Dilworth School announces vision for a girls' school as its founder is inducted into NZ Business Hall of Fame
For 112 years, Dilworth School has filled its roll with boys from good families experiencing hardship. As the school looks to reimagine its future, a redevelopment of the Senior Campus and new school for girls is being scoped out.
The plans come as founder James Dilworth was inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame. Dilworth, a pioneering Auckland farmer and business leader, died in 1894 but donated his estate so a school could be created in his name.
Uniquely, no Dilworth students pay school or boarding fees, they are entirely supported through a scholarship provided by the Dilworth Trust Board.
James Dilworth’s mission was to support and educate as many sons of “persons of good character of any race and in straitened circumstances” as possible so they can reach their full potential and become “good and useful members of society”. The original mission remains true to this day.
Dilworth School Principal Donald MacLean says: “Because of the vision and generosity of James and Isabella Dilworth, the school has been able to provide an education to more than 5,000 boys. The result of this remarkable legacy is something we see every day in the fine young men who fill our classrooms and walk our halls. Our students are making the most of the opportunities they’ve been given both here and beyond our gates, something I’m sure James and Isabella Dilworth would be proud to see.”
Coinciding with James Dilworth’s recognition, the Trust Board has revealed its future vision – which includes reimagining learning at the flagship Senior Campus in Epsom and potentially opening a school for girls.
Dilworth Trust Board Chairman Aaron Snodgrass says: “We want to make sure our Senior Campus evolves into a fully immersive learning environment for the 21st century where boys are surrounded by opportunities to learn and prepare for life in this challenging, fast changing, technological age.”
This redevelopment of the Senior Campus could include the creation of high-tech learning centres, developing partnerships with businesses that give boys the opportunity to gain real world experiences, expansion of boarding house facilities as well as building technology workshops and innovation laboratories where boys can bring their creative ideas to life.
“Opening a school for girls would be an exciting evolution for Dilworth as it would clearly address an unmet need, but it will take some time to fully plan and secure funding,” says Mr Snodgrass.
Dilworth currently operates three campuses – the Junior Campus in Remuera, the Rural Campus for Year 9 boys in Mangatawhiri, near Pokeno, as well as the Senior Campus in Epsom.
The school’s operating costs and capital works are funded from the returns generated by the Dilworth endowment and from a Government contribution of around 5% of operational costs. The Dilworth Trust is one of the largest education charities in New Zealand.
“We are fully committed to financially supporting our current student levels. To effectively achieve our vision, we are looking to partner with donors who share our vision and establish a legacy like Dilworth did 130 years ago,” says Mr Snodgrass.
Statistics show the Dilworth model works. In 2017, 99% of Dilworth boys achieved NCEA Level 3 compared with an average of 66% of students from throughout the country. Additionally in 2017, 100% of all Māori and Pasifika students achieved NCEA Level 3 compared to a national average of 57% for Māori and 70% for Pasifika students. Dilworth also has a high retention rate, with 95% of students staying at school until they are at least 17 years old in 2016 compared with a national average of 81%.