There are almost 200 years between the oldest and youngest Anglican schools in Sydney, and Leppington Anglican College is wasting no time catching up. It opened this year in Sydney’s southwest with a foundational cohort of 190 students and is on track to have close to 350 students next year.

More families are choosing values-based education – over the past decade, private school enrolments across Australia have grown by more than 25 per cent. Established in a rapidly developing part of southwest Sydney where demand for holistic education is rising, Leppington Anglican College (LAC) has the unique opportunity to set itself apart by establishing a gospel-focused culture in the school from the start.

“From the outset, we have had a very strong school vision and mission that are Christ-centred,” says the principal of LAC, Michael Newton. “Our motto is ‘Life to the fullest’, which comes from John 10:10. As a Christian school, we believe you can only find life to the fullest in Christ. 

“From an educational perspective, all learning and understanding comes from God and points us towards him. That’s the lens through which we teach and gives everything we do at school a Christ-centred focus.”

Having a clear vision and mission for the school is in harmony with what happens each day in the classroom. Mr Newton believes the way teachers teach plays a key role in upholding the gospel. 

“Excellence in education goes hand in hand with how we respond as Christians to God,” he says. “We strive to be the best teachers we can be, in response to what God has done for us. We have to do the best we can in everything we do, whether that’s caring for the child or preparing lessons. Everything we do supports the gospel.”

With this attitude, Mr Newton’s focus is for Leppington Anglican College to commend and cultivate the Christian faith through the way staff love children and their families, and through formal faith elements such as chapel services, prayer and devotions and Christian Studies. 


Christian education cares about character

The school prides itself on encouraging Christ-shaped values of courage, humility, resourcefulness, inquiry, self discipline and teamwork in all students. These were chosen as they are a broad set of attributes important for human flourishing that are also clearly displayed in the life of Christ. 

“We want to raise people to be courageous in learning and in moral character,” Mr Newton says. “We want our young people to recognise injustice and not just walk past, but call it out. When it comes to developing leadership skills, we want to see students have courage and humility. Humility in learning is coming into class with a sense of wonder about God’s world. There is always more to learn!”

The Christian lens shapes the way learning is organised at LAC to support this character development in every student.

“All learning comes from God and points us to him ultimately,” Mr Newton says. “If we’re learning maths, we’re learning about the patterns God has put in the world. If we take history, for example, we learn about the best and the worst of humanity and it points us toward the need for a saviour. If we look at music and art, creativity and beauty come from God and teach us about his character."

"No subject is in isolation from the creator of the universe.”

A Christian culture blesses the school community

For Mr Newton, having the right culture in the school is his priority as principal. “Culture isn’t about programs and structures, but about relationships and doing them well – between staff, students, families and the way we manage student behaviour, the way we manage conflict and encourage the unique gifts of every individual.” 

When the culture is focused on Christ, an inherent sense of joy fills the school. “Our students have a great sense of joy, and our culture is a happy and positive culture, stemming from the notion that we find life to the fullest in Christ,” he says. “We have fun, we love to laugh, and we hope students experience all that the Christian life has to offer in good times and in bad. We have families going through hard times who are well supported by Christian teachers. We see families drawn to the local church by their kids.”

One of the college’s marketing lines is “Find your place”, which is important to Mr Newton because he didn’t have that experience at school, particularly given his passion for the arts. 

“Beyond that, we want students to find their unique gifts and place in God’s world, and understand who they are in light of what God has done for them. This creates a real sense of belonging.” 


  • for more Christian teachers – for LAC and the wider profession 
  • that LAC can grow and develop fast enough to keep up with the community
  • for an unwavering focus on the vision and mission of the school
  • for Mr Newton as he cares for his staff and students
  • for principals everywhere as the job becomes increasingly demanding