Home away from home? Boarding in Australian schools.
Currently, Australian boarding schools undertake to provide a home away from home for around 20,000 adolescents. Research documenting the boarding school experience is scarce, and, with few exceptions, exists as a less significant aspect of more general research into private school education. Such school-based research focuses on the positive, character-building benefits of the boarding experience. However, case studies of former boarders paint quite a different picture. In order for boarding schools to best support boarders' development, it is vital that adults who fulfil a parenting role undertake appropriate training. This paper draws together available information to present a comprehensive picture of boarding in Australian schools, with a focus on the challenges faced by the in loco parentis role of staff. It is apparent that more skills-based training is vital to better equip staff in this very important role.
Keywords Boarding schools, non-government schools, boarding houses, private education, isolated students, residential care
The purpose of this review is to assemble a current picture of boarding in Australian schools, with a specific focus on the challenges presented by the in loco parentis role of staff in their undertaking to create a home away from home for the young people in their care (boarders). Acting in loco parentis, or in the place of a parent, refers to the legal responsibility of a boarding school to undertake a number of the responsibilities of a parent. This role is pivotal to boarders' developmental outcomes but is also a role that presents many challenges in an increasingly demanding and litigious world (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001). Available information and research on boarding schools is, in the main, of a theoretical, philosophical or a sociological nature (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 200l; White, 2004), with very few attempts (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; CSC, 1982; Cree, 2000; Papworth, Martin, & Ginns, 2011; Papworth, Martin, Ginns, & Liem, 2012) to quantify important aspects of this environment. There is a pressing need for data to inform the parenting role of boarding staff (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; Van Hoof & Holger, 1999), and this paper represents an initial investigation into the pastoral needs of adolescents who live in boarding school environments and the staff training required to respond to these needs. Information for the present review was gathered by searching catalogues and both education (ERIC) and psychology (psychinfo) databases, using the search words 'boarding', 'boarding schools', 'residential schools', 'private schools', 'private education', 'isolated students' and 'boarders'.
Boarding schools are regulated communities designed for the education and development of residential students (Cree, 2000; White, 2004). These institutions seem to hold a degree of fascination, particularly for those who have not had the 'privilege' of sharing this unique experience, and graduates are typically portrayed in promotional material as self-reliant young people well equipped to deal with the complexities of life beyond the school gates (Boarding Schools Association [BSA], 2007; Gerrard, 2001; Independent Schools Council Australia [ISCA], 2008). Famous Australian alumni of elite boarding schools include political leaders such as Robert Menzies, as well as business giants, Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch. While works of fiction paint a whimsical rather than a realistic picture of the life of a boarder, they nevertheless constitute a popular representation of this environment and its inhabitants. The few authors who have investigated Australian boarding schools (see Table 1) have commented on the scarcity of relevant boarding-school research, both in Australia and overseas, and have also noted that what is available is often dated and exists as a less significant aspect of more general research into private education. The desire to safeguard a school's public standing and to protect its residents appears to have resulted in a closed-door attitude to inquiries (Cree, 2000; Poynting & Donaldson, 2005), resulting in what might be considered a biased perspective of the boarding school experience.
Boarding in Australia--how does it compare?
Sociological studies of Australian boarding schools (Cree, 2000; White, 2004) have clearly differentiated these institutions from their British counterparts. While there is an assumption that Australian boarding schools are a colonial replication of those in the United Kingdom (UK), the dissimilarity of Australian boarding schools to their corresponding institutions, not only in the UK, but also in the United States (US), Europe and South Africa, has been highlighted (Cree, 2000; White, 2004). Overseas boarding schools cater primarily for boarding students rather than day students (Wakeford, 1969; Weinberg, 1967), such that, for an overseas school to be regarded as a boarding school, between 50% (Karlton, 1966) and 75% (Weinberg, 1967) of its enrolled students need to be boarders. Only 8 of a total of approximately 154 Australian boarding schools (Independent Schools Council Australia, 2010) met this definition (Cree, 2000; White, 2004). Australian boarding schools are more likely to be independent day schools with attached boarding houses, with only a small percentage of students defined as boarders (Cree, 2000; White, 2004). This renders research conducted on overseas boarding schools of limited relevance to the Australian context.
Australian research--what we know
Research on Australian boarding schools is often a sub-focus of research into private education and data are often only accessible as part of larger studies of non-government schools (ABS, 2008; ABS, 2005). The exception is the Commonwealth Schools Commission (CSC, 1982) Study on Living Away From Home Facilities for Isolated Children; the only detailed quantitative study on Australian boarding that includes information from all states and territories. This study included a total of 26,588 boarders, a response rate of 95% (total of 28,133 boarders). The CSC study was commissioned due to an absence of national data for decision-making and, albeit dated, provides a benchmark for the current state of boarding in Australia. The paucity of current research in Australian boarding schools, particularly quantitative research, necessitated that data collection for the present paper be derived from a number of sources.
Boarding numbers 1982-2009
It is difficult to determine exactly how many boarders currently reside in Australian schools. Boarding school pupils have been excluded from the scope of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Schools Education and Work Study (SEW) since 2005; however, in May 2009, the ABS Labour Force Study (LFS) yielded an estimate of 19,200 boarding school pupils aged 15 years and over. Previous estimates of boarding numbers have included boarders younger than 15 years, rendering this recent figure an underestimate. The Independent Schools Council Australia (ISCA, 2008, 2010) recorded an increase in numbers of boarders between 2007 (16, 926) and 2009 (17, 097). These figures derive from 154 of the ISCA's 1022-member schools and, based on the comparison with 20,899 boarders estimated by the ABS (2008) and ABS LFS figures, also appear to underestimate current boarding numbers. Recent Australian data do not provide a detailed breakdown as was available in the CSC study (1982) and the ABS (2008).
Table 2 displays more detailed information on boarders attending non-government boarding schools between 1982 and 2009. These data were derived from four separate sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics ([ABS], 2005), ABS (2008), The Commonwealth Schools Commission (CSC, 1982) and the Independent Schools Council Australia (ISCA, 2008, 2009, 2010). The present review is focused only on non-government boarding schools, and the data (see Table 2) reveal noteworthy trends. Despite an overall decrease in non-government boarding numbers from 28,133 in 1982 (CSC, 1982) to 20,899 in 2007 (ABS, 2008), Queensland and New South Wales continue to support the country's largest boarding populations. The overall percentage of boarders who were male declined from 60% in 1982 to a relatively even split between males and females in 2007. Historical research has found the rural economy to be a primary influence on boarding numbers (CSC, 1982; Cree, 2000), and this remains a significant factor today (ISCA, 2008). Other factors that have influenced boarder numbers, albeit to a lesser extent, are increases in resource provision and support in local schools; improvements in technology, resulting in the improved accessibility and quality of distance education and upgraded roads and transport that have made daily travel to local schools a more viable option (ISCA, 2008).
Reasons for boarding
Empirical research on reasons for boarding is scarce; the exception is a survey of 3100 families from 68 boarding schools conducted by the Independent Schools Council of Australia (2008). Based on this snapshot, which represents a response rate of 51%, the current profile of Australian boarding school students is a diverse group of young people from a range of backgrounds and countries (ISCA, 2008). Currently, boarders come from cities, regional and remote areas and may board because their parents are employed overseas, or may board on a weekly basis in order to cope with their own sporting and academic commitments or as a way of coping with changed family circumstances (ISCA, 2008). Fifty-five percent of families surveyed indicated that there was little choice but to board their children, (ISCA, 2008). Parents from rural communities noted that while they would rather not send their children away to school, the decision was necessary in order to access a high-quality education important for their children's future success (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; ISCA, 2008). Mason's (1997) Australian study on the transition to boarding school also found that parents sought the increased options and opportunities afforded by boarding but were also concerned about the additional influences on their children and the decreased ability to keep an eye on their progress. Most parents who responded to the Independent Schooling in Australia 2006-2008 survey (ISCA, 2008) identified that being a boarder led to becoming a well-rounded, well-balanced person who was independent, self-reliant, tolerant and compassionate, with 92% indicating that they would choose boarding if they had to make the decision again. However, this very positive appraisal of boarding school graduates might also represent a rationalisation by parents (Duffell, 2006; Poynting & Donaldson, 2005; Schaverien, 2004).
This information, while limited in scope, provides boarder demographics not notably different from those published in the more comprehensive CSC (1982) study. Consistent themes have emerged from research on recent and historical reasons for boarding, including boarders' perceptions of the benefits of boarding (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; CSC, 1982; ISCA, 2008; White, 2004). These include geographical isolation, specialised courses, parents' employment, family disruption, overseas students and character building. All are worthy of further exploration.
Geographical isolation and access to specialised courses
The major reason cited by CSC (1982) for students to board was geographic isolation. The CSC study noted that of geographically isolated parents who chose to send their adolescents to boarding schools, 19.5% cited access to specialist courses, staff and resources as a reason. Today, many rural students still do not have reasonable daily access to a school that can provide a variety of senior courses; indeed, many high schools in country areas can only offer specialised courses through distance education (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; McGibbon, 2011). Recent research suggests that the decision to send children to boarding schools is still motivated by a desire to access courses that are prerequisites to tertiary education (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; Fisher, Frazer, & Murray, 1984; ISCA, 2008; Mason, 1997; McGibbon, 2011; Stevens, 1995).
The globalisation of society has resulted in greater mobility of the work force in general; this, along with the continuing mobility of certain professions (e.g. armed forces), means that boarding is a feasible alternative for such families (Cree, 2000). When parents' employment means that they spend periods of time away from the family home, or that they must live interstate or overseas, rather than cause disruption to their child's education, boarding school is often a practical choice (McGibbon, 2011). This is particularly so if the young person is completing their senior schooling or the adolescent does not manage change well.
Disrupted family circumstances
Historically, relatively few students (9.9%) cited disrupted family circumstances as a reason for boarding (CSC, 1982). However, in more recent times divorce, separation and parental re-marriage are all reasons for choosing boarding as a substitute family (Anderson, 2005; Cree, 2000). While for many young people boarding is a carefully considered decision, lack of stability at home and exposure to traumatic and potentially damaging experiences motivated some families to seek a place in a well-ordered and secure environment (Anderson, 2005; Gerrard, 2001). The pressures of parenting may be enough to motivate parents to remove children from the confusion of a chaotic home and send them to a safe, controlled environment, where professionals can do the job instead (Cree, 2000; Gerrard, 2001; Hawkes, 2001). The social support, security and group standards of the boarding community may also be important during times of ill health or when families experience relationship breakdowns (Hawkes, 2001).
Most Australian boarding schools cater for some students from Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong (Cree, 2000). However, rather than the boarding system itself, access to the Australian tertiary education system, perceived as a cheaper alternative to university courses in the United Kingdom or the United States, is the proposed attraction for boarders (Cree, 2000; Han, Jamieson, & Young, 2000). ISCA (2010) data indicate that of the 483,330 students attending independent schools, 10,124 are from overseas. However, current data are unavailable for the proportion of overseas students who actually reside in Australian boarding schools.
Structure and character-building
Parents perceived boarding schools as desirable for building character and developing self-reliance (BSA, 2007; CSC, 1982; ISCA, 2008). In support of this perspective, students' responses in White's (2004) sociological study of an Australian co-educational boarding school also maintain a character-building perspective. Such self-reliance is promoted as one of the benefits of being a boarder but has also been interpreted as ruptured attachment or a boarder's inability to rely on anyone but themselves (Duffell, 2006; Gerrard, 2001; Schaverien, 2004, 2011).
Options for boarding
Boarding schools offer a structured environment with controlled periods of private study, the constant presence and assistance of teachers and specialised staff, as well as use of the school's facilities including libraries and computers outside school hours. This may be particularly important for those students who are heavily involved in academic commitments and extra-curricular commitments, including sport, music, debating and drama (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001; ISCA, 2008). While five-day (weekly) boarding numbers were included in the 1982 CSC study, only 3.9% of boys and 7.0% of girls who lived relatively close to school boarded. However, in more recent times, boarding has become an attractive option for families who live in close proximity to the school (Hawkes, 2001; McGibbon, 2011). Two boarder categories not included in the CSC study but incorporated in more recent boarding literature (Hawkes, 2001) are 'occasional' and 'day boarders'. Occasional boarders are those who generally do not board but may require accommodation for short periods of time, for example, when academic and extracurricular demands might be particularly high or during family crises. Day boarders are those who, perhaps due to parental commitments, use the boarding facilities during the day and early evening and then return home to sleep. Demand for these options is increasing (Hawkes, 2001), as is evidenced by the current marketing of prominent Australian boarding schools that note day boarding to be 'the best of both worlds' (Geelong Grammar School, 2011; The King's School, 2011; The Southport School, 2011). Anderson (2005) concurs and in support notes that the number of schools that currently cater for only full (versus weekly) boarding is declining. Reasons mentioned for weekly boarding included the additional academic support offered by boarding staff and extra time available, which otherwise would have been spent commuting.
The aforementioned reasons for boarding highlight the importance of the in loco parentis role of boarding school staff. It should be noted that the available information generally represents parents' opinions while the boarders' perspectives on their own experiences are rarely represented.
The literature on boarding presents a somewhat polarised view of the boarding experience, from a very positive, character-building perspective (BSA, 2007; Hawkes, 2001; ISCA, 2008) to one of socially condoned child abuse (Duffell, 2000, 2006; Poynting & Donaldson, 2005; Schaverien, 2004, 2011). Key themes that have emerged from boarders' perspectives (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; Gerrard, 200l; White, 2004) include: the positive impact of boarding school on a student's ability to 'get ahead'; 'independence' from the primary social system of the home; tolerance of others and individuality, empowerment and opportunity. However, case studies of former male boarders paint a very different picture of the traumatised child who, while outwardly successful, struggled to reconcile the sacrifices made for him to attend the 'best schools', with his own experience of emotional deprivation, feeling abandoned and even being bullied or possibly abused (Duffell, 2006; Schaverien, 2004, 2011). This perspective is consistent with historical, biographical and anecdotal accounts of the boarding experience and raises questions about supervision in the boarding environment (Duffell, 2000; Lambert, 1968). Responsibility for the care of students 24 hours a day is a heavy responsibility and increased scrutiny and retrospective accounts of boarders' experiences (Duffell, 2000; Lambert, 1968; Poynting & Donaldson, 2005; Schaverien, 2011) have highlighted the legal risk and duty of care in boarding schools (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001).
Changing responsibilities of Australian boarding schools
Boarding schools are busy and complex places, required by the courts to minimise risk and prevent reasonably foreseeable harm (Anderson, 2005; Boyd, 2000). The law is imposing increasingly higher standards of care on boarding institutions, which must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the courts, appropriate handling of situations involving risk (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001). Boarding schools are also bound by child protection legislation to safeguard children from harm (Anderson, 2005: Boyd, 2000; Hawkes, 2001) and to prevent physical, emotional or psychological abuse (Hawkes, 2001). To this end, staff members who come into unsupervised contact with boarders are obliged to have criminal background clearance (Anderson, 2005). The risk of bullying is a constant challenge in a boarding environment, with harsh tales of overt bullying part of boarding's historical inheritance (Duffell, 2000; Lambert, 1968; Poynting & Donaldson, 2005). While it is imperative that the day-to-day running of a boarding school is governed by clear policies and guidelines and informed by relevant laws, this can also be counterproductive to cultivating an environment that is nurturing, supportive, as well as safe and transparent (Anderson, 2005; Holgate, 2007; White, 2004). This conundrum presents a significant challenge for boarding staff who must walk the boundaries between the legal and parental responsibilities.
Staff roles and responsibilities
Boarding staff are not only facilitators and guarantors of security (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001), but just as importantly, they are in loco parentis models for young people. The literature is somewhat silent on the demographics of staff in boarding schools, however, given the diverse backgrounds of boarders, heterogeneity of life experiences and age is an advantage (Anderson, 2005). This is consistent with observations of many boarding establishments that yield a picture of staff across a continuum on age, experience and formal qualifications. The variety of experiences that staff bring to the boarding environment is important, but so is their ability to function as a team that is consistent and fair, and acts in the best interests of the young people in their care (Anderson, 2005; Cree, 2000; Hawkes, 2001; Holgate, 2007). Boarding schools generally employ teachers as part of their boarding staff. However, the number of teachers employed and their designated roles differ according to the school's organisational structure. There are ample descriptions of the skills, qualities and knowledge that all staff should possess, including personal qualities such as kindness, empathy and respect, emotional regulation, communication and knowledge of first aid, crisis management and legal issues (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001, 2010; Turner, 2008). This mixture of skills and personal qualities required by staff who assume this important role would appear to require extensive preparation and training.
Regardless of the specific roles assumed by staff members, each person has the vital responsibility for the nurture and welfare of the boarders (Hawkes, 2001; Holgate, 2007). This is a difficult assignment for young boarding staff members who are, in some cases, not very far removed from being students in such establishments. Staff have an obligation to model the behaviours, values, skills and attitudes (Hawkes, 2008) young people require in order to lead meaningful lives and become productive members of society (Peterson, 1996; Sanders, 2004). The boarding environment, like the family environment, is an ideal setting for promoting the development of young people by teaching a range of skills including practical skills such as ironing a shirt, cooking and mending, to skills that focus on social and emotional competence such as communicating, controlling emotions and impulses and handling responsibilities (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001; Holgate, 2007; White, 2004).
Staff and student interactions in the boarding environment are an important part of the young person's social and emotional development (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001; Holgate, 2007; Sanders, 2004). However, members of a boarding community occupy challenging boundaries between the need to develop empathetic relationships and the need to maintain an appropriate 'distance" befitting the power differential between students and teachers (Anderson, 2005: Hawkes, 2001; White, 2004). While the ideal age and qualifications of potential staff are not prescribed, numbers of staff required are usually expressed as a staffing ratio and included in the school's legal documents, with ratios of 1 staff to 15 or more young people being common in a boarding environment (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001). This proposed ratio (Anderson, 2005) presents a significant challenge for staff who assume a parental role for boarders (Peterson, 1996; Sanders, 2004).
In addition to their parenting role, the need for knowledge of occupational health and safety requirements, physical and mental health, first aid and child protection legislation make training and continuing professional development essential for boarding staff (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001). Duty of Care- A Certificate Course in Residential Care (Hawkes, 2001, 2010), the Australian Boarding Schools Association's (ABSA) base-level training for all boarding staff, is promoted as the gold standard in staff training and is intended to contribute basic knowledge and skills for staff to perform their boarding duties (Hawkes, 2001, 2010). This course addresses topics such as: the philosophy of residential care; meeting boarders' pastoral needs; occupational health and safety and emergency procedures based around written tasks that require staff to reflect on their own practice (Hawkes, 2001,2010). In January 2013, 382 of the estimated 1500 boarding staff across all Australian states and territories had completed this course (Australian Boarding Schools Association [ABSA], personal communication, June 6, 2011).
An Associate Degree in Social Science (Residential Care) which was offered as a part-time option (2-4 years) through the Australian Catholic University (ACU) has more recently been discontinued. While staff training is available, it is currently not compulsory for employment in boarding schools.
Do boarding schools provide a home away from home?
Generally a young person's social systems are divided into a primary personal system, represented by the home or family, and a secondary personal system, the school or university (White, 2004). Through analysis of boarders' memoirs, White (2004) found that boarders formed not one but two kinds of primary bonds, one with their family and the other with their boarding house, and that boarders' personal values were drawn from both the family and from the boarding house. This research provides significant support for the importance of the parenting role of boarding staff. There is also considerable theoretical support for the primary nature of the boarding house and its staff in the social, emotional and intellectual development of boarders (Anderson, 2005; Cree, 2000; Hawkes, 2001). Boarding staff, boarders and their parents all recognise that boarding institutions need to provide a home away from home (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001; Holgate, 2007; ISCA, 2008). The success of the boarding school depends on its capacity to fulfill this role (Anderson, 2005; Hawkes, 2001, 2008; Holgate, 2007; ISCA, 2008). There is no denying that for students who make boarding schools their home for more than 38 of 52 weeks each year, boarding staff acting in loco parentis must accept the vital responsibility of the nurture and welfare of the boarders.
The future of boarding
Due to the vast size of Australia, there will be an ongoing demand for places in boarding schools. However, the boarding schools that will endure are those that offer warmth, security and a strong sense of community and can cater for the physical, social, emotional, spiritual and academic needs of the adolescent (Hawkes, 2001; ISCA, 2008). Many parents indicated that boarding schools provided some sanctuary from outside influences and as such would increase in popularity (ISCA, 2008). However, what is not clear is the way forward to practical, empirically supported training that will empower staff to fulfil their brief to provide a safe, secure, positive learning environment where adolescents can develop not only in a physical and academic capacity but just as importantly, socially, emotionally and spiritually.
Conclusions and implications
As most boarding research is of a theoretical rather than empirical nature (Anderson, 2005; Bramston & Patrick, 2007; CSC, 1982; Cree, 2000; Hawkes, 2001; White, 2004), there is a pressing need for data to inform the in loco parentis role of staff in boarding schools (Bramston & Patrick, 2007; Van Hoof & Holger, 1999). The purpose of the current review was to draw together the available literature and to present a comprehensive picture of the Australian boarding situation with a specific focus on the challenges of the role of boarding school staff and their undertaking to create a home away from home for boarders. It is apparent that, while boarding numbers fluctuate, boarding schools are an important and, it appears, an enduring feature of Australia's schooling landscape. It is also abundantly clear that the expectations of boarding schools are far in excess of the provision of a safe, secure environment, but extend to what are generally thought of as parental responsibilities; that is, the social, emotional and spiritual development of each child. Boarding staff vary greatly in age and level of experience, yet all have the responsibility for the nurture and welfare of the young people in their care. The implications of these expectations are that all boarding staff require a comprehensive range of skills, and training must not be limited to information or knowledge but also involve skill development.
In drawing together available information, this paper has exposed some shortcomings, the most important of which is that staff performing a parenting role in boarding schools do not have access to adequate skills-based training to support the developmental outcomes of the young people for whom boarding schools are a home away from home. Evidence-based parenting programs for adolescents are available and may represent a potential solution for the abovementioned problem. Modifications of existing parenting programs for adolescents may well provide a workable solution for improving the competence, confidence and self-efficacy of boarding staff in working with the young people in their care.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for--profit sectors.
Declaration of conflicting interests
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Post Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia
Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia
Head of Training, Triple P International, Australia
Julie Hodges, Parenting and Family Support Centre, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia.
Table 1. Australian research on boarding schools. Author(s) Topic Papworth, Martin, Measurement of academic outcomes, non-academic and Ginns (2011) outcomes, background characteristics and personality in day students and boarders. Martin, Ginns, and The effects of boarding school on students' Papworth (2009) academic and non-academic outcomes. Bramston and Rural adolescents experiencing an urban Patrick (2007) transition. The aim was to determine whether rural adolescents experienced distress when making the transition to an urban boarding school. Anderson (2005) A model for good practice in residential and boarding education for adolescents. White (2004) The attitudes of Anglo-Australian and overseas students in an Australian co-educational boarding school from their own memoirs. Schaverien (2004) An exploration of the psychological consequences of living away from home from a psychodynamic perspective. Hawkes (2001) A course designed for completion by any personnel employed in the boarding environment. Cree (2000) Identification of distinctive aspects of boarding schools in Victoria, Australia. Mason (1997) The emotional transition of twelve-yea- olds from their rural Australian homes to boarding school. Cookson and The role of elite boarding schools in Persell (1986) maintaining upper class cohesion in the United States Fisher, Frazer, A diary-style analysis of the problems and and Murray (1984) worries of boarding school pupils as they make the transition from home to boarding school CSC (1982) A detailed examination of living away from home facilities for isolated children in Australia. Author(s) Summary Papworth, Martin, Preliminary findings indicate that there were no and Ginns (2011) significant differences between boarders and day students on 16 of 19 academic and non-academic variables. The authors note that this demonstrates educational parity and equity between day and boarding students. On the remaining variables, boarders demonstrated significantly more positive outcomes on purpose in life and relationships with parents; however, the data indicated that boarders worried more about failing. Martin, Ginns, and The expressed aims were to assist policy, Papworth (2009) pedagogy and the direction of pastoral care and to position the Australian Boarding School Association as a leading researcher in boarding education. Bramston and The aim was to determine whether rural Patrick (2007) adolescents experienced distress when making the transition to an urban boarding school. Adolescents (mean age 14.6 years) living in rural Queensland completed questionnaires to determine stress levels experienced by those who made the transition to boarding school. It was found that rural adolescents who leave to board in the city managed the transition well and also regarded it as having a number of advantages. Boarders coped by talking to others, making an effort to get to know others and getting involved with organised activities. Boarders who made the transition cited a better education and access to greater opportunities and more contacts as advantages of the move. Focus group feedback suggested that being 'buddied' with someone older and having more contact with parents assisted with transition. Anderson (2005) I identified key elements of good management and practice common to all residential child care settings including boarding schools. The main components of a proposed model are the environment; the legal framework, developmental issues and time-related issues. White (2004) A sociological analysis of the aspirations and attitudes of a group of 45 students at a co-educational boarding school in Victoria. It was found that relationships among students and staff were personal and informal and involved the whole personality. The boarding house was found to be the primary personal system and this system co-existed with the family. Analyses revealed that students believed that boarding school was significant in fostering independence and an attitudinal shift towards embracing multi-culturalism. Schaverien (2004) Questions the notion that the socially condoned and unquestioned practice of sending children to boarding school is good for them, or 'the making of them'. This author explores the psychological impact (from a psychoanalytic perspective) of boarding schools, noting that while boarding schools may have improved in present times, bullying and sexual abuse still continue in 'the best of schools'. Hawkes (2001) Duty of Care is a base-level course, designed by the Australian Residential Schools Association (TARSA), which has been designed to be completed by residential boarding staff including boarding supervisors, matrons, tutors, house-parents and teachers. The author notes that the course is designed to be practical rather than academic and is reportedly structured to contribute to the basic knowledge and skills necessary to perform boarding duties. The course is divided into II units including such diverse topics as philosophy through to bullying, child development, discipline and guiding students in play, each of which, it is proposed, will take between one and four hours to complete. Cree (2000) Reports a study of boarding schools in Victoria, Australia. Quantitative data were used to provide an overall view of boarding education in the State of Victoria. Qualitative data were used to elicit boarders' attitudes to family, peers and their teachers. The author notes that the Australian boarding school is unique and separate from its British counterpart on which it is thought to be modelled. He also comments on the paucity of research on boarding in this country and the difficulties accessing boarding schools. Mason (1997) Found that self-confidence, self-esteem and the ability to make friends contributed to an easier transition to the boarding environment. Factors emphasised as important in the transition were a high quality of care; the facilitation of close staff/student relationships; opportunities to meet others and effective communication. Cookson and Reports questionnaire data, open-ended essays, Persell (1986) academic outcomes and interviews from 2475 freshmen and senior students at 20 selected schools. The authors note that the 'prep' school experience facilitates class cohesion and that surviving the experience creates in the graduates feelings of legitimacy of power and position. Fisher, Frazer, Examined the characteristics of problems and and Murray (1984) worries reported by 50 male and female students aged 11-16 years experiencing the impact of a new boarding school environment. Predominant concerns of students were related to school routines, school work (58%) and homework (34%), with only 16% reporting homesickness. No demographic factors were found to influence levels of homesickness. CSC (1982) Report by a working party that examined the living away-from-home facilities of 188 boarding schools throughout Australia. It was found that standards of accommodation varied among and within states, with many reporting overcrowding. Boarding schools were found to provide for the accommodation needs of the majority of isolated students who live away from home to complete their schooling. It was reported that some parents see boarding schools as providing opportunities for learning, challenge, heightened aspirations, spiritual guidance and additional opportunities not available in the local area. The study also notes the difficulty of attracting and retaining appropriate supervisory staff. Table 2. Fulltime boarding students at nongovernment schools by state. Year NSW VIC QLD SA WA 1982 7860 3986 8132 2410 3512 1996 7524 3030 8497 3201 1182 1997 7343 3049 8706 1191 3142 1998 6946 2893 8066 1151 3029 1999 6962 2892 7648 1081 2907 2000 6545 2939 7654 1077 2801 2001 6538 2966 7306 1105 2716 2002 6401 3021 6986 1133 2801 2003 6506 3118 6969 1188 2914 2004 6293 3059 6673 1197 2911 2005 6218 3016 6444 1171 2820 2006 6226 3022 6364 1169 2744 2007 6241 3027 6345 1129 2741 2008 2009 Year TAS NT ACT Total 1982 373 46 296 26,588 1996 305 844 225 24,808 1997 322 852 196 24,801 1998 303 852 191 23,431 1999 261 874 177 22,802 2000 245 857 178 22,296 2001 250 817 186 21,884 2002 255 872 185 21,654 2003 268 907 182 21,952 2004 262 873 169 21,437 2005 271 943 166 21,049 2006 281 953 176 20,935 2007 285 971 160 20,899 2008 * 17,181 2009 * 17,097 Sources: CSC (1982); ABS (2009; and ISCA (2009, 2010). * From 2008 onwards, ISCA provides the only available data; this probably represents an underestimate of total Australian boarding numbers.
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|Author:||Hodges, Julie; Sheffield, Jeanie; Ralph, Alan|
|Publication:||Australian Journal of Education|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2013|
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