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.
- 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.