In 1996, Reverend John Leaver, in conjunction with four foundation schools, set out to form the Association of Ecumenical Schools of Victoria Inc, which later became the Victorian Ecumenical System of Schools Ltd (VESS).

Ecumenism promotes unity and cooperation between distinct denominations of Christianity to develop closer relationships and better understanding between them. Rev Leaver and the foundation schools were associated with a number of different Christian churches, and so the Association, then System, were formed as Ecumenical entities. The System and its members continue to respect the basic tenets of Christian belief, while all members hold their own unique faith positions that define their individual religious practices and traditions. Among the System’s members are schools with Anglican, Catholic, Uniting, Christian Science, Baptist and Non-Denominational Christian faith traditions.

Foundation Members

  • Highview Christian Community College, Maryborough
  • Christian Community College, Portland (now Bayview College) – left VESS in 2013
  • Newhaven College, Newhaven
  • Cranbourne Christian Community College, Cranbourne (now Casey Grammar School)

Since 1996, the following schools have become members of VESS:

1998Bacchus Marsh Grammar School, Bacchus Marsh

1999Braemar College, Woodend
 Ballarat Grammar, Wendouree
 Ballarat Clarendon College, Ballarat
 Goulburn Valley Grammar School, Shepparton
 Gippsland Grammar School, Sale and Bairnsdale

2000Westbourne Grammar School, Truganina and Newport
 The Hamilton & Alexandra College, Hamilton

2001Peninsula Grammar, Mount Eliza

2003The Geelong College, Newtown

2007Balcombe Grammar School, Mount Martha

2016Huntingtower School, Mount Waverley

2017St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School, Warragul and Traralgon

Currently there are 17 member schools educating over 16,000 local students, plus many kindergarten and international students.