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A Family Affair

Albert had an audience when he took his first steps. Cognisant of Alby’s pending achievement, enthusiastic Groom boarders formed a crescent behind him and offered felicitous support that prioritised care for every step of the way. As Alby swayed, they did. The boys empathised with each movement and celebrated with appropriate pomp – overt applause swapped for engaging smiles and a proud pat on the back.

Groom House is one of six boarding houses at Toowoomba Grammar School. My family of five lives in the same building as the boarders; a doorway separates us. Boarding heads of house operate in loco parentis and this proximity is essential for the duty of care we ensure. It is also indicative of how connected we are as a House.

Each boarding house and the staff within it form a close-knit community. My three children – Freddy (8), Audrey (6) and Albert (1) – interact regularly and freely with the boarders and special bonds have formed. Freddy’s confident because of the pool lessons he has with Bill and the sessions batting in the nets with Jack. Audrey’s first thought, when she won her Cross-Country, was making sure “the boys” knew. The more family-focused the House, the more supportive it will be and homely it feels.

The boarding staff community is also tight – 27 children of teaching staff live on campus. During school holidays they resemble the “Little Rascals”. Despite this, my children find it disconcerting when the boarders go home. They miss their interactions and the hustle and bustle of the house keenly awaiting the boarders’ return and for the house to come back to life.

  • Mr Dan Madonald, Head of Groom House Boarding