Indigenous Education & Boarding Australia was originally incorporated in 1995 as the National Association for Rural Student Accommodation (NARSA). NARSA acted as a peak national body to represent and support regional and remote boarding services with children in education, predominantly of secondary school age.
In 2011 NARSA renamed as Boarding Australia (BA). BA’s major achievements include:
- The development of the national boarding standards and production of the Quality Service for Boarding Schools and Residences – A Framework for Successful Boarding Operations Handbook to help service providers meet public and government expectations in relation to boarding services for school students.
- Producing the Guide For Indigenous Parents & Boarding Service Providers through a Parents and Communities Engagement (PaCE) project. This project picked up on Standard 7 of the National Boarding Standards that focuses attention on community engagement and recognises the important role of parents in the student’s wellbeing and education.
- Development of a range of ‘tools’ for implementing and assessing the effectiveness of Restorative Practice in the student boarding environment.
BA had its roots, experience and membership in the smaller (and more remote) boarding residences, many of which have a high percentage of Indigenous students. From formation there had always been an interest in Indigenous students through absorbing Indigenous Boarding In Secondary Schools (IBISS), a support group for boarding residences with Indigenous students, into NARSA.
The disadvantage experienced by Indigenous communities was of particular concern to the Boarding Australia board. With little meaningful progress achieved in ‘Closing the Gap’ in the decades since NARSA was established the BA board engage a consultant in 2014 to draft a Positioning Document to refine BA’s strategic direction and business model. Under new CEO leadership, in March 2019, BA transitioned to Indigenous Education & Boarding Australia at the 2nd National Indigenous Education and Boarding Symposium in Brisbane.