Martyn Smith, writing about Wesley College

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(This is a fully referenced paper, of which the article below is a very abridged version.  Hypertext below directly links to evidence contained in the larger paper, which was written in 1993.)
THE IMPORTANCE OF ALL
(March, 1996, for the 'Glen Waverley Campus Newsletter')

Whilst fee levels and Wesley's rare inability to provide a suitable educational program narrow the field of entry to the school, Wesley's 'open entry' enrolment policy stems from the very genesis of its existence. 

It is not a latter-day strategy to keep enrolments up!

The seed of today's policy was embedded in the Wesleyan Revival of the eighteenth century. 

Fortuitously, the only hymn of Charles Wesley (whose brother John gives his name to our school) remaining in our students' 1996 Record Book contains the crucial line:  "Let us all Thy grace receive;"  --  Hymn 13.  The fervent proclamation of the Wesleys and their 'Methodists' was that God's saving grace was available for all, unreservedly.

Consequently, the mission of the Wesleys was energetic, external, and passionate.  John's travel, preaching and writing are legendary!  Charles' multitudinous hymns carried the faith to a non-reading populace in rhythm, rhyme and melody.

Education was a key factor.  Inspired by a huge German school for the poor he visited in 1738, John Wesley developed a cluster of schools at Kingswood, England, which eventually led to schools for people of all conditions. 

Ultimately, and additionally, a huge network of Wesleyan Sunday Schools saw thousands of British youngsters drawn off the streets for a once a week dose of rudimentary readin', writin', 'rithmetic and religion! 

Nineteenth century Port Phillip Wesleyan Methodists were just as keen and, in addition to an abundance of elementary day and Sunday Schools, they opened Wesley College in 1866. 

The College's curriculum and public statements of the time clearly show it's founders' and subscribers' intention to make their education service as accessible as possible to the future adults of the young, gold-besotted Colony of Victoria. 

Wesley's twentieth century history can be written in similar terms.  Certainly, it behoves us, who will see modern Wesley College enter the twenty-first century, to continue to manifest this essential characteristic of our chosen school, open entry, in all our thinking, planning and actions.

Related links
‘Open Entry’ in its Historical Context  --  Our Social Mission
What it means to be a Christian School
The Values, Philosophy and Ideology of the Culture of Wesley College
John Wesley : Doing All The Good He Could
Wesley's Heritage
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