Frequently Asked Questions
We know that you will have many questions.
Our team has had over 20 years experience in assisting families. Here are some of the questions asked by families and things you need to ask yourself in preparation to decide which school or location may be best for your child. No doubt, you will have more questions, and we look forwardWe look forward to answering any further specific questions when you contact us. They are not listed in any order.
Q. Will my child be safe?
A. Australian on the whole is a very safe destination and despite including major cities, you should have no concern about your child being safe. In addition, each of our schools ensure a secure environment and have outstanding pastoral care programs in place at the school as well as health centres, counsellors and teachers all available for your child's wellbeing. Your child will be well-cared for and safety is of the highest priority of each school.
Q. Will there be 24/7 supervision?
A. Most definitely. Directors of Boarding and supervision staff live in-residence at the boarding house and during the school hours there are mentors/tutors and specialised faculty caring for your child's academic, social and spiritual care. Students are required to sign in/sign out and there are restrictions (zones) of where students are permitted (as far as distance) from the boarding house residence. Also, younger students are only permitted to venture locally away from the boarding house and even then they must be in groups of students, with an older student in attendance with the younger group. At all times, the supervisors will know where your child is going and curfews for return times are put into place. Study time is also supervised and all students have set times of an evening to undertake homework (under supervision and assistance by faculty on duty).
Q. What are the academic results of the school?
A. These schools are highly reputable and well-respected schools. They rank in the top 1% of school academic achievements in Australia. They are among the oldest schools in Australia. The very fact they have reputations to protect means they will be ensuring your child achieves to their full potential. These outcomes are not only addressing academics, they are focusing on building the character of each student so that each student becomes the best they can be, extending to practicing respect, values, manners, compassion, leadership and more. Your child will grow into a fine young man or woman as a result of attending any one of these schools.
Q. Does the school provide learning support or can it extend my child if they are clever?
A. Each of these schools have specialist staff and programs to extend the gifted student and support the student who is requiring assistance to reach their full potential. Schools of this quality have staff who understand how to teach boys and how to teach girls 'differently' as each learns at a different pace and prefers a different style. Some schools also offer a mixed environment on occasion as this assists in preparing students as they mature, for their University lives following school. Importantly, if your child is clever, they will be provided further challenges to keep them engaged with their learning. If your child needs help, it is provided in a caring and supportive manner and goals are given which are achievable, thus ensuring self-esteem is retained.
Q. Is there a Performing Arts program as my child has extraordinary talent?
A. Outstanding performing arts are offered at each of the schools. These performing arts programs are referred to as a 'school within the school'. For gifted musicians, dancers, singers or those heading to an acting career or musical theatre, certain schools offer a great pathway. Music, dance, drama, voice - are offered by all schools. Some more specialised than others. Some of the schools actually offer a 'School of Performing Arts' specialised program.
Q. What is the accommodation arrangements, ex. single rooms, shared rooms?
A. It depends on which school. Most offer shared accommodation from either 2-4 per room for younger students as it is proven that younger students need the support of friendships, laughter and social comfort. For older students, rooms are either 2 per room share or single rooms, as older students require space, privacy and quiet study areas as homework is greater and they are preparing for graduation outcomes. Every boarder will have their own study area and wardrobe. Communal areas are comfortable, and offer many recreation pursuits and feel like a home environment.
Q. Are there many activities for boarding students during weekends and what about school breaks and vacations?
A. Yes. All the boarding schools ensure that during weekends, their boarding students are occupied either in their own pursuits (with permission) or in organised school activities. Organised school activities can be out to the movies, museums, shopping, sport games, concerts, beach trips and more. Boarding houses of brother/sister schools also organise pizza or BBQ nights at one another's boarding residences (under supervision of course).
Q. My child will probably be very homesick, how will this be monitored?
A. Boarding schools' staff are trained professionals and have extensive experience in understanding and managing home sickness experienced by students. The caring, warm, friendly environment provided to students will never replace 'home' but the aim is to have students 'feel at home'. Having a friend is very important and in the boarding houses, students make friends with fellow new students and experienced students who help any newly arrived student to integrate, be introduced to others and to 'find their way' around the boarding environment and the school day classes. As time progresses, students will sort out their own friendships and home sickness diminishes. These important early weeks are monitored by staff and assistance and comfort is provided constantly. Parents play a big role in helping boarding staff help their child. They should not constantly phone their child - maybe even be a little 'unavailable' over the first few weeks so that their child does not use 'home' as a crutch that they cannot get rid of. Time is needed. At first your child may wish to phone you 'everyday'. These calls will slowly become less - until the point you will need to phone your child as they will be 'too busy' and enjoying their friendships and school life.
Q. Is a parent able to visit the school at any time?
Of course. Parents must first advise school staff of their plans so they are able to plan for the visit and ensure that parents have meetings with any staff members organised. Schools enjoy having parents participating in the life of the school and welcome the involvement. The school staff will see parent visits as an opportunity to discuss a child's progress and well-being. Please let the school know in advance of intention to visit. The schools encourage parents and to visit the school before the student starts the school year.
Q. What is the induction procedure once our child arrives at the school?
A. Every school has a planned and carefully prepared orientation/induction procedure. It will include a tour, introductions to not only staff but also to possible 'friends' to assist the child settling in and getting to know others and routines. It could also include fitting of uniforms, setting up of bank account and meetings with faculty in regard to subject selection and timetable preparations. Safety drills, fire exits and what to do if they feel unwell - are all covered by orientation/induction programs.
Q. What should they bring? Is bedding and linen provided or do we need to supply this?
A. All schools provide bedding and linen for students entering boarding school from overseas destinations. As many students like to personalise their own space, it is recommended that if a parent is accompanying their child for their commencement that they consider taking their child shopping for items such as bedside lamp, an additional bed blanket / or bedspread and other small personalised items to make their space feel like home. Each school is a little different and so these details need to be checked with the Director of Boarding prior to the child's expected arrival so that parents are prepared to provide what is required, know it will be provided, or provide funds for the purchase of these items. The Director of Boarding will be in communication with new families to extend a warm welcome and to assist with any questions a family may have prior to their child's arrival into boarding.
Q. Is there an ESL program at the school?
A. Each of our schools offer English language support whether it is English as a Second Language intensive programs or English Language support assistance / classes. The cost of each support program varies depending on the school and the extent of the support required. Some schools offer their own intensive language programs at the school, so that a student is able to transition from the school's own English language course into mainstream classes once ready. Other schools will require students to undertake intensive language weeks to improve their English prior to commencing at the school. All will offer ongoing support once commenced at the school. Whether a student requires intensive high school preparation English prior to commencement will depend on results and recommendations from assessment testing, which all schools do require.
Q. What subject choices, sporting choices are available?
Lists of subjects at each of these schools are extensive and each school has specialised programs. Visit each schools tab on our website and click on Academics for a list of subjects, co-curriculum or extra-curricular for sports, clubs, the arts and performing arts offerings. Subject availabilities can change year to year and each grade level varies.
Q. What is the minimum period that a student can enrol for at the school?
A. The minimum period is usually for 6 months. A couple of the schools will consider shorter term students, but this is on a case-by-case basis and depending on space availability at the school or in the boarding residences. You will need to check with our ABSI enrolments team.
Q. What if the child gets sick?
A. There are trained staff (in many instances, registered nurses) who are in attendance or on call 24/7 for the students and boarding students of the school.. Should your child require more serious attention through illness or injury such as medical attention by a doctor, surgeon or hospitalisation - the nominated local guardian and the parents will be notified immediately. Parents will also be communicated with about any other illness their child may suffer, such as viral illness where they require isolation. Health insurance covers the needs for your child and is compulsory for student visas to be issued. Health insurance is arranged by schools and is part of the enrolment process.
Q. Are school reports issued to me regularly?
A. Yes. School reports are issued very regularly for all students. In addition to school reports, there is daily contact with House Mentors/Tutors who get to know your child extremely well. Where any issue arises, which requires parental involvement, you can be sure you will be contacted immediately. Updates are provided between school reports about your child's progress and wellbeing are also communicated by the pastoral care teams at the school.
Q. What mix of international students are already in the school?
A. Or schools range from 2% to 7% international students. The aim of each of the schools is to ensure a diversity of cultures and never too many students from any one country. In fact, our schools are restricted through Government registration about how many international students they are able to accept. The Australian education providers are monitored and regulated very stringently by the Australian Government.
Q. What are the school semesters?
A. Semester 1 usually begins late January / early February and ends late June / early July. Semester 2 usually begins in July and ends in December. The exact dates vary school to school, year to year. In Australia schools operate under four terms per year. Term dates can be found in our information tabs for each school.
There are so many more questions.
It is important to also note that in addition, we take into consideration the student's personality: shy and quiet or outgoing and social? independent learner or needs to be assisted to keep focus? These will all affect which school and which location will be best suited for their study abroad education.
We here at ABSI work as part of each school's admission team. We were appointed by these outstanding schools to focus on their international students’ admissions, needs, provision of information and facilitation of the entire entry process. We know these schools amazingly well! One school may suit your child better than another. It is important to be open-minded about location. Don't select a location based simply on the fact you may have visited a city for two days. This is the future of your child. Your child will be able to pathway to ANY University destination, ANY city after schooling - even an overseas University. The important fact is they are happy at school. The school matches their personality, provides them security and comfort and progresses them to the end higher education (University) destination of their choice and provides them the assistance for that pathway. At school, they need to remain focused and happy to achieve the academic standards they need to progress. They need a focused study environment, they need nurturing. Allow us to assist to match your child's needs, personality, needs for academic assistance, language development and so on ... with the school that will best meet their needs.