Richard Stokes began working in the boarding sector in 1980.

He has been involved with Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) since 1985 and is the current Executive Director.

Stokes says boarding schools are really good at adapting to change because of the on-going support and training available, like the Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium.

Why did you attend the Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium? 

As the Association that represents all boarding schools in Australia, we felt we must not only attend but take part in the Symposium.

The main role that boarding plays in giving Indigenous students the chance to attend schools is critical for all of our boarding schools to know and learn more about.

What did you gain by attending the Symposium? 

The reports discussed were really worthwhile, especially Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald’s presentation.

What was the key lesson/issue for you from each of the reports?

  1. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse 
    This was enlightening. Whilst I had read the reports, hearing from the Commissioner himself made it all real and valuable. He is speaking at our International Boarding Conference in Melbourne in October as well.
  2. The power of education: From surviving to thriving, Educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – HoRSCIA
    A really interesting and thought provoking presentation.
  3. Study Away Report
    Again, really useful information presented to reinforce the important work boarding schools do.

The theme for this year’s ABSA International Boarding Conference in Melbourne is Boarding: Opening Doors to the World.

‘It’s all about what we provide for the young people in our care,’ says Stokes.

‘Boarding schools actively aim to recruit students from a wide range of geographic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds.’

‘Many schools have students coming from all over Australia and dozens of different countries.’

‘At boarding school, students are exposed to a wide range of individuals and cultures, which better prepares them for life after school – in fact, it opens doors to the world!’

To find out more about the Conference visit The 2018 International Boarding Conference.

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