican School centred upon truth and service.
Look with favour, we pray thee,
O Father Almighty,
upon this our School and grant that its foundations
may ever stand firm in truth and righteousness,
that beauty, order and reverence
may be the message of its walls and fields;
and that so long as one stone remains upon another
it may stand for all things that are strong and lovely
and of good report, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Following the founding of the school in 1847, St Peter’s College was incorporated in 1849 with the purpose of teaching the Holy Scriptures and the principles of Christian religion in the context of the Anglican Church. The Headmaster was charged by the Council of Governors with the responsibility of actioning this mission through the development of a sound and liberal education, ensuring that students from non-Anglican families could also access and take full advantage of the educational program being provided.
Philosophy and Aims
We believe that diversity contributes powerfully and directly to the quality of a boy’s education. We are committed to being a boys’ school that promotes responsible relationships and positive attitudes towards girls and women. We are uncompromising in being a safe and inclusive learning community respectful of diverse backgrounds of race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and nationality. In the spirit of the foundation of South Australia, St Peter’s College is open to boys of all Christian denominations, from all faiths, and from none. We are enriched and strengthened by this diversity.
Love and kindness, integrity and respect, forgiveness and acceptance, are just some of the Christian qualities which we hope to instill in our students.
As a Christian School and as part of the Anglican Church of Australia, St Peter’s College takes seriously its commitment to form young men in the Christian faith. The Christian faith is at the centre of the School’s focus on enriching the minds, bodies and spirits of its students. Influencing every part of the life of the School, the Christian faith is actively taught and practised. It is also under the umbrella of Christianity that the School is so concerned about the wellbeing of its students. Forgiveness is at the heart of our concern for student wellbeing; “forgiveness says that you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In the Act of Incorporation it is also stated that “prayers shall be said every morning before school work begins… and the business of the School shall always be concluded by a form of prayer.”
The aims of the School are to:
- Unlock the strengths of each individual.
- Seek the highest possible academic standards.
- Develop a disciplined, well ordered and carefully guided life through which shared community activities foster initiative, independence, humility and integrity.
- Promote the development of judgement, discernment and awareness of heritage.
- Equip young men to take their place in the community of the world.
- Adopt healthy attitudes toward competition and exploration of the physical world.
- Encourage interest and participation in a wide variety of activities and community service beyond the School.
Framework of an Anglican Education
At the foundation of the School it was intended that it adhere to the principles of the “advancement of Christian Knowledge and useful learning.” Implicit in this statement by Bishop Augustus Short, enunciated in the Ceremony of the Laying of the Foundation Stone of Old School House (24 May 1849), was the intention that the students of St Peter’s College would be given a sound and liberal education of the highest standard. Education is valued both for its intrinsic value in forming the minds of the students in our care, as well as preparing them for a life of uncompromising commitment to public service. We aspire for every boy to live with meaning and purpose in all corners of the globe.
A sound, liberal education is one which values education for its own sake. Students at St Peter’s College are challenged to think and learn in an ever-changing world, whilst striving for the highest possible academic standards.
The history of Anglicanism provides a rich source to begin this journey of learning excellence. As Anglicans, the person and work of Jesus is at the heart of everything we do. Everything is shaped in the context of Jesus Christ. As an Anglican School, we recognise the balance that Scripture, tradition and reason brings to every boy’s wellbeing. Believing that God’s presence is experienced within creation and brought to life in the Scriptures, the School invites each boy to become aware of God’s presence in their lives, encourages them to explore their spirituality and think about their faith. More than anything, students at St Peter’s College are encouraged to think and to be challenged to express what they believe.
This balance of Scripture, tradition and reason allows Anglicans to:
- Be open to new interpretations of Holy Scripture.
- Be open to the insights of science, mathematics, psychology, literature and language, philosophy, the arts and music.
- Appreciate the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
- Participate as members of a local and global community.
- Struggle for justice and to make the world a better place.
An Anglican Education is therefore one which is:
- Christ centred.
- Open and progressive.
- Built upon a foundation of service.
When our students leave St Peter’s College they will inevitably encounter people from all backgrounds, holding a range of religious and other beliefs, often passionately. The Christian, sound and liberal education, shaped by the best traditions of Anglicanism, will hold them in good stead.
Religious Discrimination Debate
The Headmaster shared the following communication with the School community on 23 March 2022 regarding the Religious Discrimination Debate
I write in light of the recent political debate surrounding the religious discrimination bill proposed by the Federal Government and the community controversy surrounding a Christian School in Queensland; in February the School demanded families accept an enrolment policy, and more recently teachers sign employment contracts, related to a specific definition of faith. Although these issues may seem distant from our School, as a Christian community in the Anglican tradition, it is essential St Peter’s College responds to these matters. St Peter’s College does not share these views. The St Peter’s College strategic plan clearly outlines our inclusiveness, embedded in our Anglican Framework.
When the School adopted the motto, Pro Deo et Patria (for God and Country) in circa 1880, this succinct latin phrase would have been clearly understood by all members of the community. Given the pluralist society that Australia has become and the more varied heritage that our citizens now hold, it is now more important that St Peter’s College makes a concerted effort to articulate its Anglican Framework, and, explain how it is well suited to meet the challenges of modern society:
- Because we are Anglican, we are inclusive; St Peter’s College invites people of other faiths, or none, to join our community.
- Because we are Anglican, we pursue truth that we might live lives of integrity.
- Because we are Anglican, we have permission to disagree; we need to teach our students how to hold conflicting views in tension.
- Because we are Anglican, we have permission to question the worldview; great schools should be a place where we reflect upon society and not merely be a reflection of society.
- Because we are Anglican, we value every individual which is why our pastoral care and wellbeing programs are hugely important.
From its very beginning, this School has looked beyond its own walls and fields. The School and the education of our students does not exist for selfish purposes, but for a higher purpose: to serve God and to serve our country. We serve God by living according to the values modelled and taught by Jesus and, in this context, his radical inclusiveness in particular. Please click here to read my response to the religious discrimination debate.
Our Strategic Pillars
- Develop research based pedagogy in an academic environment that maintains the highest possible standards and inspires excellence.
- Develop a global mindset.
- Enable students and staff to maximise growth.
- Promote a learning community where students and staff contribute to the learning of their peers.
Student Life and Wellbeing
- Enhance the Outdoor Education program in building resilience and character.
- Refine student co-curricular pathways to foster passion and personal growth.
- Strengthen our Boarding program and build the diversity of our student body.
- Support growth in wellbeing and character through the ongoing development of high quality programs.
Spirituality and Service
- Raise understanding of our Anglican heritage, teach the Christian Faith and commend a life of Christian discipleship while respecting the religious diversity of our community.
- Provide authentic and relational service learning programs that promote personal growth and benefit the wider community.
- Grow the professional capability of all staff.
- Foster a whole School culture.
- Celebrate diversity.
- Promote a safe, healthy and supportive School environment.
- Ensure our relationships in the wider community are built on openness, trust and mutual benefit.
- Strengthen relations with our stakeholders.
- Enhance our indigenous and international education programs.
- Foster and grow a culture of giving to support access, diversity and future priorities.
- Maintain the School’s Master Plan and Capital Management Plan to ensure the facilities address the future needs of the School community.
- Maximise the efficiency of the School to build financial strength, ensure affordability and deliver the Strategic Plan.
- In light of scientific and social best practice, lead and invest in environmental management.