‘Creating a more homely feel’ which addresses some of the real challenges our boarders face, is at the heart of our current review of boarding.
Boarding Update – some background
During the October 2014 Board of Proprietors meeting feedback was given on survey results from parents specifically about boarding. From there the Board made the decision to task the School with investigating the possibility of establishing a full boarders’ boarding house. The next step was consulting with boarding staff and from there significant consultation across the School. First, we spoke with Student Leaders to hear their thoughts and now we are talking with all boarders. We are sharing possible ideas with the students during this consultation but more importantly we are hearing their thoughts and ideas on boarding. The next step will be talking to parents. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us once you have received all the information on the proposal. This will happen later in Term 2. Towards the end of the term a trial period is planned and in Term 3 final decisions will be made about what boarding at Woodford House will look like from 2016.
Boarding Update – the details
Late last year, through the boarding survey, parents were invited to give feedback on the successes and strengths of our current system, as well as help to identify aspects for further improvement. The two most common threads from this survey were improving flexibility in regards to leave and return times, and managing lonely girls on the weekends. Early last term an updated Handbook was sent home which included our new ‘weekend leave’ requirements and flexible return times for weekly boarders.
We have spent many hours working through a raft of possible ways to reduce the loneliness some of our girls experience on the weekends. The main contributing factor is our current structure which spreads the girls across five different boarding houses and requires some of them to relocate for the weekends, whereas others are sometimes in boarding houses which feel quite empty. Moving forward, we believe housing all the full boarders (Years 7-12) in one boarding house may offer a solution. Boarding staff have met with the current Year 10-12 boarders to discuss this as a possibility and to explore their ideas. On the whole, the idea of a ‘full boarders boarding house’ was very well received. The girls have been tasked with the job of thinking through any other possible solutions, and ways in which a ‘full boarders’ boarding house’ could be made to feel more like home. We encourage parents to discuss these ideas with their daughters and to put forward some possible solutions. Our next step will be meeting with Year 7-9 full boarders this week to hear their ideas. We hope to be able to trial some of the changes next term.
Girls in Sport
Hockey, soccer, netball and healthy snacks were some of the highlights for the girls involved in our annual ‘Girls in… Day’. With the focus this year on sport, Chris McIvor and his team put together a fabulous programme that kept the forty Year 6-8 girls from schools as far afield as Taupo on the go and challenged for the four hours they spent with us at Woodford. New connections were fostered during fun activities which encouraged girls to work alongside girls they had not met before. With a common interest in sport it did not take long for the chatter and laughter to spill over… For some this was their second ‘Girls in …’ experience, whereas for others it was their first time through the Woodford gates.
Mrs Catherine Bentley, DP – Director of Students