There are 47 boarding schools in New South Wales. Most are private schools with high fees, charging up to $73,000 for boarding and tuition at schools like Kambala and King’s. At the coeducational Red Bend Catholic College in the west-central part of the state, the high school placement fee is approximately $25,000.
Tanya Mitchell, president of the New South Wales Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association, said the cost of boarding school is now “beyond what most families can afford.”
Mitchell said of three public boarding schools in regional New South Wales, which generally charge about $13,000 a year, two are coeducational and one is an academically selective all-boys school in the north-west of the state. “Particularly for families from the northwest of the state, there is no public boarding school for girls. And some fees make it difficult when families want or need a meal option.
“Families tell us they would really like the option of a girls’ public boarding school,” she said.
But in Sydney, where schools like Loreto Normanhurst and Knox Grammar, both charging more than $60,000 for tuition and board, principals claim demand for on-campus housing is rising. In Loreto, home to about 200 boarders, the school is planning a $130 million redevelopment that will include a new four-story boarding school as part of its 30-year master plan.
Scott James, headmaster of Knox Grammar School, said most of the boarding students at the all-boys school were from rural New South Wales or abroad. “Although in some countries the number of boarding students is declining, there is still demand from parents and families with current day students who want to transfer to boarding schools,” he said. “It generally reflects the busyness of parents.”
The Pure Boys St. Joseph’s College at Hunters Hill was a boarding-only school with more than 900 students until about 25 years ago, said Principal Michael Blake.
“As the numbers dropped, the school began enrolling day boys to remain viable. “The school is now open to day students with extracurricular activities until 8 p.m.,” he said.
About half of St Joseph’s 1,000 students are boarders, many from Dubbo, Hunters Hill, Tamworth, Gladesville and Mudgee. “But there are also Hunters Hill boarders … there are some whose bed at home is less than 100 feet from their dorm bed,” Blake said.
When Sabine started in Loreto in the seventh grade, she was just one of two boarders who came from the city. “We now have girls from the Central Coast area and even downtown from Roseville and Paddington.”
“I enjoy the independence; The only downside is homesickness, but I go home most weekends, which makes it easier,” she said.
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