Monday 13 May 2024


I often ponder what a wonderful industry we work in - how we develop so many connections with wonderful people, both young and old, and how we are privileged to be able to learn so much from them all.

And with the start of a new year we see over 1,000 new staff join the Australian Boarding scene, with nearly a quarter of our boarding places gaining new leadership, with young staff venturing into their first world of work, with older staff taking a turn in their careers - isn’t it an exciting journey we are all on.

Our work at ABSA takes us to many places - most recently across the country to Alice Springs, Dubbo, Perth and Quorn to connect with and support the wonderful work of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, the parents of the children who represent over 75% of our boarders. The passion to see their children receive equal access to education never fails to amaze, but also reminds us how important our work can be in the boarding house - being that place away from home which provides support, guidance, understand, a listening ear, opportunity and stability to list just a few.

People who work in boarding are a special breed and looking after other people’s children is a special responsibility. Too often we don’t salute and recognise you all for the amazing work you do. Just recently we were asked what are the most important characteristics to look for in potential boarding staff and my answer began with ‘the need to like working with children’. How amusing, when you look at the myriad of responsibilities upon the shoulders of boarding staff that the most important criteria might be a desire to work with children!

So this Easter, as I sit here finalising this first edition of Lights Out I hope that all of you working in boarding can celebrate the incredible work you do. Boarding Staff day on Friday May 17, as part of National Boarding Week, is one special day we are hoping to get boarders, their families, and all other school staff to publicly honour your wonderful service. We encourage you to look at the Accredited Boarding Practitioner program we offer to help all boarding staff be recognised for their service and professional standing - the application process is easy and the awarding of this professional recognition most worthwhile.

Enjoy your opportunities to guide and support the young people in your care - they will remember you well in their future.