As early as 1954, a Christian School Association was formed in Wollongong by members of the Dutch Reformed Church and a Christian School Fund was established.
These early pioneers believed that the education of children is primarily a parental responsibility and not the responsibility of the State. They took seriously God’s mandate for parents to train their children in God’s ways and viewed the Christian school as an extension of the home where parents and teachers worked in partnership in teaching, training and equipping children to become God’s person in the world.
Our forefathers continued to investigate the possibility of starting a Christian school by lobbying Governments and raising funds through street stalls and donations. They never lost sight of their vision and whilst their own children did not necessarily have the privilege of attending a Christian school these visionaries continued to inspire others to join them in their task of providing a biblically based education for children of Christian parents.
In 1979 a group of interested community members in the northern suburbs of Wollongong formed the Illawarra Association for Christian Parent Controlled Education (IACPCE) to work towards the opening of a school in the area.
In 1982 the Illawarra Christian School opened in the hall of the Woonona Presbyterian Church. There was 1 teacher and 10 children. Within 2 years the school had increased to 39 with additional demountable buildings being purchased. Parents and friends generously supported the school by donations of funds, equipment and materials and in practical help in the classrooms.
In 1985 the Board took a step of faith and purchased the Cordeaux site. The Chairman’s Report of 1985 comments that:- one of the great strengths of the school community is “our unity of purpose, to educate our children in the knowledge of and obedience to the Word of God…..we have a very diverse community, with people from all walks of life, numerous denominational backgrounds and yet a very real unity in Christ.”
In 1987 after much campaigning ICS moved from Woonona to Cordeaux Heights and the first Year 7 class commenced. The school had grown from 1 to 184 students with 8 teachers. Families were drawn from 13 different denominations.
By 1988 Geoff Hewitt was appointed as Principal. Student numbers had increased to 263 with a single stream of classes Kindergarten to Year 8.
In 1989 Tongarra Christian School commenced at All Saints Albion Park.
In 1992 the first Year 12 students graduated from Cordeaux Campus. The school was a Kindergarten to Year 12 school serving over 300 children.
In 1994 Tongarra Christian School amalgamated with Illawarra Christian School to form one Association with two campuses.
In 1995 the first Year 7 for Tongarra commenced at Cordeaux.
In 1996 Tongarra Campus moved to the Woolshed site at Albion Park.
In 2000 our first Year 12 Tongarra students graduated.
In 2005 there were approximately 839 students enrolled at Illawarra Christian school from Kinder to Year 12.
In 2008 Illawarra Christian School commenced its first Prep class at both the Cordeaux and Tongarra Campuses.
In 2012 Illawarra Christian School celebrated 30 years of providing Christian Education in the Illawarra through various community activities including a large combined celebration at WIN Entertainment Centre.
In 2014 we have over 900 students attending our two campuses from Prep to Year 12; our NAPLAN and HSC results are excellent; students have extended choice in electives with the introduction of Children’s Services and Hospitality as TVET courses; our grounds have expanded with the purchase of a neighbouring house to Cordeaux Campus to become the Office space; our new Halls as part of the Building the Educational Revolution are a wonderful asset; both campuses have introduced service trips for their students to grow their understanding and opportunities; and we continue to partner with families in the education of their children for God’s glory.
In 2016 the Illawarra Christian School strategic plan was defined allowing for differentiation in the vision for both campuses. Master plans for each campus were developed and this in turn lead each campus developing individual directions and goals.
The result is that from 2017 the Illawarrra Association for Christian Parent-Controlled Education will be rebranded as Illawarra Christian Education operating two schools, Illawarra Christian School (formerly Illawarra Christian School, Cordeaux Campus) and Calderwood Christian School (formerly Illawarra Christian School, Tongarra Campus)