Perception that boarding school is either like Hogwarts or St Trinnians is outdated myth. From around Australia and world

Posted: 8th September 2022

FOR MANY FAMILIES, the transition to secondary School is a time to offer children new opportunities to develop extracurricular activities, special interests, and life skills. When making decisions about boarding, families need to consider other factors.

These include pastoral care, extracurricular activities to allow children to explore their interests and find their niche, school dynamics and accessibility, programs ensuring boarding students find their second home; the involvement of the family in school activities; and communication with parents. All students and families are different, and what suits one may not work for another, so it’s essential to find the right fit for your family.

Firbank Grammar School has an award-winning extracurricular, well-being and personal development program. Winner of best Co-Curricular program at this month’s Australian Educator Awards, Firbank Grammars’ exceptional programs stood out, winning above all other government and non-government schools.

Bernie Mills, Head of Experiential Education, says that Our vision is for our students to embody our motto: ‘Vincit qui se vincit’ – one conquers, who conquers oneself. Our purpose is to provide a more than exceptional education, where we care for our students and offer a breadth of experiences, knowledge and skills that equip them to be continuous ‘conquerors of learning and ready for life.

“Our experiential education program is key to delivering a successful and holistic education. The program’s structure has been intentionally designed to continually build upon skills and concepts as students develop their confidence and sense of belonging and realise their potential.”

“Our programs are relevant and positive and highlight a student’s learning journey at Firbank Grammar School. We continually explore, refine and adapt our programs to ensure that the experiences offer timely personal and social development opportunities. Each program varies in length, level of challenge, activities and learning outcomes. We tailor each to allow our students to find and follow their passions. We are proud of our innovative and student-centred program encapsulating meaningful cultural, service, adventure, and environmental and outdoor learning.”

Participation with peers in these exciting and enjoyable experiential learning pursuits reinforces a positive attitude to education and contributes significantly to the general ethos of our School. We have created an incredible culture of trust, and our students, teachers and parents see the value in this experiential education. Current research and the pandemic highlighted nature-based and community-focused programs’ health, well-being and social benefits.

We recognise that building self-confidence is fundamental to a student’s development. Our Experiential Education experiences provide valuable, non-competitive avenues for achievement and opportunities to develop independence and self-reliance. Our students make significant strides in self-confidence by successfully facing up to the challenges provided by outdoor activities, sometimes overcoming fears and apprehensions along the way. We believe they develop confidence in their abilities to try new experiences and step outside their comfort zone. As a result, many students participating in the Year 11 Summit to Sea Expedition have leadership responsibilities in Year 12. Our younger students are inspired to join our Environmental Action Group and participate in local environmental events.

Our program allows our students to gain an awareness of and appreciation for each other’s unique qualities and learn how to sustain effective relationships. Experiences outside of the classroom provide rich opportunities for personal and social development through carefully structured group work in challenging situations. Trust, care, tolerance and the willingness to give and accept support are all encouraged. Opportunities are presented to exhibit and develop effective interpersonal behaviour and to work cooperatively and effectively in teams.

Outdoor learning introduces our students to a range of worthwhile leisure pursuits which will enrich their future lives and develop the skills and knowledge essential for safe participation. Students are inspired to continue to pursue outdoor endeavours well into the future and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

We had the vision to balance classroom learning with nature-based and hands-on learning in real-life scenarios and maximise the learning opportunities offered through our co-curricular program. We develop genuine, immersive experiences vastly different from their everyday world. We want our students to be resourceful, adaptable, courageous and empathetic. This could be achieved through an experiential education program. We expect they have the confidence and belief that they can contribute to a better world and that their contribution is valued and impactful.

Besides its full-time boarding, Firbank Grammar School also offers flexible weekly boarding to cater to city and country families’ needs. The School also has a comprehensive curriculum and an extracurricular offering that includes a sustainability component. Bringing science into the classroom, it has partnered with marine conservation organisation Marine Mammal Foundation, which protects the marine environment through community engagement, education and research.

“Launching children into adulthood is not simply about the best possible education,” says Jenny Williams, principal of Firbank Grammar School. “While education is important, it’s also vital to provide an environment that promotes good mental health and life skills, and builds resilience and social confidence”.

Key Facts:

Firbank Grammar School has three main Campuses, Junior Co-Ed in Sandringham, Jr Girls Middle Cres Brighton and Sr Girls Day and Boarding in Outer Cres Brighton.

It houses around 40 boarding students at any one time.

VCE Students have their room, and younger students share with one other for company.

The Independent school sector is the largest boarding provider in Australia, operating almost 75 per cent of all Australian boarding schools. In 2021 there were 140 boarding schools in the Independent school sector, housing 14,147 students. Sixteen per cent of boarders in Independent boarding schools are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. ISA estimates that a further 13 per cent are international students, and it is estimated that nationally across all sectors, 71 per cent of all boarding students are from rural locations.

About us:

The Senior School has a boarding house on campus. Firbank Grammar School supports girls from remote Indigenous communities around Australia through full-time boarding scholarships. With over 1,200 students and up to 500 (full-time, part-time and casual) staff across the three campuses, Firbank Grammar School has provided exceptional education and incredible opportunities to students for over a century. Firbank Grammar School is proud to be a leading independent school with a solid connection to St Andrew’s Anglican Church. Firbank students embody the motto, ‘Vincit qui se vincit’, or ‘One conquers who conquers oneself’.

Firbank Grammar School’s Boarding House aims to:

Provide a positive boarding experience for our students

Provide a safe, happy and comfortable environment

Provide excellent pastoral care and live the values set by Firbank Grammar School with positive peers

Provide opportunities for the girls to become leaders

Create a sisterhood of girls from all parts of Australia and the world where understanding, responsibility, tolerance, empathy and respect for others are lived out daily

Foster good communication between the Head of Boarding, supervisors, Boarders, parents and the local support person

Help the girls to realise their academic potential and make their hopes and dreams a reality.

Set within the spacious grounds of Firbank Grammar’s Senior School, the Boarding House is located in the Bayside suburb of Brighton. The location provides students with easy access to the Melbourne CBD and the beauty of the local Bayside Brighton environment, including beaches and shopping strips only 10 minutes from North Brighton train station. Senior students (Years 11 and 12) live on the top floor of the Boarding House, where they enjoy independence and self-regulation. Year 12 students only are accommodated in single rooms. Junior students live on the ground floor. All girls in Years 8 – 11 are expected to share a room with another Boarder to encourage interaction, tolerance and respect. The Boarding House aims to provide a community away from home which supports and enhances all students’ experience of academic, sporting, cultural and social life at the school. /Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).

Source: Mirage News


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