The Stuartholme Boarding mission is to make every girl feel at home, loved as she is, comfortable and secure. When young women feel like this, they can do anything. They are ready to be challenged and extended to become the very best people they can be.
There are many benefits to boarding at Stuartholme. In addition to learning the independence and resilience that goes hand-in-hand with being away from home, the boarding community fosters a sense of family, belonging and inclusiveness with girls developing and building lifelong friendships. We know that when they exit the Stuartholme boarding community, each of these young women has the ability to make a profound difference to the communities they come from, to their families and to the wider world. Located at the base of Mt Coot-tha, only 6kms from Brisbane’s CBD, Stuartholme is close to everything yet provides the girls with a beautiful, peaceful and safe environment where they can live, learn and flourish.
Leadership for boarders
Boarding has developed formal structures to promote student leadership. The Big Sister/Little Sister Program allows Boarders in Year 11 to care for an individual Year 7 girl as she starts her new life in the boarding community. Other new Boarders are mentored by buddies from their year level. Each floor has its own House: Amiens and Grenoble. Elected by their Boarding peers and staff, each House has a Captain and Vice-Captain, who work with the Deputy Principal Boarding to give ‘voice’ to boarders’ issues and perspectives. The Captains run weekly House meetings and special events including ‘Boarders’ Got Talent’ and the ‘Anzac Cup’ weekend. There are also elected Year 12 Student Mentors for Years 7 to 10. The mentors run activities for the younger girls, and act as role models and peer helpers. Year Level Representatives from Years 7 to 11 work also with the Boarding Leadership Team to plan year level activities, raise student issues and concerns and propose creative and positive solutions.
Every day life as a Boarder
Accommodation and dining
Stuartholme School is a strong advocate of good overall health and wellbeing. Boarders are provided a varied and well balanced range of food, as assessed by a Dietician. Special dietary needs can be catered for. On school days, morning tea and lunch are provided to takeaway, so that Boarders can freely interact with the Day students. Evening meals are set in a homely dining setting where girls are encouraged to develop good eating habits and table manners.
The Boarding House is centrally positioned over three floors in our Main Building, originally built in 1920. The House has a capacity for 160 Boarding Students and provides an individual space with bed, wardrobe and ‘study nook’ with high speed wireless broadband for each girl. Boarders are encouraged to make it ‘their own’, by decorating their living space with items that mean something to them. The bathrooms have been refurbished with many mirrors and ‘Hollywood lights’ for those special occasions ie. semi-formals, formals and supervised dances. There is a common room known as ‘The Nest’ which includes kitchenette facilities and couches, and also a TV room with comfortable leather lounges for relaxation. The Senior girls have their own Common Room with cooking facilities, lounges and relaxation spaces. The girls also have access to other School facilities including the library, art department, tennis courts, music practice rooms and the pool.
Health, wellbeing & academic care
Our Boarding House has a Wellbeing Program to address the specific needs of boarders. Based on best practice psychology, the program is age specific and sits alongside the day school program. The strengths-based approach of the program focuses on increasing girls’ self-esteem, confidence and resilience. Boarding staff work closely with the Health Centre and School counselling teams along with the Deputy Principal – Student Wellbeing and Leaders of Student Wellbeing to ensure that each girl has a network of support if and when she needs it. Every boarder is inspired to achieve her personal best, and academic and/or vocational excellence. To do this, she is supported by a contemporary academic care program which includes the provision of academic tutors specifically for boarders. Each Stuartholme student is an individual with her own needs and story. Our dedicated Boarding staff strive to make each girl feel safe, comfortable and happy. An integral part of the School ethos is to ensure each student adopts a healthy balance in her daily life. All girls are encouraged to develop early independence in their study habits, to enjoy and contribute to their community and to participate in the many programs on offer. This is supported by the pastoral care structure of The House. Professional and caring guidance from the School Counsellors and Careers Advisor is also available to Boarders.
The well-appointed Sharon Beirne Health and Wellness Centre is staffed by a Nurse Manager and her team of registered nurses who support and work in close co-operation with the Boarding House staff. The Health Centre offers onsite GP, Physiotherapy and Podiatry services.
Stuartholme’s boarding staff are highly skilled and dedicated to their boarding roles. They undertake high quality personal and professional development and have regular and collaborative team meetings. Staff are active members of the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) and have presented at the State Symposium as well as hosting collegial gatherings with Marist College Ashgrove, St Josephs Nudgee College and some of Brisbane’s girls’ boarding schools. The Stuartholme Boarding staff role model inclusion and kindness to ensure that each girl is treated with respect, dignity and love. Assistant Heads of Boarding as well as a Recreation Officer work with the Deputy Principal Boarding to ensure that the needs of every boarder and her family are met and communicated effectively.
One advantage of living in the boarding environment is the additional time girls can apply themselves to their study, which assists in improving their academic results. Study takes place in a supported environment with very close supervision for all year levels. There is progressively more scope for independent study in senior years. The girls engage in carefully supervised study sessions in which they have a choice of how to study; they can work on their own, collaboratively or with the support of one of our teacher-librarians. 24/7 high speed wireless broadband and a well-resourced Library Centre, managed by a Teacher Librarian, are available to Boarders.
Stuartholme’s Boarding House recognises the vital role of clear communication and strong relationships with our parent community. In addition to the Schools online learning system and communication portal, the Boarding House uses social media, newsletters and a Boarding Parent Support Group as a way to stay connected. Feedback is valued and is an important means of improving our service and care of the girls. Our Boarding Staff are very happy to engage in discussions with Boarder parents relating to their daughters’ wellbeing, and social and educational progress.
Boarders’ Masses are held in the beautiful Stuartholme Chapel on Sundays at 5pm. Families are welcome to join us for Mass during this time. There is also a very active boarders’ liturgy committee run by the Director of Mission which meets weekly to plan readers, hymns and themes for weekly Masses.
All Boarders are able to enjoy and take advantage of the many academic, sporting, social and cultural opportunities offered by the School. On weekends, Boarders can visit family and friends or remain in The House and participate in a structured program of events. Boarders enjoy a range of age appropriate recreation activities planned and led by our Recreation Officer. Some of these are free and are onsite; others cost under $15 and take the girls to many exciting places in and around Brisbane. We also offer many activities in conjunction with our brother schools, Marist College Ashgrove and St Josephs Nudgee College. Some examples of activities include:
- Pet therapy – staff bring their pets to school for the afternoon
- Trips to the cinema for the latest movie
- Op shopping around Brisbane
- Ice skating and lawn bowls
- Shopping excursions to Southbank Young Designer Markets
- Chinese-themed dinners and outings to Sunnybank
- Visits to the beach and theme parks
- Jewellery making and cooking
- DIY activities like terrariums, slime and stress balls
- Trivia nights, film nights and games with Marist College Ashgrove and St Josephs Nudgee College boarders
Security of the girls is a high priority. External entrances are locked and alarmed and internal entrances to the Boarding House are also alarmed and supported by security cameras. Overnight Supervisors are on active supervision in the House seven nights a week to ensure girls are safe and happily asleep. They are also ready to assist those who may become ill during the night, or who might just need to have a talk because they are missing home.
Boarder leave enables girls to return home on weekends, stay at friends’ or relatives or go out mid-week for family or other functions. All leave must be entered and approved via the Stuartholme REACH online leave system. When giving permission for Boarders to go out or stay with friends or relatives, parents/guardians take complete responsibility for the supervision and care of the Boarder while she is away from The House. Younger students attend supervised outings in small groups after School and on weekends. Older girls are offered the flexibility of longer leave including dinner passes on weekend evenings or city passes allowing students to shop, visit relatives or see a movie.
Part time work
Boarders in Years 10, 11 and 12 are permitted to undertake part-time work. Boarders are required to have written permission from parents/guardians to seek and undertake employment. Details of the workplace including the name and number of a contact person must be provided to the Deputy Principal Boarding. Return after sunset must be via taxi. In consultation with parents, the privilege to work will only continue if it does not interfere with a Boarder’s studies and other School commitments. We advise boarders that they should not be working at a part-time job more than 12 hours a week.
Laundry and cleaning
A laundry service is provided for Boarders onsite in the School’s fully operational, industrial laundry facility. As part of this service, all school dresses are ironed by our expert laundry staff. Washing machines and dryers are available to Year 12 students for their personal use. The Boarding House is cleaned daily by a dedicated team of housekeepers and cleaners. Maintenance is also attended to daily and during School holiday periods by the Maintenance Manager.
"The best part about being a Boarder is I get to be around my friends. They’re always there for me and like a second family". Mena, Year 12