A warm welcome
to boarding

Since 1887 boarding has played a significant role in the development of Ascham. It promotes lifelong friendships within a very special community, one that is right at the heart of the School.

For boarders, the School is their home and the focus of their learning, creating a wonderful sense of community for the boarders and for every girl in the School.

Girls learn to live harmoniously with one another in a respectful and caring community and enjoy a supervised academic program as well as a comprehensive weekend activity program.
When our girls graduate they are enriched with the memories of their experiences, and the strong friendships they develop remain dear to them throughout their lives.

There are now more than 130 boarders from Years 7 to 12 with the majority from country NSW, and some from Sydney suburbs, interstate and overseas.


boarders (2021).


Sport plays an important role in the life of an Ascham boarder. Our girls regularly compete at the highest level, but participation at all levels is our goal. The girls enjoy Saturday sport and are regularly ferried to their venues by our day families, helping build bonds between day girls and boarders.

Healthy and happy

Ascham boarding provides health care and excellent meals by Ascham’s own chef. The Head of Houses and Boarding Coordinators play a key role in ensuring our boarders are happy, healthy and safe.

City Country Family Program

To help boarders settle into School life easily, the City Country Family Program aims to build a social link between day girls and boarders, and their parents. A day girl’s family invites a boarder to their home once a term and the boarder’s family reciprocates with an invitation to the country during the year. As a result, boarders and daygirls develop strong friendships.

Ascham comes to the country

We regularly attend Boarding Expos, held annually in Dubbo and other country locations such as Tamworth, Narrabri, Wagga Wagga and Griffith. The Expos are a great opportunity for prospective families to meet our staff, and for current families to say hello and catch up.

Social engagement

Parents of boarders are warmly invited to a wide range of events during the year. These include Ascham Parents’ Association functions and Boarder Parents’ functions in addition to regular information nights, plays, concerts and sports carnivals.

Each year, boarder parents run a stall at the Tennis and Family Fun Day, with produce and goods from the country.

Spending time with family and friends

Time spent with family and friends is important. We work with parents and girls to ensure the girls’ needs are met and their leave is balanced against their School commitments. It is important to us that the boarding houses remain vibrant and active communities at the weekends.

Our girls may take four full weekend and two overnight leaves per term. All weekend and overnight leave must be authorised by parents/guardians via the online leave system.

The first Sunday of Term 1 is closed for all boarders. This is an opportunity for the girls to enjoy an activity together. From Year 9 girls may go on group leave on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, to attend the movies or see friends. In addition, boarders can enjoy dinner leave with their parents or guardians during the week.

Boarding houses and facilities

Ascham offers a relaxed, friendly and home-like atmosphere in which our girls grow in confidence and self-esteem, and are helped to reach their full potential in all areas of School life.

Ascham has five boarding houses, each with its own, unique atmosphere. Each house has a live-in Head of House and Boarding Coordinator, who play a vital role in promoting Ascham’s values. Our staff make every effort to create an environment in which the girls are treated as individuals, feel valued and secure. Girls and staff live and work together across all the houses with warmth and respect.

Year 12 girls are allocated a single room, to help with their studies and provide a university feel.

Duntrim House

Duntrim House is the most recent addition to our community of boarding houses and accommodates Year 9–Year 12 boarders. The original, heritage property has been extensively renovated and expanded to create state-of-the-art accommodation for 60 girls, as well as staff. Facilities include modern bedrooms and bathrooms, a large Common Room, an intimate Reading Room, several informal break-out areas, games areas and a separate Year 12 House.

Patricia M Johnston Wing

Patricia M Johnston Wing, known as PJ, was purpose-built to house Year 12 students in single rooms.

Macintosh House

Macintosh is a boarding house with girls from Year 8 and Year 9 housed in a mixture of dorms of between two and four girls.

Raine House

Raine is a former family home located in a leafy garden with views of the city skyline in the distance. It houses Year 7 girls in a mixture of dorms of two to four girls, as well as three single rooms.

The Dining Room

As at home, the dining room is at the heart of the boarding school. Enjoying good food is a big part of feeling happy and safe away from home and we provide healthy and tasty menus for our boarders. The creative menu is cooked fresh everyday by the school’s restaurant-trained chef.

Boarders enjoy themed dinners in celebration of various events throughout the year. Each girl receives a cake on her birthday so she may celebrate with her friends.

Breakfast and dinner are served daily in the School’s Dining Room. At lunchtime, the girls get their food and join the day girls in the playground which helps build further connection between them. Baskets of fresh fruit, toast and other snacks are provided daily in each house.

Special dietary requirements are well-catered for and the girls’ eating habits are closely monitored by the boarding staff. A dietitian is consulted on a regular basis to assess and review the catering.

The Health Centre

The School has a strong team to care for the health of our boarders.

The Health Centre, located in Holmwood House, is easily accessed by all students and provides:

  • primary health care and first aid
  • promotion of and assistance in health education
  • medical and dental appointments for boarders
  • referrals to allied health professionals and our School Counsellors
  • flu vaccinations for staff and boarders.

The Centre aims to minimise health-related obstacles that can impede learning, individual development and personal wellbeing.

Visit the School

Once an application has been received, all families are invited to attend a comprehensive School Tour. It is vital that you see the School and its boarding facilities and meet the people who will be part of your daughter’s life. Because of this, attending a School Tour is a mandatory part of the enrolment process.

Our School Tours provide an opportunity to learn about our educational programs, to meet our senior and specialist staff, to see the School at work and to meet our Director of Enrolments and Community to discuss your daughter’s enrolment. The School will extend an invitation around three years prior to commencement at Ascham.

For our country families and families living overseas, we welcome the opportunity to show you the School should you be visiting Sydney during term time. In addition to receipt of your application, the School requests a fortnight’s notice to arrange a tour and organise for the family to meet relevant staff.

To discuss opportunities for a visit to Ascham please contact the Enrolments Office.

Year 9 Residential

This immersive program offers a term of boarding to girls in Year 9 to encourage independence, teamwork and resilience during what can be a challenging stage in their development.

The program involves a mix of physical, cultural and community activities and offers girls the chance to build their academic skills, and further develop their confidence.

Girls gain new friends, see different ways of approaching problems, learn new skills and acquire an increased appreciation for both school and home. Applications for the program are submitted in Term 4 of Year 8.

Amber writes:
Boarding has helped me to become more independent. I've learned how to plan ahead and I've established a good routine. Going to Prep and studying with other people helps me to focus and stay on task. Being a Resi has given me the chance to socialise with the other boarders and I've enjoyed the activities like jet-boating, the Year 9 Suppers, shopping, and just watching TV together in the Common Room.
Lizzie writes:
Living at the School has made it so much easier to study and do all my co-curricular activities; I have access to so many resources. Doing Prep in the Library means that I have teachers, tutors, and my peers to help me. Through living with a new group of people I have developed good communication skills, learning new ways to negotiate and get along. I've enjoyed getting to know the other boarders—in all the Houses, not just mine. We have lots of activities together; it's been really good fun!

Boarding Prep and academic support

We take care to provide a sound learning environment for our boarders and provide a robust academic support program.

All boarders in Years 7, 8 and 9 attend supervised evening study known as Prep, Sunday to Thursday.

Boarders in Years 10, 11 and 12 can choose to work in their own rooms in the boarding house, however they are encouraged to study in the library and discuss their studies and assignments with the Prep tutors.

From Term 1, 2021 Year 10 boarders will be expected to attend Prep from Sunday to Thursday.

A focused study time with access to the library, girls attending supervised Prep are required to complete two hours’ study each night and can choose when they attend.

Prep takes place in the school classrooms and offers the girls specialist expertise. Our dedicated Prep tutors include academic teaching staff and Ascham Old Girls and the Prep tutors work closely with the Boarding Prep Coordinator to enhance the quality and standards of the girls’ work in their academic endeavours.

Working in conjunction with the Prep tutors, Deputy Head, boarding house staff, teachers and year coordinators, Director of Curriculum and Learning Enhancement, the Boarding Prep Coordinator monitors the girls’ progress and welfare, ensuring a range of subject areas are covered.

Underpinned by the school values and principles of the Dalton Plan, the Prep tutors mirror the school’s teaching philosophy focusing on four key principles – collaboration, responsibility, reflection and independence.

The girls are primarily at Prep to work on their Dalton assignments and the Prep tutors work with the girls to help them take control of their learning and time management in a structured yet flexible learning environment, providing various strategies to engage with concepts and content and provide the specific skills for subject areas. For example, study skills are taught around tests and girls involved in the Reading Plus program are encouraged to improve their reading, often working in small groups. Study and exam tips, diary management and planning and how to improve organisational skills to achieve academic goals are also an integral part of Prep.

Boarding Activities

It’s fair to say boarders at Ascham are busy and their weekends are lively! With Ascham located only 3km from central Sydney, boarders can take full advantage of the cultural vibrancy that Sydney has to offer.

We provide a full and varied program of weekend activities that adds to the richness of life in boarding. We take great care to ensure everything is age-appropriate and meaningful to our girls’ development. Boarders enjoy organised visits to places such as the Powerhouse Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Luna Park, and the Botanic Gardens. Indoor rock climbing, visits to the movies, jewellery making and bowling make up some of the winter activities on offer.

At the start of each new term boarders have a Night In, where all boarders remain at the School to take part in a range of activities. This helps to build personal relationships and develop the wider boarding community as a whole.

Explore our Virtual Tours

Take a look at other areas of Ascham with our short introductory videos.

Ascham School