Joel Norton moved to Darwin in 2012 after selling his Adelaide Advertising Company of 12 years.

He became Operations Manager for Detention Centres.

His experience soon won him the position of Head of Boarding at Marrara Christian College.

This year Joel attended the Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium in Canberra.

He shares his thoughts on the event with us.


“If people are seeking help or assistance then we should always be happy to help those in need,” says Marrara Christian College Head of Boarding, Joel Norton.


Why did you attend the Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium?

I felt it was an important event to go because different sectors of the boarding and education sector were attending.

I wanted to be a part of the discussions around strategies to strengthen Indigenous boarding nationally.

What did you gain by attending at the Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium?

It was invaluable to hear a range of people discuss how boarding can be delivered better.

From best practice, to policy and procedures, to improving Government fiscal measures, the discussions were productive.

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

Listening to the Commisioner, Robert Fitzgerald on The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse I learned that:

The power of education: From surviving to thriving report demonstrated a need for a National Standard to ensure transparency and accountability for all facilitators working in boarding.

Professional training in cultural education, health, social and emotional wellbeing needs to be mandatory and ongoing.

Making ABSTUDY simple was the obvious issue from the Study Away Report.

The complexity of the forms has to be simplified for families to complete.

What would you be interested in reading more about in boarding publications and social media posts?

I would like to see how boarding providers are caring for Indigenous students.

This would create a transparent environment for boarding providers to share success stories of our fantastic boarders.