The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has granted another exemption to a coeduational school to permit gender based discrimination to enable the school to achieve gender balance in its enrolments. 

The exemption granted by VCAT is to enable Caulfield Grammar School from time to time and for the purpose of achieving gender balance to:

  1. structure its waiting and enrolment lists to target prospective students of either gender;
  2. advertise for prospective male or female students in year levels where future waiting lists show a gender imbalance; and
  3. advertise and grant scholarships to male or female students. 

It was also noted that the School might be able to rely upon its reputation or other means to meet the goal of gender balance but at present the granting of an exemption was the only currently reasonable option to achieve that purpose.  The exemption has been granted for 5 years, until 27 February 2017, so that there is adequate time for gender balance to be achieved. 

VCAT noted that this was the first application by the School for an exemption.  In similar applications by other schools, VCAT has imposed a condition to the effect that the school must notify VCAT if, at every year level, the numbers of boys and girls in the school should reach equality.  However, this condition was not imposed on Caulfield Grammar since it was the first time an exemption had been granted and it needed time to allow it to operate. 

References:  Caulfield Grammar School (Human Rights) [2013] VCAT 178 (19 February 2013);  Exemption Application No. A225/2012, Victorian Government Gazette No. G9 Thursday  28 February 2013.