One of the great things about Boarding Schools Expo is not just the events we host each year that bring boarding schools and families from rural and regional NSW together under the one roof, it’s the resources we gather over time. Resources that help families make the right decision for them about what schools to choose.
Here are tips and advice offered to us by families who are or were recently on the frontline of boarding. They’ve been through what you’re experiencing now – the uncertainty, the excitement, the sadness, the sleepless nights, and the endless conversations with people around you.
Kate Treweeke, Lightning Ridge
“We didn’t have an event like Boarding Schools Expo then, but in my time on ICPA State Council I’ve seen that having many schools under the one roof saves many families from going to extreme measures to find a school that suits their children.
“I have often seen families walk into the Expos with an idea of what they want from a school only to walk out considering something different. Some have been known to attend more than one Expo in the same year, as well as attend a few years running. These things take time.”
Mel Scolari, Narromine
“We looked at the facilities, location, the composition of boarders to day students, the subjects…and for us, the biggest thing was the culture of the school. That’s our number one – the atmosphere and culture of the school can be the winning factor in the final selection process. If schools have happy, confident children, they’re doing something right.”
Amanda Ferrari, Trangie
“We were always very definite about our selection process when choosing boarding schools. Fortunately for us, my farmer and I did not feel bound by tradition, even though the push was quite strong from some family members. Our criteria were quite simple: we were looking for schools with a long unbroken history of country boarders; schools where their boarding communities have remained strong and strongly supported through generations. We wanted a no-nonsense approach to education and pastoral care, and we wanted a history of consistent academic success, particularly the 10 years or so prior to our enrolment.
“We made a list of priorities. At the top of that list was our most important criteria, which was the unbroken history of strong boarding communities. For us, narrowing it down with this rule made it straightforward.”
Stephanie Day, Wagga Wagga
“Choosing St. Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill for our boys was quite an easy decision. The boys’ father and grandfather had attended the school and with both boys being sporty it seemed a great fit. The big country contingent was also a drawcard but it was listening to now Wallaby, Ned Hanigan speaking about the school at a parent information evening that sealed the deal for me! He epitomised what I wanted for my boys – he was laidback, confident and clearly happy as a Joe Boy…
“With Sophie, we were flying a little more blindly but through school visits, and talking to friends we narrowed it down to two schools. It was the intimacy of the boarding school, proximity to both the city and her siblings…and, OK, maybe the harbour views…that swayed me to Kincoppal – Rose Bay.”
Fiona Aveyard, Tullamore
“We used the Boarding Schools Expo as a starting point, making a conscious decision to go in cold and not bring any preconceived ideas about certain schools with us.
“We had criteria of what we were looking for. In Lilys’ case, it was boarding size – not too big and not too small, which we felt would suit her personality. We were also keen on her having access to team sports on a competitive and a social level.”
Jodie Crowe, Garah
“Well, we talked about it a lot and so the children knew from quite a young age that’s where they would go. It was very sad but it was something we knew was for the best and we had to be strong.
“I’ve got four away now [in Years 8, 9, 11 and 12], but I’ve still got two at home [in Years 4 and 6], so I’m not bored with things still happening at home.
“It is a real juggling act trying to work out the logistics of it all. People need to be made aware that’s what it’s like…and it’s getting busier for us.”
Got some tips or advice to offer? Don’t hesitate to make contact via our Facebook Page where we love having conversations with our community about all things boarding.