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Boarding FAQ's


"The best thing I experienced as a boarder was making friends with girls from across Australia. This showed me the different experiences girls in the country have compared to me on the coast."

Sophie Ainsworth, Class of 2020, boarder from Newcastle

Who boards at Loreto Normanhurst?

The Boarding School welcomes students from the Sydney basin, country NSW, interstate and Australian expatriate families. Eighty five per cent of boarders come from country NSW.


How many boarders are there?

Loreto Normanhurst welcomes up to 185 boarders.


How does Loreto Normanhurst transition girls to boarding?

  • Orientation program in term four of the year prior to starting at Loreto Normanhurst, including a sleepover.
  • Transition program for Year 6 into Year 7.


How do boarders do their laundry?

  • Laundry is done off site three times a week.
  • Each dorm has access to a washing machine and dryer for delicate and emergency washes.


What happens if a boarder is sick?

  • The onsite Mary Ward Health Centre provides access to nurses and counsellors who assist with the holistic care of the boarders.
  • The nurse attends the boarders in the boarding school for medication early in the morning and the evening, as well as presenting wellbeing programs around nutrition, hygiene and personal development.
  • The Counselling team support the boarding school staff to deliver wellbeing programs as well as providing services in times of stress for the boarders. 
  • All of the boarder’s medical needs are met by the nurses in our health centre. They care for the girls on a daily basis and will be in contact with families if their daughter is unwell. 


What about if my daughter needs to see a specialist such as a physio or orthodontist?

Normanhurst is in an area well served by 2 hospitals and a variety of specialists. Younger girls are assisted in attending appointments and older girls can get there by train or bus. We encourage the use of local professionals in the Hornsby or Pennant Hills area.


When do most new boarders start?

Generally new boarders arrive at the start of the year for Term 1. The biggest groups will be in Year 7, 9 and 10. There are still girls that will come during the year at the beginning of other terms but these are in lower numbers.


How will I find my way around the boarding school and day school when I arrive?

 All new girls are allocated buddies to help their transition to a new school. In boarding you will have also have a boarder buddy to help find your way around and meet new friends and staff, and a day school buddy to help get to classes and extra-curricular activities.

 

What about technology?

Boarders hand their computers in each night until the end of Year 10 and they hand their phones in until the end of Year 11. This is in line with all best research and assists the girls in learning how to manage their technology and get a good night's sleep, undisturbed by messages and notifications.  

 The school computer and one phone and SIM are the only technology the girls have while in boarding

 

What will my daughter do on the weekend?

Loreto has extensive grounds and facilities available to the girls if they are staying on site. Programs are organised for Year 7 and 8 boarders on a Sunday and a Recreation Manager provides options and ideas for the older girls over the weekend as well. Saturday team sport is compulsory in the morning and there are options for competitive sport as well in the afternoon. There are movie nights and year group activities. Older girls make arrangements to travel into town with friends and of course there are plenty of opportunities for catching up on school work after a busy week.

 

How does Leave work?  

 Leave is entered and approved, by boarders, parents and staff through REACH. Leave is age appropriate and increases with age and experience. Younger boarders are supported by staff for outings and attendance at appointments. Older boarders travel with friends, or with appropriate permissions, are able to travel by themselves to attend appointments and on leave. There is a chart with all leave allocations on it available to parents and boarders.


Can my daughter take leave whenever she wants?

Leave allocations are generous with only one compulsory weekend in per term. It is expected that all boarders will be in from Friday afternoon to Monday morning on this weekend. Leave after school mid-week is closely monitored and is usually only in exceptional circumstances. The boarders have an incredibly busy program and the allocated study times are an important part of their program. Dinner leave is for special occasions and should be irregular, in particular if study is being missed.


Are there lounge rooms for the boarders to gather?

Each age group has a common room that the boarders access for afternoon tea and other social gatherings.


How does the food service work?

 Just like the family kitchen, the Dining Room provides a welcoming meeting place to enjoy a meal, study during exams or have a meeting. Breakfast and dinner during the week are in the Dining Room and on weekend all meals are taken here. During the week, dinner tables are arranged vertically (Year 7-12) and the Year 12 Table Head takes great pride in her running of the table. Games, dress up nights and theme nights are arranged by the Table Head to add to the camaraderie of the dinner sitting. 

 

What is the food like?

Chartwells provide a well-balanced menu for the boarders. The menu runs on a four-week cycle and is dietician approved. A new menu is provided each term. The boarders have access to snack foods in common rooms for afternoon tea and supper. Morning tea and lunch on weekdays is collected from the dining room by the boarders and then they head out to enjoy this with their friends. Lunch has a hot option as well as salad and cold meat choices. Dinner provides a number of choices for the boarders including meat and vegetarian options. Special diet options are also available.

Breakfast is served from 6.30am to ensure the early sport teams have access to food. Dinner is served between 6.00pm and 7.00pm and provides an opportunity for the boarders to come together every evening.


Who supports the Boarders academically and pastorally?

The Boarding Co-ordinator cares for your daughter and is available from 3.00pm, they are the regular contacts for you for all day-to-day issues that may arise for boarding students. There are Assistants and GAP students to help as well.  

The Boarding Heads of House assist the Co-ordinators in the smooth running of the dorm and are available for academic support and when pastoral issues are impacting on the girls' wellbeing. Of an evening, tutors from a range of subject areas come to the boarding school to help the girls when they need it.

There are nurses and counsellors available after hours for support when required.


What if my daughter is coming from a smaller school and may require help with adjusting to the academic work load?

 Academic Mentors are responsible for their incoming Year 7, 8 and 9 mentees from Orientation, as a supportive presence and a friendly contact point until they start the following year. This role offers new boarders with both a pastoral and academic ‘big sister’, allowing them to have someone they can meet with multiple times in any one week. From guiding and modeling their mentee in the development of effective time management and study skills as they transition into secondary schooling, to providing examples of positive and acceptable choices to their mentee and younger boarders.

 While they can be a social support, spending afternoon time or weekend time together in games, swimming, walking or excursions down the hill or even taking their mentee to appointments, the program allows them to get to know each other, where they are from, their family unit, birthdays, interests, hobbies, school activities, sport choices and weekend activities.

 The Mentor Program enables the development of happy and authentic relationships to grow into young Loreto women, exploring what brings them joy, what will enable them to be the best person they can be, whilst staying true to themselves.

 As such, the relationship between Academic Mentors and junior boarders can be continued throughout Year 7 and into Year 8 with the senior girls modelling successful academic skills and positive attitudes to learning and assisting the junior girls to themselves become independent and reflective learners.

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