A family away from home

boarding room with boys talking

By choosing to board, your son’s education and personal development is taken care of 24/7 by Joeys’ caring and professional staff. Every minute of every day is directed towards realising your son’s talents and moulding him into a man of good character and integrity. Without the distractions of home life, boys can spend quality time studying and involving themselves in the many co-curricular activities the College has to offer. Boarding enables students to achieve their very best. It allows boys to form closer relationships with their school mates and create the bonds that will last a lifetime. In essence, boarding at Joeys is a family-away-from-home experience. It also relieves the pressure on parents who face heavy work commitments and ensures time spent together with their sons is quality time.

Full-time and weekly boarding

Boys from overseas, and rural and regional NSW – places such as Dubbo, Young, Forbes, Wagga Wagga, Condobolin and Moree – take up the traditional enrolment option of seven-day-a-week boarding, given their families live too far away to make a weekly journey home.

However, in contrast with earlier years when opportunities for off-campus leave were restricted, full boarders today are allowed overnight leave with their parents any Saturday night during the term, returning to the College by 8pm on Sundays.

As well, country and overseas parents who are visiting their sons or attending College events or sporting fixtures are able to stay at the Country Club – short-stay accommodation opposite the school gates in Mark Street.

With their parents’ approval, full boarders are also allowed overnight Saturday leave to stay with other adult relatives and family friends – and with the families of their fellow Joeys students. The warmth, hospitality and care shown to full-boarding country and overseas students by city families – and vice versa during holidays – has become a hallmark of the close Joeys community, forging family connections and friendships that endure long after boys have left the College.


A parent’s perspective

Anne James – Mother of Calum, Lachie and Duncan

My husband, Al, is a Joeys Old Boy. He graduated in 1982. We met at university where I would proudly wear his Joeys jersey around campus, naive then to its true significance – and what it implied for our future.

When our first son Calum was born, Al excitedly made phone calls to both our mothers to let them know of his safe arrival. He also rang Joeys to put Calum’s name down. I was slightly shocked as Cal was only minutes old, but Al assured me that this was what everyone did as soon as a son was born into the family.

We had always kept the idea of Joeys for our boys’ high school education, however, living in Newcastle, we had a number of school options we thought were good. It quickly became apparent, however, that our boys were being lost in a system where nobody really seemed to care.

Our decision to start them at Joeys was really driven by Calum. I clearly remember the conversation I had with him at the start of Year 8, when we were no doubt having a firm discussion about the lack of homework being done. I remember him in tears saying he didn’t know where and how to begin.

“Mum, I want to do really well and it’s not going to happen here,” he said. “You have no idea of the culture here where no one wants to do well and achieve. I need to be somewhere where I am made to do it. I want to go to Joeys!”

Our boys have had life-changing experiences and forged friendships at Joeys that will last a lifetime. Ironically, the things I worried about with the dorms were the things they loved most. They felt like they were on school camp every night. They have learnt to shear sheep, shoot roos and do doughnuts in a ute, and have developed a real understanding of the hardship our country friends face.

My boys have very different personalities, ranging from very confident and outgoing to more reserved and self-doubting. I remember when we were thinking about the school, someone said to me, “There is a place for everyone at Joeys”. It really is true. There is a sense of belonging for everyone, no matter your interests, abilities and personality.

Joeys has instilled in our boys a great sense of pride and quiet, humble confidence. It has given them the ability to go into a room and engage those around them. It has also instilled values, ethics and aspirations and a true belief that they will be able to achieve their goals through commitment and hard work. They really do become part of something more and something they can be proud of.

Joeys had been an all-boarding school since 1881. When the College extended enrolment to day boys in 1996, no one foresaw that many of them would ultimately choose to become boarders. About 80 day students convert to boarding every year. Years 11 and 12 typically have more boarders than other year groups, because by that age, most boys have witnessed the benefits of boarding –  from the camaraderie to structured study – and decide to opt in.

Before making the final decision, day boys of any year group can experience boarding life on a three-week trial basis, free of boarding fees. During this time the boy and his family will be able to assess if boarding is the right option.

At the end of the trial the boy can choose to return to his status as a day student. Alternatively, if the student, his family and College staff agree boarding is a suitable option, the College will facilitate a change in enrolment from day student to boarder. This change in enrolment would take place at a time that is practical and suitable for both the family and the College.