Hale@home Longitudinal Study 2013 -2016
For over 150 years, boys have come to Hale School from communities across our state and from overseas. The transition from home to boarding school has been a part of the cycle of life for many remote families for generations. The first months and years of boarding have inspired timeless family anecdotes about the challenges that exist in this unique journey experienced by boarders.
Hale@home, introduced in 2013, is an innovative online programme established to connect boys and their families with each other and Hale School in the year before the boys enter boarding. It focuses upon enabling each boy to;
Connect and collaborate with their future House mates,
Enjoy mastering the latest technology for learning, and,
Build optimism and confidence about their future at Hale School.
In September 2017, research was undertaken to investigate the substance of the benefits provided by the Hale@home programme to boarders and their families. The Director of Distance Learning Michael Valentine was responsible for the establishment of the Hale@home programme and the research project. The research project invited all parents and boys who participated in Hale@Home from 2013 – 2016 to participate in an online survey. Seven parents were randomly selected to also take part in a recorded interview. Pastoral Care Leaders from Year 7 and 8 were interviewed and completed a survey. The Brine House and Medical Centre teams responded to surveys.
· · The survey responses from all stakeholders were positive, to a significant degree. All stakeholders recorded responses that indicated the Hale@home programme had conclusively provided the boys with benefits that positively assisted their transition to boarding and the first year of school at Hale School.
· The boys overwhelmingly identified the opportunity to get to know each other as the most significant benefit of the programme for them. They also rated their enjoyment of the programme highly.
· Parents collectively believed that Hale@home reduced their son’s anxiety about the transition to boarding because he knew the other boys and because he was comfortable with the technology.
· Parents recognised that their sons became more confident about their move to boarding when they realised they were part of a group on the same journey.
· Parents observed that they enjoyed becoming part of a community sharing the experience of preparing their son, and themselves, for his transition to boarding school.
· Parents valued the relationship the boys established with the Hale@home teachers as well as the engaging nature of the work and online interactions each week.
· 100% of responding parents would recommend future families take part in Hale@home programme before sending their sons to board at Hale School.
· 90% of the boys teachers at Hale School had observed an increase in general confidence and technology skills by Hale@home participants since the programme was established.
· The Medical Centre observed there had been a decline in presentations for homesickness since the programme commenced.
· The Brine House team observed a decline in anxiety from the boys since the programme commenced.
The transition to boarding school remains a significant step for young men at Hale School. However, in recent years Hale@home has eased that transition for both the boys and their families.
ML Valentine November 2017