Although Walker’s successor Rev Michael Norman held the same views as Walker regarding co-education, the school he came to lead in 1964 was now a boys’ school.
Born in 1934, Norman had an arts degree and an education diploma and had been a humanities teacher at numerous Victorian schools. He also had a long association with the Methodist Church as a lay preacher and youth worker which led him to join the ministry. He was at a parish in Kyneton when he was offered the role of headmaster at Box Hill Grammar School.
Norman seemed to fully understand the challenge of his new role. In 1964 he wrote:
‘…under Mr Walker’s headmastership, Box Hill Grammar School was a school of a very special kind. It had a character and charm of its own. No extensive or elaborate suites of building ever came about – it was never a large school. It was, nevertheless, an expression of some very important education ideas and it was some hundreds of scholars both a home and a school of which they were extraordinarily proud…[however] through the years the Methodist Church failed to support the work of the school as it ought to have done – sometimes because it disapproved, sometimes because it did not know or care.’
Norman had a huge challenge ahead of him. In 1964, enrolments stood at 190. Norman and his council knew that it had to reach at least 400 in order to eliminate the annual deficits that had accrued in the previous years.
Michael Norman’s task was clear: increase enrolments, restore the school’s reputation and and market it to the flourishing eastern suburbs of Melbourne.