Today is National Boarding School Parents Day! We would like to acknowledge, thank and recognise our wonderful Boarding parent community.

We spoke to a few of our boarding parents including Craig Whiteley (Year 11 student Annabelle’s father), Mel McNair (Year 12 student Will’s mother) and Briony Tyquin (Year 12 student Anna’s mother), to hear their views and challenges about being involved in Boarding at Barker.

  1. How long have you been a part of Boarding at Barker?

    Mel: We have been a part of the Barker boarding community for 6 years. Rosie started in 2017, Brinsley in 2019 and Will in 2020.
    Craig: 2 years
    Briony: This is our third year. Our elder daughter Izzy attended Barker as a day girl. Anna has been a boarder since Year 10.

  2. Why did you choose Boarding at Barker?
    Briony: As Izzy had been a day girl and Anna saw how much time she spent travelling to and from school, she wanted a shorter commute! We also knew Christo (He was Izzy’s tutor) and had great respect for him. Anna is into music and sport and we wanted to make her days shorter and allow her to experience the independence that boarding allows. Someone else needed to tell Anna to clean her room!

    Craig: Boo wanted to change schools to Barker in Year 10, and I believe that the opportunity as a student to choose Barker is very empowering, and we were happy to back her judgement.

    Mel: We chose to look at boarding at Barker because friends recommended it to us, it was coed and we had some family history with Barker. My grandfather attended as a day boy at the same time his future brother-in-laws attended as boarders about 100 years before our children were boarders. However, we gave the final say to our children.

  3. What do you find challenging?
    Mel: Living five hours away from Barker is probably the most challenging thing as we cannot simply pop over to the School for a function or sport or just to have lunch with them. We don’t get down often, but this has meant that the children have all had to develop their resilience.

    Craig: Like everyone, the COVID challenges disrupting normal school routine has been challenging. We particularly missed the opportunity to attend many school and sporting events as a way to meet and interact with the rest of the school family>

    Briony: The COVID pandemic was really challenging for boarders especially, but Christo (Head of Boarding - Ben Christopherson) and the executive team did an awesome job at getting the kids back to school as soon as possible after both lockdowns.

  4. Have you found it rewarding? If so, how?
    Mel: Boarding at Barker has been extremely rewarding and we have seen all three develop their confidence and belief in themselves. We have watched them mature into caring and respectful young people that we are proud to be the parents of.

    Craig: Rewarding, yes! The school program and staff have remained flexible and supportive of both Boo and us as parents.

    Briony: Have found boarding really rewarding, it allows for a different relationship with your teenager- the good stuff without too much of the nagging!

  5. What benefits have you found from having the opportunity of Boarding?
    Briony: The friendships Anna has made, she has some fantastic friends from boarding, that will last a lifetime and the ability for her to be fully involved in school life.

    Mel: The benefits are huge and include easy access to staff and resources for sport, academics, and major works. However, the main benefit of Boarding at Barker is that our children all thought of it as their Sydney home. They are allowed to and encouraged to make their personal space as homely as possible.

    Craig: Although many events and programs have been postponed or cancelled over the previous year, as the school returns to something like 'normal' it has been both refreshing and delightful to interact with students, staff and other parents during various sporting fixtures.