The head of a prestigious Wellington boys' school has been called out over claims he made "sexist" comments in an open day speech ahead of the school becoming co-ed.

From 2020, Scots College, which has been exclusively for boys for over 100 years, will be co-ed for years 11 and 12.

An initial 60 places would be available for girls in 2020 and an additional 60 places in both 2021 and 2022 across Years 11 to 13.

During an open day in March headmaster Graeme Yule is alleged to have made "sexist" remarks to parents and prospective students.


Three year 10 Wellington High School students who attended told Stuff that Yule said the girls would not be allowed to "sit at the back of a classroom and paint their nails but instead be expected to participate in work and sports".

Scots College headmaster Graeme Yule.
Scots College headmaster Graeme Yule.

Yule also reportedly commented on the importance women gave to the size of mirrors, according to Stuff.

"We think this is sexist because it is assuming that, as females, we wouldn't participate to the full extent of our own accord," the students told Stuff.

"The nail-painting comment was drawing on unfair stereotypes of teenage girls."

Yule told the Herald the comments had been taken out of context.

"There was no intent to offend anyone attending and if people were offended then I would apologise to them.

"Our expectation is that all of our students are fully involved in all aspects of college life – academic, sporting, cultural, service and leadership. This was the context of my comment. Be involved."

His comment about the mirrors was in regards to work needed to "modernise" an older part of the boarding house.


"A urinal removed, walls moved and updated with more mirrors and power outlets that are required by modern day students [both boys and girls]."

Last year in announcing the transition to becoming co-ed from 2020 Yule said a co-educational senior school will encourage students to collaborate and learn from one another socially.

"Following in the footsteps of many of the country's leading independent boys' schools, this carefully considered decision is an important step for preparing our young people for adulthood.

"Evidence supports that a co-education environment at this age assists students to feel more comfortable about who they are, gives them a healthy, positive attitude, and preparedness for the next step be that tertiary study or the workforce.

"Scots College has never been afraid to embrace change, to ensure that we continue to provide a future-focused education that prepares our students for their futures."