BOARDING A new term, a new start
Whether to send a son to board at College is a huge decision for many families. There’s always much to weigh – family tradition, perceived advantages, educational excellence, cost and, not least, the absence of a family member to a boarding institution for the greater part of each year. Boarders are an integral part of College, a team within a team – they’ve been around for generations, and boarding facilities have operated since about 1852. Today’s boarding experience bears little resemblance to the past. It’s a different era with different priorities and a different outlook.
Facing this head on is Ben Vink, who became Assistant Principal – Boarding and Immerse & Inspire in 2021. He’s been engaged as a deputy or Housemaster at College for the past 12 years, the last three as Housemaster of Flower’s House. A parent himself, Ben appreciates the difficult decision parents must make to send their sons away from home and to a boarding environment. “What you gain from being a parent yourself, is how hard and big a decision it is to send a son boarding. That sits in the back of my mind – and I respect that.” Having delivered their boys into the boarding environment, it is then up to the staff to ensure they receive every support for healthy growth and maturity.
Ben says one of the things he most enjoys is the depth and quality of relationships formed through boading. “They can be far more powerful than you find in a day House”. The pastoral element is a big part of his job, but so, too, is a desire to look at cultural change, to embed biculturalism, and to improve the professionalism of boarding staff and their relationship to the boys. A lot of it was already under way under former Director of Boarding Darrell Thatcher’s watch, who effected changes and recommendations made by the Australian Boarding Schools Association in 2016, including a greater consistency across the three boarding Houses.
Christ’s College Canterbury
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