On Thursday 27th July, 96 delegates from 35 schools convened for the National Boarding Conference on the beautiful campus of Uplands in White River, Mpumalanga. The theme of the conference was A Culture of Connection and the speakers and workshop presenters shared their valuable knowledge on the topic.
Topics included Reflections and Reconnection on Boarding Post-2020 by Sue Tasker, Lady Principal at The Wykeham Collegiate. This was followed by a presentation from Luke Lamprecht on Caring Connections, and Trauma-Informed Work in Boarding Schools by Catherine Otto and Thembi Mkhwanazi Dube of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Mark Blew, Uplands Deputy Head Pastoral and Boarding, gave a workshop on Building a Healthy House Culture. Mark is currently doing his PhD in boarding house culture management.
Other topics and discussions included Neurodiversity, Building a Good Team, Difficult Conversations, Meeting the challenges of diverse backgrounds and cultural groups in Primary School boarding, and Crisis Management, to name a few. David Wright, Head of Kingswood College, also shared some very valuable insight around Child Protection, as well as discussions around trying to reduce the culture of vaping in teens.
In keeping up with the topic of connection, the delegates had an opportunity to connect with nature on a trip to the Kruger National Park, organised by Mbombela Tours, which was definitely a highlight!
In closing the Conference, Allan Laing, College Headmaster of Uplands and Director of Boarding Schools of Southern Africa, shared some thoughts on future trends in boarding. We said goodbye to the delegates on Saturday 29 July. It was inspiring to gather with so many passionate and dedicated Boarding Staff to discuss best practices in boarding and to create a bright future for boarding schools in South Africa.