Urban boarding for city students


THE head of a Perth boys’ college hopes to encourage more city-based families to send their sons to boarding school.

Hale School headmaster Dean Dell’Oro said the concept of “urban boarding” was well-established in the Eastern States.

“Boarding today provides students with more than just a place to sleep,” he said.

media_cameraHale School Headmaster Dean Dell’Oro.

“As the pressure increases with the academic work, but also as they get to years 10, 11 and 12 and they start to get into the much higher teams and sport, music and drama which demands weekend practice, then there are real benefits from having the child here and being immersed in the whole program 24/7.”

Mr Dell’Oro said the academic support boarding staff provided could not be replicated at home.

“Boarders have teachers on campus after hours to guide them,” he said. “They also have access to school facilities after hours including the library and art rooms.”

He said boarding helped students become more independent and learn social skills.

While it could ease pressure on parents who worked long hours, urban boarding was not out-sourcing parenting because modern boarding houses encouraged students to have frequent contact with their families.

The school, which charges around $23,000 a year for boarding on top of $25,000 tuition fees, will offer city-based students a chance to try out boarding for two weeks next term.

Year 10 student Rowan Blakeman, 15, who moved into Hale from his Floreat home last month, is a convert. He likes the structure and being able to spend more time with friends.

His parents, Grant and Suzanne, said while they missed having Rowan home in the evenings, they did not miss the laundry or making lunches.

Edith Cowan University families and parenting expert Bronwyn Harman said while boarding was essential for rural students, she did not think schools should replace home life and parental responsibility for city students.

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