Some are steeped with history of prestigious alumni, while others are seen as simply the means to an educational end; but whatever the individual experience, boarding schools have been around for centuries and are becoming increasingly popular. Despite the state by state boundaries of the education system, and regardless of any educational standard being pursued by the school itself, Australian boarding facilities can be guided by AS 5725:2015, Boarding standard for Australian schools and residences, in managing their operations.
A national approach
From a legal perspective, the difference in education systems across state and territory borders is mirrored in the legislative requirements affecting boarding services in Australia. In an effort to address this, AS 5725:2015 seeks to provide a common framework across all jurisdictions and is intended to be of benefit to both service providers and users. In doing so, this standard outlines requirements for the management and operation of residential boarding services for students attending school, including those governed by the school or independently.
There are a number of specific examples as to how this standard seeks to improve the safety of boarders, including the following requirements:
- A trained person be accessible at all times who can administer and manage CPR, allergic reactions, diabetes, epilepsy, and the distribution of medication.
- Regular review of the record of critical incidents and injuries undertaken by a designated officer.
- Working with children clearances for all personnel.
- A program promoting social responsibility.
In developing a minimum requirement across Australia,
parents in every state and territory can be assured there is a guidance available for providers of boarding facilities on how to best manage the welfare of children.
Again, its availability across each state and territory means this standard can give peace of mind to parents of boarders right across Australia that there is guidance for those supervising their children.
27,000 reasons to get it right
While the coverage of this standard is limited to those directly involved with boarding, this is no small group of people.
In 2016, there were over 27,000 boarders piling into 200 boarding schools across the country and the numbers are continually increasing.
Prior to their development, every standard must demonstrate how it is going to provide a net benefit and while AS 5725:2015 is targeted to those directly involved with boarding facilities, the clear benefit of this standard is the guidance it provides for the safe management of children as they head off to boarding school.
As mentioned, the coverage of this standard is limited to those directly involved with boarding, however even in this specific circle it extends to those working in a boarding facility, boarders themselves, and anyone interacting with a boarder. Such a broad, and nationally relevant, standard may not impact every single Australian but will certainly have a major impact on the educational sector in each state and territory.
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