‣ Disclaimer
This article contains information that is for general information only and should not be used for the basis of making any decisions regarding education or anything else. It is solely the writer’s opinion of the writer’s experience of one open day at the school and the writer’s interactions with the people present on that day. The writer’s article is purely subjective. Facts and information may or may not be complete, accurate, reliable or valid reflection of the school in question.

I encourage you to personally tour the school and meet the educators and students, form your own opinion and leave a comment here.

Best of luck with your search for the perfect school!

Lauriston Girls’ School Tour Overview

Arrive, have refreshments, and be serenaded by music students before the start of the presentation.

Presentation with supporting slides by principal, Susan Just, Vice & Deputy Principal (Leadership Team: https://www.lauriston.vic.edu.au/leadership-governance/ ). Also included in the panel were and two students (one from the Junior school and one from the Senior school)

Tour attendees were broken into groups depending on which year level they were interested in learning more about (in our case it was the Senior School, year 7 entry)

Campus Tour was conducted in small groups by two students

There was an opportunity to meet with staff at the end of the tour to ask additional questions

Lead up to the Tour at Lauriston Girls School

Before the tour at Lauriston Girls School, I booked  through their easy-to-use online booking system. They sent me two reminder emails—one a week before and another the day before. The emails were informative and professional, covering important topics such as what to expect, accessibility options, parking and transport details, and contact information for any questions. It was all straightforward and helpful.

Day of Tour at Lauriston Girls School

The tour started at 9:30 am, we arrived 30 minutes early to find parking, which turned out to be a bit tricky. Luckily, we managed to secure one of the limited 2-hour parking spots along Huntingtower Road. The school also offered some ‘limited’ outdoor and ground-level car parking.

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When we got to the main entrance, two lovely school girls greeted us and directed us to the auditorium. Inside, two staff members warmly welcomed us and handed out branded show bags. My daughter received a cute Howqua Owl in its own tin, which was a nice touch.

We headed upstairs and found a mini cafe with ‘Barista Coffee,’ bottled juice, and water. The auditorium had some students performing (piano and saxophone), but I didn’t catch all of it while waiting for my much-needed coffee #coffeeislife.

Around 200 people registered for the tour, and we all fit into the auditorium space with ease. 

The principal, Susan Just, welcomed us and acknowledged that the first part of the tour might be a bit lengthy, especially for those with little kids. But they were prepared and offered the little ones a designated area with toys to keep them entertained, which was a cute idea.


view full pictures here

The presentation started on time with a highlight reel of Lauriston (which you can view on their website https://youtu.be/d_5JhSVwxAA), and we were introduced to the Vice Principal, Deputy Principal, and students from both the Junior and Senior schools.

Key points from Lauriston Girls School presentations

  • “Lauriston is a ‘School for life’ (this phrase was mentioned many times) and that’s what we are preparing students for”.
  • The school is 120 years old and was established by Margaret and Lilian Irving who according to Lauriston’s website “were committed to providing an education that would empower young women through academic excellence, sporting involvement and a focus on the importance of living purposeful and fulfilling lives. To read more about Lauriston’s Principals you can click here: https://www.lauriston.vic.edu.au/lauriston-principals-and-their-legacy/
  • They have a strong focus on encouraging students to be ‘International Minded’ to understand cultural differences and build a strategic mindset. More about this focus can be read here: https://www.lauriston.vic.edu.au/thought-leadership/developing-international-mindedness/
  • While they are very proud of their Median ATAR score of 94.9 (2022), their main goal is to support and guide students into helping them get into the courses they want to get into. Susan Just did mention that the majority of girls do go onto university courses at Melbourne or Monash. Dive into their 2022 VCE and IB stats here: https://www.lauriston.vic.edu.au/our-results/
  • Languages: Latin, Chinese and French
  • Many electives are available but the few that got my attention were: ‘Money Management’ ‘E School Shark Tank’ and the newly to be introduced Phyton Coding (from memory these were for year 10 students). Overall I felt like there is no shortage of elective opportunities. 
  • Sports: They are part of GSV (Girls Sport Victoria) and offer 20-odd different sports! From rowing, diving, skiing and a point was made that they do not do sports on Saturdays, in Susan Just’s words “this is a time for the girls to spend with their family, friends or on homework.” 
  • Sports participation is compulsory for years 7-8.
  • If you have a high-performance athlete (for example one who is training to be on an Australian team) they will make special accommodations. 
  • Maths / Homework assistance is offered to all students each Monday for two hours after school and from memory also during lunch on certain days. 
  • They have a strong focus right from ELC to encourage their students to learn about the different types of work people do. They are cognisant of the fact that some roles that girls may end up in have not even been created yet. I did get a sense that they have a very future-focused approach. 
  • In year 10 they run a career readiness program where Lauriston alumnae talk to students about their post-school work life. 
  • Year 11-12 a career expo is held on the premise and they are also introducing a work shadowing program (2-3 days) which will see Lauriston alumnae paired with students at their workplace. This program will require students to interview and other requirements (mimicking what girls would have to do in a real-world situation)

Facilities and buildings at Lauriston Girls School

We were led around the school by two very confident girls who were fun, entertaining and informative. They engaged well with my daughter and overall had a warm positive energy about them. Over 30 minutes they showed us the following spaces:

Newly built sports complex (Ullmer Sports & Wellbeing Centre) which comprised two competition-sized multi-purpose courts for basketball, netball, volleyball badminton or other such as pickleball. An indoor pool, 1m diving board, strength & weights area, ergo room, and multi-purpose room where they do yoga, dance and even self-defence classes.

Year 7-8s have their own dedicated building. There are four classes at each year level, and according to our guides, there are approx 110 students at each year level. 

Classrooms: We looked into one and noted that there was an interactive screen which our tour guides said that most classrooms have them.


view full pictures here

The Art Wing of the school is well-lit and spacious, with student artwork nicely displayed in the halls. The school also has a dedicated media room that provides students with all the necessary equipment to produce and edit content.

The science building and library have ample labs and resources. The library is well-stocked and well-lit, providing a conducive environment for learning.

Regarding outdoor spaces, we found the school campus to be well-balanced. It has ample green space, comparable to a soccer pitch, and provides plenty of seating areas for students to gather and socialise.


view full pictures here

We learned that there are future plans to increase the school’s active space. Once the temporary portables used for the Junior school are moved, tennis and netball courts will be added.

Howqua (Year 9) at Lauriston Girls School

Howqua (Year 9) is a program that deserves its own section due to its distinct nature. It is compulsory for Year 9 students, who spend a significant portion of their academic year at Howqua. Located just under 3 hours away from Melbourne, Howqua provides a diverse and enriching experience. For more information about Howqua, including the option to download a prospectus and book a tour, visit this website: https://www.lauriston.vic.edu.au/howqua/

Here are some key aspects and answers to frequently asked questions about the program:

  • Year 9 girls do not go away from their families for the entire 12 months. Instead, they go away for 5 weeks, return home for a few days, and repeat this cycle until the school year is completed.
  • Academic learning takes place from Thursday to Monday, allowing students to focus on their studies.
  • Outdoor programs, ranging from hiking to community service, mountain biking, and skiing, are conducted on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, offering a diverse range of activities.
  • Homework is assigned for 90 minutes each night, ensuring students have ample time to review and practice what they have learned.
  • Physical fitness is fostered through a running session twice a week, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • Communication with family back home is maintained through letter-writing

The extremely articulate senior student at the start of the tour provided us with the following recount of her Howqua experience.  

  • Despite her initial apprehension, as she considered herself more introverted and not inclined towards sports or outdoor activities, she embraced Howqua as a challenge. Along her journey, she discovered several important lessons:
    • She developed an appreciation for the support network she had around her.
    • The enforced disconnection from technology, including laptops and mobile phones, provided a welcomed break and allowed her to forge personal connections. It also taught her how to problem-solve in person, rather than rely solely on texting.
    • She learned how to work collaboratively, recognizing the value of teamwork and shared efforts.
    • She realised that it is okay not to be the best or the front-runner. By giving her best and embracing new experiences, regardless of the outcome or the time it took, she found fulfilment and personal success
    • Howqua instilled in her the belief that she can overcome future challenges, such as anything that exam time may throw at her, while also knowing when and how to seek support.

During our tour, our guides also expressed immense appreciation for the Howqua experience. They fondly mentioned feeling a sense of sadness once it ended and expressed a genuine desire to go back to experience it all again. 

This year, Howqua celebrates its 30th anniversary, and one of the tour staff members revealed that a grand celebration is planned, with approximately 500 – 600 people expected to attend later in the year. 

Vibe at Lauriston Girls School

The overall atmosphere at the school was positive and filled with pride. While observing the girls during recess, it was clear to see that they were genuinely happy and engaged in playful activities. One noteworthy observation was the absence of mobile phones in their hands. I learned from our tour guides that mobile phones are not allowed for years 7-10 throughout the school day, which was music to my ears.

The school buildings and spaces were well-maintained, creating a pleasant and inviting environment. Additionally, I must mention once again, our tour guides were absolutely exceptional. They not only showcased the positive aspects of the school but also served as great ambassadors for it.

Student comments

I inquired about the benefits of attending an all-girls school, and here is what I gathered from our conversation:

  • One of the girls couldn’t comment on the difference between attending a co-ed school since she has only been in an all-girls school.
  • On the other hand, the other girl enjoyed the all-girls environment because she felt there was no judgment and everyone accepted each other. She mentioned that there was no pressure to worry about what boys think or behave in a certain way.
  • It’s worth noting that both girls mentioned they have plenty of opportunities to socialise with boys outside of school and during holidays.
  • They also shared that their all-girls school collaborates with Scotch College for activities like school plays and engaging in fun netball games and social events.

Accessibility and diversity at Lauriston Girls School

While on the tour, I didn’t come across much discussion about accessibility and diversity in the formal part. I must admit that I didn’t have the chance to inquire about it from my guides due to time constraints. However, I later found that these topics are covered more extensively on their website, available at: https://www.lauriston.vic.edu.au/thought-leadership/achieving-authentic-diversity/.

One notable feature of their website is the inclusion of an Accessibility Tool, which is not commonly seen on school websites. Additionally, I came across information in the tour emails stating that Lauriston is equipped with ramps and elevators, ensuring a campus that is accessible to people with limited mobility. These efforts demonstrate Lauriston’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and embracing diversity within their community.

Overall impression of Lauriston Girls School 

My Husband, Daughter and I were thoroughly impressed with the school. From the moment we stepped foot on the campus, it felt like a place where young girls could thrive. The Big selling point would have to be their Howqua program, it really sounds like a life-changing experience for those who are fortunate enough to attend. In addition, the facilities are top-notch, leaving us hard-pressed to find any faults.

Quote from my Husband:

“The two girls that took us on the tour were an absolute credit to the school and themselves and if that’s the kind of young women that the school are producing at only year 10 then it speaks volumes about the quality of education and character development happening at this school. These exceptional young women showcased their knowledge, enthusiasm, and leadership skills throughout the tour, leaving a lasting impression on us. Not only did they represent the school impeccably, but they also exemplified admirable qualities that will undoubtedly contribute to their future success. It’s truly inspiring to see the potential of these students in year 10 and the bright futures that await them.”

Quote from my Daughter

“I want to go to Lauriston because the facilities are great, the students are nice, the uniform is cool, and I really like the location!”

Closing thoughts….

Reflecting on my visit to Lauriston, I maintain a positive impression. The school’s size, sports facilities, and transformative Howqua program left a strong impression. The involvement of senior students and school principals during the tour was a nice touch. While fees are high, they seem justified by the school’s investments in facilities and programs, yielding impressive academic results. I look forward to discussions comparing Lauriston with other girls’ schools in the area to gain further insights. Overall, Lauriston offers commendable and well-rounded educational and life experiences.

Do you have any experience, questions or comments about this school? Let our community know and add a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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