The ACS was officially formed in December 1997 and commenced sporting competitions in February 1998 with the five founding member schools; Eltham College, Loyola College, St Leonard’s College, St Michael’s Grammar School and Westbourne Grammar School.
The five Principals came together in 1997 to discuss the elements of a new association that would meet their collective needs. They discussed a code of sportspersonship; that they would want a serious competition with a commitment to all teams from all members, and for sport not to interfere with or minimise interference with classroom time.
To ensure the Association met their collective needs it was agreed that the Association would be based on the following principles:
- To bring together similar sized schools, that they were coeducational and held similar philosophies and commitment to sport.
- A commitment to the agreed list of teams and sports at all year levels.
- A commitment to a high standard of competition, appearance, punctuality and sportspersonship.
- A comprehensive program that included traditional sports as well as other popular sports.
- A program that would involve a large number of students and maximise participation.
- Finding a balance between participation and a higher level of competition.
- A commitment to make it work, to fulfil fixtures and minimise intrusion into school time.
- To provide equal sporting opportunities and access to sport for boys and girls in all year levels.
- To provide opportunity for students to play sport who would not play at all otherwise.
The ACS’ five founding member schools shared a common philosophy where every school activity is an educational experience. Sporting competition must be directed towards teaching teamwork, developing character and inculcating high personal standards of behaviour. There should be limited interruptions to class time and school sport is not played on weekends as this is family time and an opportunity to participate in community sport.
Some of the important components and objectives of the ACS are that maximum participation is achieved, that opportunities to learn new sports exist and the positive benefits of sports are taken into everyday life. The ACS adheres to a code of ethics and behaviour and ACS Competition Rules to maintain the integrity of the competition and the Association.
In 2008, the Principals, Deputy Principals and Heads of Sport from the member schools gathered to review and discuss the founding principles of the ACS. The group reaffirmed its commitment to these principles and found them to be as relevant today as they were in the beginning. The group also committed to seeking opportunities to further enhance coeducational experiences for students. This is demonstrated with the introduction of mixed badminton and mixed touch football for seniors. The ACS members will continue to annually review the needs of the Association.
In 2003 Overnewton Anglican Community College and Thomas Carr College joined the ACS and commenced participation in all competitions with a positive response from their students who had not experienced weekly sporting opportunities before. The addition of these schools was welcomed by ACS students and coaches who enjoyed the new level of competition and a new set of friendly rivalries.
It was with sadness in 2010 that the ACS farewelled founding member Eltham College when the school left the ACS to join another Association that would suit its changing circumstances.
In 2013, Beaconhills College joined the ACS as an Associate Member and will participate in the three ACS Championships; Swimming, Athletics and Cross Country as well as Chess and Public Speaking. Their inclusion has enhanced the competitive spirit of all member schools and lifted the atmosphere to even greater levels at ACS Championships.