Boarding Bulletin Board

April 23, 2020

Boarding Bulletin Board (T2 24/04/20)

by Director of Boarding, Mr Mike Silcock

By now you would all be aware of our we (in Boarding) are navigating the challenge of providing that additional support to our Boarders and you, their families. As we reflect on the start to Term (2) we hope you do feel supported. There will have been a myriad of trials and tribulations that you and your sons will have faced and we do hope that our assistance has provided a degree of help and comfort. The ‘division’ of our Boarders between our senior Boarding staff was implemented to provide the opportunity for greater ‘one to one’ care. With this in mind I have invited Tam and Ryan to share with you all their reflections on the commencement of Term (2) and our move to online learning.

From my individual perspective, I continue to be motivated by our current predicament. I have also found great reward from the current situation. In my role, I principally am afforded small snippets, on a one to one basis, so have found the various online forums a great chance to spend more time with our Boarders. Whilst they are not in our direct care I actually feel in someway a greater connection with them. You will have all heard me say on many occasions that I follow and wish to instill in others the need to always reflect on our practices to ensure we are doing the very best by our Boarders. There is now a modicum of time to not only consider our Boarders, but also our broader Boarding program, which of course correlates and supports our Boarders. Tam, Ryan and I have commenced this past week a methodical process of pulling apart our Boarding practices to question if they are the very best way that we can be doing something. Boarding is often seen as very structured, very ordered, but if this current situation has taught us anything it is the need to be flexible. Whilst we will never be flexible on our founding principles to Boarding at the College we do feel that there is room for flexibility in some of our operational practices. Again, this motivates us, excites us even to think that valuable time and consideration is being spent on not only providing our heightened level of care in the most challenging of times, but we are also ensuring that when our Boarders do return, and they will, that they are returning to the very best Boarding program available. In what ever you are doing, please tread safely and do so together. It would be remiss of me to not point out that there is a silver lining to each cloud – and whilst we can not gather as a whole Boarding Community – we must cherish the precious time with loved ones. Do take care.

Reflection from Tamara Westwood:

As we are all aware, it has certainly been a unique and fascinating start to Term (2). I often think back to only a few weeks ago when I would flip from feelings of indifference to those of fear towards the unknown. Now we are all conscious that this is the new norm – I am filled with feelings of excitement and enthusiasm for what does and can lie ahead.

Within these first few days of online and remote learning, I have been constantly amazed at the adaptability of our Boarding students, along with their solution mindsets. Instead of looking for excuses, time and time again, our Boarders are finding solutions to challenges that they are faced with.

When I first connected with a Boarder via our online platform, I was that excited that firstly, I had managed to successfully manoeuvre through the connection process, and secondly, that I was still able to speak, hear and see our students, I actually forgot to acknowledge the reason for calling!

A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to ensure that our Boarders are confident and comfortable with this new method of learning, however, once again, I think it is important to acknowledge the smooth transition that has come from the students.

As we move forward through this unprecedented time, we have a lot of exciting and entertaining ideas to encourage the Boarders to stay connected with each other and the staff, while possibly even finding some hidden talents and skills that they may not have realised they had!

It is a difficult time for many of us, but it is important to find positives, as small as they may be, in all that we do. Look after yourselves and each other.


Reflection from Ryan Bullock

It feels somewhat hollow welcoming you back for Term 2 without seeing any Boarders return after the break. This strange and unique situation we are experiencing has certainly made me realise how much I value and miss interacting with my family, friends and our Boarders.

This past week I have contacted several of your sons via video, phone and messenger and it has highlighted to me just how resilient, mature and independent these young men are. Whilst I know there have been some early challenges with our transition to online learning each of your sons seems to be taking it in his stride and getting on with their work. I have scheduled either video chats or phone calls with each of your sons on a weekly basis. This is not only to check in on how your sons are going with their class work but to also have a general chat about anything that is going on in their lives and maintain our Boarding Community as best we can.

Without knowing the date of our return there have been three key areas that I have been encouraging each of our Boarders to be mindful of during this time. That is to maintain a healthy routine, whether that is our Boarding routine one they have created which allows them time to complete homework and have a good night’s sleep. Partake in regular exercise, whether that is a walk outside or a bike ride it is important they leave the house. Finally, to maintain contact with their friends and their fellow Boarders. Whilst is hard to have that face to face contact, I encourage them to connect via social media or a phone call to support each other during this time. If they can maintain these three areas and with the strong support of their families, we hope that this will help minimise the disruption in their lives.

Whist we will continue to support your sons from afar, I look forward to the day that we can welcome your sons back into our Boarding Community. My fingers are crossed that this will be sooner rather than later.