it's your place to live and learn
Ascham has welcomed boarders since 1887, and it plays a significant role in our School’s history and culture.
to living at Ascham!
Living at School is a very special experience—since 1887 generations of Ascham boarders have thrived at School and beyond the gates, become brave learners and forged friendships that last a lifetime.
Ascham cares for over 120 boarders from Years 7 to 12, with the majority from country NSW and some from Sydney suburbs, interstate and overseas.
Our boarding girls certainly get the most from School life: they live in comfortable, well-appointed boarding houses right at the heart of Ascham with supervised academic, weekend activity and wellbeing programs keeping them busy and engaged right through the School year. Sport plays a key role in a boarder’s life and the girls enjoy Saturday sport and competitions across Sydney. Day families help out with their transport building strong bonds between our day girls and boarders.
Mrs Allysia Heness-Pugh
Head of Boarding
Our overall priority is ensuring the wellbeing of boarders during their time at School: it is vitally important that they feel secure, comfortable and happy in their surroundings and themselves. Our Wellbeing framework, Vi et animo provides a well-established and immersive program that seeks to build and retain personal balance, grit and a sense of positivity for our girls, both in their academic pursuits and in developing their passions outside the classroom.
When the time comes for our boarders to finally say farewell to School, they leave with rich memories of their boarding experiences, embedded values for lifelong learning and a strong set of friendships for life.
The Head of Boarding, Heads of Houses and the Boarding Coordinators play a key role in our boarders’ wellbeing, taking a proactive approach to ensuring they feel, happy, healthy and safe, and providing appropriate support and guidance where necessary. Nutritionally, Ascham’s own chefs plan and make a wide range of balanced, high-quality meals.
Our City Country Family Program forms a social link between day girls and boarders, and their parents, so boarders can settle into School life easily. 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, day girls and their families develop strong friendships.
Parents of boarders are also invited to a wide range of events during the School year which include Ascham Parents’ Association and Boarder Parents’ functions, regular information nights, and parent webinars, performances, concerts and sports carnivals.
Time spent with family and friends is important and we work closely 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 as 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 and carers via the online leave system.
The first and last weekends of each term are a boarder’s ‘IN’ weekends and are closed for leave. Girls participate in a variety of engaging, fun and adventurous on and off-campus activities and it is a much-loved opportunity for the boarding community to come 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 carers during the week.
We regularly attend Boarding Expos and host Ascham functions in country NSW including Dubbo, Tamworth, Narrabri, Wagga Wagga, Scone, Yass and Moree. These events are the ideal opportunity for prospective boarding families to meet our staff, and for us to get together with our current families.
Boarding at Ascham offers a relaxed, homely atmosphere in which our girls feel safe and happy, allowing them to grow in confidence and self-esteem.
Our comfortable and supportive surroundings allow the girls to rise to the challenges of the Dalton Plan, immerse themselves in sporting and co-curricular activities, and reach their full potential in all areas of School life.
Ascham has four boarding houses, each with its own unique character, all of them well-appointed and welcoming. Each house has an experienced live-in Head of House and a Boarding Coordinator, who play a vital role in promoting Ascham’s values, supporting boarders in all aspects of life on campus and creating an environment in which girls are treated as individuals and feel valued and safe.
Year 12 girls are allocated a single room to support their studies and provide a stepping stone to university life.
The Dining Room
Enjoying good food is a big part of feeling happy and well away from home and we provide healthy and tasty meals for our boarders. The creative menu is prepared fresh everyday by the School’s restaurant-trained chefs.
Boarders love to celebrate! They enjoy themed dinners throughout the year and each girl receives a cake on her birthday to celebrate with her friends.
Breakfast and dinner are served daily in the School’s Dining Room. At recess and lunchtime, the girls select their meals and join their friends outside. 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 all our catering.
The Dalton Plan at Ascham is unique to teaching and learning in Australia, and we take great care to provide a suitably supportive and immersive learning environment for our boarders.
A key part of this is Boarding Preparatory work or ‘Prep’, which offers the girls specialist expertise through our dedicated Prep Tutors, drawn from academic teaching staff and recent Ascham graduates who mirror the School’s teaching philosophy and focus on the four key principles of Dalton – collaboration, responsibility, reflection and independence. This is done in close collaboration with the Boarding Prep Coordinator to monitor the girls’ progress and welfare and enhance the quality and standards of the girls’ academic endeavours across a range of subject areas.
The Boarding Prep Coordinator is part of a larger network of professional support that includes Head of Boarding, boarding house staff, teachers, Year Co-ordinators, the Director of Curriculum and Learning and the Head of Learning Enhancement.
The girls are primarily at Prep to work on their Assignments and our Prep Tutors work with the girls so they can 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.
Prep also integrates study and exam tips, diary management and planning, and how to improve organisational skills to achieve academic goals.
All boarders in Years 7 to 10 attend supervised evening Prep in school classrooms from Sunday to Thursday. Girls are required to complete two hours’ study each night and can choose when they attend.
Boarders in Years 11 and 12 can choose to work in their own rooms in the boarding house, but they are encouraged (and invariably take up the opportunity) to study in the library to discuss their assignments with the Prep tutors and collaborate with their fellow students.
‘Amazing’, ‘so cool’ and ‘really great fun’. Words that go only a very small way to describing their school lives—it’s fair to say a boarder’s week is busy and her weekends are lively!
The list of weekend activities is extensive and ranges from House theme nights and dinners, to organised visits to inspiring locations such as the Powerhouse Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Luna Park and the Botanic Gardens. Surfing at Bondi Beach, indoor rock climbing, visits to the movies, pyjama parties, jewellery making and bowling are also offered through the year. The first weekend of each term is a boarder’s ‘IN’ weekend and is closed for leave. It is a much-loved opportunity for the boarding community to come together and girls participate in a variety of engaging, fun and adventurous on and off-campus activities. Whatever the interest, we take great care to ensure everything is age-appropriate and meaningful to our girls’ development.
Ascham boarders are the envy of many as their School home is in the perfect location to take advantage of all that Sydney has to offer: only 3km from the CBD, 5km from beaches and with close access to buses, trains and ferries means our boarders thrive in Sydney’s cultural vibrancy and unique natural surroundings.
This immersive program offers a term of boarding to day girls in Years 9 and 10 to build 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 during Prep, 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.
The Wellness Centre—Holmwood House
Throughout their time at school, every girl will face academic and personal challenges so it is paramount that they feel supported, can draw on others and retain a sense of buoyancy in their daily lives.
In partnership with our wider Vi et Animo wellbeing framework, Holmwood House provides the necessary support for girls’ health. This fully equipped space is managed by a fulltime, highly experienced team and focuses on ensuring general health and minimising health-related obstacles that can impede learning, individual development and personal wellbeing. It offers:
- a safe environment for girls to seek help and support for their physical or mental health
- primary health care and first aid
- promotion of and assistance in health education
- medical and dental appointments
- referrals to allied health professionals and our School Counsellors.
We understand that where your daughter will live and learn is a major decision – and attending a tour is a vital part of this process. Nothing beats coming to Ascham and taking a guided walk around the campus.
You will see the School in action, learn more about the Dalton difference and our co-curricular programs, meet our senior and specialist staff, and talk with our Enrolments Manager to discuss your enrolment.
It is vitally important to us that all prospective boarding families see the School and its facilities, and meet the people who will be part of their daughter’s life, so tours are a mandatory part of the enrolment process.
For country families and those living overseas, we welcome the opportunity to show you our School — please contact us should you be visiting Sydney during term time.
Take a virtual tour
Our short introductory videos give you an insight into just how much there is for boarders to be part of!