Boarding; your home for connection, care, and community

Trained supervisors, access to nature, and connection to home make GSG your first choice for boarding.

At Great Southern Grammar, boarding students make up about 25% of our school community. We know sending your child to boarding school is a huge undertaking, and we’re here to help make the transition as smooth as possible for the whole family.

As a boarder at Great Southern Grammar, your child’s happiness and safety is our first priority. Every adult that works in boarding holds a current Duty of Care certificate, as well as First Aid and Mental Health First Aid certificates.

We work closely with the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) to ensure that our care of your child is in line with the National Boarding Standard for Australian Schools and Residences.

Real talk: GSG boarding

The person who is going to be most affected by the transition to boarding is your child. It’s an exciting time, and we’ve got some insights from Alex, one of our Year Eight students. Alex is here to take you through a day in the life of a GSG boarding student.

Start your day

Mornings are a bit of a blur in boarding, especially because I like to squeeze in every last second of sleep. Once we’re up, dressed, tidied up, and ready to go, we head to the Dining Hall. It’s open til 8.15am and I love that I get to catch up with my friends over breaky.

One of the best things about boarding is that it’s on campus. When I was in Primary School, I took the bus (it was 45 minutes each way) but now all I have to do is walk across campus. Most mornings, I have time for a quick chat with Mum or Dad — they like to catch up each day, and honestly, so do I.

It’s a nice walk, too. There’s so much space at GSG, with access to Oyster Harbour for exploring. I don’t feel like I’m so far from home because I get to spend lots of time outdoors. Having said that, it’s Albany, so sometimes it’s pouring!

Head to school

Homeroom starts at 8.45am and now that I’m used to the routine, I know exactly what to expect from the school day. I recommend getting to know the school buildings before the first day of school; it makes the whole place seem less intimidating.

One of the best things about being in Year Seven at GSG is that, for most classes, your teachers will come to your Homeroom. That means you don’t need to worry about knowing your way around at first.

In the afternoon

When school ends at 3.10pm, there is still lots to do, but first things first: afternoon tea. We have afternoon tea at the boarding house. It’s usually fruit, veggies, and some kind of yummy cake or biscuit.

After that, some kids rush off to training, some of the older kids have jobs, and others head out to the courts or the oval for a kick of the footy. I joined a couple of teams when I got to GSG and it was a great way to meet lots of new people. If you’re not sporty, don’t stress. Joining just about any activity will help you make friends.

If you’re not in an organised activity, there’s time to go for a bike ride, walk out to the bird hide, or just explore the campus. Apparently, it's 144 acres and I think it’ll take me until at least Year 10 to explore every bit of it.

Evening activities

Dinner is at 5.40pm. The food in boarding is actually surprisingly good! Mealtimes are when being a boarder feels like I’m part of the biggest family ever. My annoying older brother is there. So’s my eye-rolling sister.

Kidding aside, the older students can be super helpful when you’re feeling homesick or overwhelmed. Between them, the Boarding Supervisors, the Gappies, and the other kids in your year, there’s always someone around to help you cheer up if you need it.

At 6.40pm on weeknights, we’ve got prep. That’s when we do our homework, study for assessments, or read. It was a big adjustment at first, but my tutors and boarding supervisors gave me lots of study tips so I try to use them to make the most of my study time.

It’s really important to make sure you don’t focus too much on the social aspects of being at GSG. Between rec activities, sport, and being surrounded by friends all the time, it’s easy to get carried away. I know — it happened to me last year. Once I started going to Academic Support each week and working on my organisation, everything started to feel easier.

After prep, there’s time to relax — call your parents, play games, or watch TV. I’m in Anchorage House and we’ve got Netflix and heaps of other options for movies and TV. Most nights, a bunch of us get into a heated Xbox battle after dinner.

Lights go out at 9.00pm for Year Sevens and Eights. At first, I found it hard to fall asleep because I felt homesick. My Boarding Supervisor was really helpful during that time. I still miss home, but now that I’ve made connections at GSG, I feel at home here, too.

A word on weekends

I’m going to start with a piece of advice: as tempting as it may be, try not to go home every weekend. There are lots of activities over the weekend and if you disappear from Friday afternoon to Sunday, you’ll miss lots of chances to make friends.

Weekend mornings are a bit more relaxed than school days. You’ll eat breakfast in your house, for a start. Boarding Supervisors are there over the weekend and they organise lots of things to keep us busy. My favourite weekend activities are pizza and movie nights, and sometimes we head to Middleton Beach or out to Denmark for the day.

If we need to go into town, we book transport through REACH so we can get picked up and dropped off.

Everything is more relaxed on the weekend, but there are still set times for meals and lights out. Before I got here, I thought I’d be going home every weekend, but now I prefer to stay in most weekends so that I don’t miss out on anything!

Signing off

That’s it from me. Remember this: whether you’re nervous, excited (or a bit of both) about boarding school, your experience is what you make it.

Try new things, be open-minded, and ask for help if you need it.

And one last thing: be yourself! Trying to be cool all the time is exhausting and your boarding fam wants to get to know the real you.

Got questions about boarding?