Things to consider when choosing a boarding school

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Boarding schools offer students a unique educational experience with opportunities for learning and growth. With a range of different options available from single sex to co-educational or public vs private, choosing a boarding school can be overwhelming.

Determining the right boarding school out of over 180 in Australia is often a difficult decision and finding the most suitable one is largely dependent on your personal preferences.

Why choose boarding?

In the boarding environment students spend time focusing on academics and extracurricular activities which cultivates a distinctive community feeling. Students often build lifelong friendships as they learn to understand group dynamics and establish independence.

While boarding can take readjustment, students develop important life skills such as building good study routines and understanding time management which helps prepare them for a successful future.

What are the options out there?

Boarding schools consist of all boys, all girls and co-educational options. As each student has different needs, understanding which type they are better suited towards requires careful consideration.

Independent schools are the largest provider of boarding in Australia with options in capital cities like Wesley College in Melbourne and St Joseph's Nudgee College in Brisbane, as well as in regional centres including NEGS in Armidale and Rockhampton Grammar School.

Some public schools offer boarding such as Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in Tamworth and Yanco Agricultural High School, while there are also boarding options operated by community-based organisations such as Rotary Residential College.

Factors to consider

Personal values

Each boarding school will have their own ethos and philosophy that is reflected through its atmosphere. Australian Boarding School Association (ABSA) chief executive Richard Stokes recommends researching a school and their culture carefully to ensure they fit with your family values. Knowing your own values such as academic excellence or leadership will help form an understanding of which types of schools best align with your beliefs.

Pastoral care and wellbeing

As boarding school is a home away from home, established pastoral care programs can provide students with a nurturing environment where they can develop independence and build positive relationships. Comparing different boarding schools' approaches to pastoral care can assist in finding a school that best suits your child.

Boarding costs

Analysis of boarding fees in our Edstart School Fees Report found that the cost at private schools can be as high as $33,800 in NSW and up to $26,000 in WA. Public boarding fees are approximately $13,000 while community run residential colleges are around $18,500.

While the cost of boarding can add up, Richard Stokes from ABSA believes that boarding fees provide value as they often include additional items such as meals, safety supervision, extracurricular activities and tutoring. For parents concerned about upfront boarding fees, our payment plans can be used for boarding which helps spread the cost into weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments.


Bringing your child to visit different boarding schools and asking for their input will help them feel a part of the decision making process. Once your decision is made, ABSA recommends remaining confident and trusting your intuition!

About Edstart
Edstart is a leading technology and financial services company providing funding and payment services for education. We offer fee management solutions to schools and flexible payment plans to parents to help make school fees easier to manage.

To see how we can help you, visit our main website.

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