Partnering to support school hostel staff

A partnership between the New Zealand Boarding Schools’ Association (NZBSA) and the Open Polytechnic’s School Strategy division has seen the first-ever New Zealand-specific professional development programme brought together for hostel staff.

The programme is called Tiaki Taiohi: Delivering Quality Care in Boarding Schools in Aotearoa New Zealand.

There are about 10,000 students who board at schools throughout the country. Historically, individual schools have largely had to develop and implement their own training programmes for staff working alongside these students.

Acland House at Christchurch Girls' High School, participants in this New Zealand-specific professional development programme for hostel staff
Acland House, Christchurch Girls’ High School

New Zealand-specific resources

NZBSA National Co-ordinator Dee Guillemot-Rodgerson says until about seven years ago, the association endorsed Australian-based training programmes. These programmes had become increasingly irrelevant to New Zealand education.

“We wanted to support boarding schools in New Zealand to deliver quality care by providing them with current knowledge and skills that reflect today’s boarding school environment. This programme does that. It also enhances our association’s ability to support the professional development of hostel staff. We previously offered workshops, but nothing like this.

“Through this programme, the hostel staff learn a lot about the Treaty of Waitangi and cultural inclusivity, through to policies and procedures around boarding.”

Dee Guillemot-Rodgerson

Dee says there has been strong interest from schools.

“There’s been a huge uptake. In fact, another 20 learners signed up just last week.”

Delivery of the new online programme takes place through the Open Polytechnic’s iQualify for Schools learning management system. Secondary schools throughout New Zealand use this system to support distance learning.

Hostel staff work independently on the two courses.  Dee estimates it takes between 25 and 35 hours to complete each course, each of which contains three assessed tasks. In addition, a number of non-assessed tasks form part of the content that the staff work through.

Development of the programme for hostel staff

The Open Polytechnic’s Erin Dolden, who worked on the programme’s development, says it was very interesting work.

“Learning more about the nuances of the boarding school environment made it a great project to be involved with.

“The breadth of the programme we’ve developed is extensive and covers the cultural setting specific to New Zealand, as well as the more generic wellbeing and pastoral care elements of hostel life.”

Erin Dolden

If your would like to learn more about this New Zealand-specific professional development programme for hostel staff or you are keen to see how iQualify for Schools could work for your learners, please make contact.

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