The Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) exists to promote the interests of boarding schools in Australia by enhancing the well-being of boarders, facilitating the professional development of staff and advancing best practice among schools. – See more at:

To have a membership that is inclusive of all employers and employees within the boarding school sector of Australia.

To provide effective professional development for staff in order to promote best practice within Australian boarding institutions.

To give leadership to the boarding school sector of Australia and represent its interests in policy formation at all levels of decision making.

To fulfill the ABSA Mission not only at a national level, but at a regional level, by supporting active State Divisions who represent the needs of their state constituents.

To promote the work of ABSA as the peak body representing Australian boarding institutions and to market its member schools to the public.

To retain ABSA’s strong financial position while funding the growth and development of the Association towards the fulfillment of the Mission and Goals.

– See more at:

Providing national training schemes for boarding staff.
Developing professional development opportunities such as national conferences, regional networks and on-line resources for boarding staff.
Working toward the establishing of national benchmarks.
Promoting a base-level training course for boarding staff which will be advanced as a prerequisite for employment in Australian boarding institutions.
Facilitating the sharing of best practice using meetings, publications and on-line resources.
Undertaking research in boarding.
Providing an umbrella organisation that encourages interaction between executives such as school principals, and practitioners such as boarding staff .
Having an organisation that welcomes government as well as non-government boarding institutions, primary and secondary boarding organisations and boarding hostels as well as boarding schools.
Facilitating communication between members in Australia as well as with boarding organisations overseas.
Supporting State and Territory Divisions of ABSA as they meet the regional needs of their boarding communities.
Writing publications and providing a website that promotes boarding in general and member boarding institutions in particular.
Seeking a voice in the media.
Having a national governing board which has the knowledge and experience to represent the boarding industry with integrity.
Providing a national secretariat which has the time and resources necessary to liaise effectively with government and other agencies on relevant boarding matters.
Creating strong links with government and other relevant bodies.
Supporting State and Territory Divisions under the auspices of the National Body
– See more at:

REACH Boarding school software were given an opportunity to address the delegates during the conference, the key points of this talk are outlined below:


Responsive design – allows for optimal viewing on all devices (resolution and orientation independent)
Fewer clicks to get to the information you’re looking for


Multi-view dashboard – allows you to see “big picture” overview of all areas of REACH
Updated metrics – we’ve expanded the existing metrics to cover more valuable information
New summary widgets – summarised data on the most important part of your school


100% configurability – leave options and values are now able to be 100% controlled by you
Leave Actions – for each person who needs to be involved in the decision making process, Leave Actions gives you an overview of who’s done what and who we’re waiting on for any leave request
Conditional fields – based upon what type or transport method is selected, additional fields are automatically marked as mandatory
Sophisticated Approval Backend – leave can now be approved, in a specified order, to suit your needs. Boarder Only approval can be used when you want to record leave but not require any approval (if you allow it)
Workflow centric – All leave requests run through a work flow that you are in 100% complete control of
Boarders, Parents, Hosts and Leave Approvers – all four “actors” are now involved in the work flow process (if you so desire)
Audit trail – all leave actions are now logged with additional information for easy tracking and accountability
Rejection reason – rejecting a leave request (by any actor) requires a reason. This reason is saved with the leave request for audit purposes and sent to the boarder to keep them apprised

Admin – Boarder/Parent/Host/Staff Management

Revamped design – all the most commonly access information is grouped for easier access
Security management – all contacts are now able to be securely managed for access to all applications (portal, mobile app, etc.) in one place

Admin – System Config

Leave Config – create leave types, leave transport methods, configure who needs to approve which type, the order in which each approval needs to take place, if additional fields need to be mandatory and much more
Notification Config – control the caller ID for SMS, default country code prefix and more
General Config – completely configure your portal and mobile app from one place

Audit Log

Expanded features – You can now filter the thousands of audit log entries based upon any search criteria you need
Drill down – Load one filter, then add another and another until you find the exact information you need
Additional information – all audit items have been expanded to include as much relevant information as possible to make audit items even more valuable

List Filtering

Boarder lists – any time a boarder list is presented, you can click the Filter button and expand or reduce the amount of boarders you wish to view based on Year Level, Group, House, etc.

Data Exporting

All lists – any time a list of data is presented you are now able to click Export and select the method you wish to export that data in
Filtered Exporting – expand the exporting functionality by adding additional filters prior to exporting so you get only the data you need

Security – Single Sign On (SSO)

Enhanced data exchange – SSO has now been enhanced to provide multi-factor authentication internally to prevent any possibly security breach

Here is the transcript of the TALK:
First thing, my name is Steven Montgomery. I’m not an Australian but happens to [laughter] with your book and as good as yours Michael but it’s a start. But I’ve been in Australia for 13 years. And those 13 years, I’ve been involved in education. And education starting off as a graduate teacher covering through, through sport, head of sport, head of OE and I’m now head of year at a Catholic College in Perth. I had a wonderful opportunity four years ago to sign up for a salary sacrifice program where and I only got paid 80% of my salary for four years.
And then on my fifth year which is this year, I have the year off on 80% pay. So, while I’ve been at home and probably for the last 18 months, I first of all started dabbled within rugby, and asked for rugby. And then actually having a conversation with Michael Holden and that started this year. It lead to Reach which was only gonna a leave request system. But as you’ll see from today and two of the multi sized into a little bit bigger and hopefully I wanted that I can just leave. What I wanna say to everyone in the room first of all is this; this is not a sales pitch, you’re in education.
I know, sitting there as a teacher if I was listening to some after lunch. I’ve got that, it’s like navy feeling that. I did in way out and sleeping it has something nice to eat. This is not a sales pitch. All I wanna say is this is what we have at Reach. And this is what’s coming on Reach, if you wanna ask us any questions, y we are outside today, and we are outside tomorrow. Okay, so first of all I’d like to say, as the members of ABSA, you all have access with the system for free.
So, or perhaps, I mean obvious, when you go to, if you go into demo, we have set up the system for free. And what I want you to do, again, we notice in education in someone comes and tells us we’re gonna have to learn something new. And most of us will go listen, or work 24/7. I don’t wanna learn anything else new. I’m way too busy and I know that but what we’re setting up for you here and what a lot of schools are doing is they’re going in to five, six staff and saying okay, I’m the administrator. You two are gonna be boarders, and you twos are gonna be parents.
And over the next two weeks, we’re gonna work through the system. And I’m gonna start with leave request, then we’re gonna do the 10’s and then we’re gonna go on pass them with anybody there. After that two-week-period that’s where I’m getting the phone calls. And that’s where we’re interacting even move to schools. So as of today, inside your stat fields, you’ve got information where you can gonna move to the app. First name and last name and parent, does give you access to the app and you have that to the entire form. Once you log in, you go into my appointment.
You can set up your email and set up your mobile number. If we send, you any information over this next 48-hour-period. I even said, Richard, if people are running late tonight for the bus, we’re gonna get well-fed and well looked after. We can send you push notification, and say, bus is running late or you happen to get here. So that’s entirely up to you. Again, it’s not a sales but if you wanna little gamble, want to have a look at it, we’ll be in there for you on the information inside your satchel.
Alright, what we’re gonna to, is we’re gonna go to Reach itself on Reach CMS. So the first thing you see here is the dashboard. And on the dashboard, it gives you an overview of the system. Some things for you as in boarding mantle came off and really put it. On the right hand side as you’re looking at the screen, you’ll see that kitchen projection. Now this is coming from schools turning round and saying to us
Everything we have all this as a cost. How do I do to my purser, how do I go to go first man say, I want something else, I want something more. Well, the kitchen widget projector will tell you how many names are required on a day out of a time over period of time. So let’s take for example, you have 50 students who arrived over the weekend and there are 150 students in boarding when the catering department looks at the kitchen widget they know to make over a 100 meals. You’ve got a dash that lets you know how many students are out on leave.
If students leave was pending, rejected or have been approved. you have got to dash them, on the top left hand side that shows you mobile users. So when we introduce this to your parents and to the boarders and to the school that will actually let you know the user by the platform and mobile device. And then it also get numbers of staff. And we’ve also got a newsletter which, now the newsletter which it came from a good friend of mine Jason Lamb at Christ Church here in Perth. And he said, how do we get information of boarders? Sometimes, it just boarder information, it’s not on newsletter to the school. So I just want moms and dads to know what’s going on within the boarding.
So we actually build the purpose building widget where you can go and visit, like write a word document and say, these are things that happening. And moms and dads will again, that’s what they see. So that’s basically the dashboard. Above the dashboard, you’ll see each functional tab. And then above that, you can get right up on the top right hand side, it’s blue and it’s says notifications. That’s your alert that the parent or boarder has requested leave or there has been an instance, we do the pastoral care or behavioral management within your boarding.
You will have an alert level appear there. It also appears on your app when you log in, appeared with the details. Okay, I’m gonna go to leave request first and foremost. Okay, right here on leave request. We’ve got the historical loop title or leave. So that is all leave and you can see rather myself, I’m putting in some leave request just so the kitchen widget would drop for us. Okay, so that’s showing you your leave request and that showing you the historical overview of the leave request.
If we actually go into new leave, this is what the moms and dads would see. Now, the purpose of this is to ensure that with moms and dads were asking for leave for their children, this is like something we get from the bank. If we don’t fill it up completely, they won’t send. It won’t allow it to be sent. So I’m gonna give an example of people that I have spoken to.
My first conversation in Michael’s group one. It’s a 10-minutes conversation and he got about 20 phone calls. And eventually I said what’s this about, someone didn’t tick the box that didn’t go out. Mom forgot to sign that, didn’t get the email and that’s where we start looking, look this is ridiculous. Why do you have to look after, why can not just be omitted? Why can’t you just get an email that asks for the leave and you can say yes, it’s approved or rejected over from attendance.
So this is where we started the leave request. On leave request, when you start to enter a boarder’s name as a parent, only the boarder that is associated with you will come off onto the screen. If you have children at an all-girls school, and an all boy school, and they both use Reach, you get access to both of those. So you have to download a app for one school and an app for the other the apps generic dependent on your role and details, and we associate students with you. As you work your way through, it’s everything that people have said to us, that they have it, this one in time and moves through request. When are they going and what time? Then we can select how are they getting there?
Well, and Michael is talk this morning, were talking about public transport on how students leave campus. Those aspects can be configured by you. You can go in to system configuration and you can turn round and say, okay, our transport mechanisms are the following. Alright, so every school individual, you all do things the best way you can. But things can be quite different. And as you work your way down through it, you can see we get time to leave type.
And we have got some really, really basic lead types in there and you can figure that yourself. The drops down, select, all the key points that people have spoken about this morning is the culture and communication between school and the parent. I’m trying to make sure that communication is always positive communication, not having an argument about leave. So even in that little note section at the bottom, you can actually put in a little note. Some people use example of that they are going to unchanged this weekend but their cousin James is picking them up from Cricket from you. And that information comes to you. So you are aware it, so we don’t have a random stranger coming up with one of your highest risk areas in school, to pick up the student.
That leave request form, is there any part of that that Reach does not recognize associated about that parent? Or the parent does fill out that form, it won’t go. You then don’t have to worry about you didn’t sign it; you didn’t tick a box, that’s not right. So, all this is on the parent, you fill in the details correctly so that you then see the notification for leave request. Okay, let’s do that. These things. So then we’ve got attendance.
I move, we’ve just put in some dummy ones in here so you can have a look at. We’ve put in a few houses in few boarders. On attendance, the one that says that, and he is absent. You can see there’s a little message there beside it. And that message has been reported because that was an official leave request. You don’t have to worry or panic where that student was because Reach just turned around and said, that was an official leave request, that’s why they’re absent.
You’re not running around the boarder house and trying to find that student and ask where they are. The system registered them as absent and absent within Reach which means that notification has been approved and which means that leave request approved because the parents filled it out correctly and the host is already approved. You can then do leave request for each house, for each year. It’s time dated and stamped. Now a lot of things that we’ve heard about this morning about risk is that being able to pick up something and go, this is all we have done. Here is the evidence on our behalf.
So when you have saved it’s saved within the system, and when we get to the reports’ module, we’ll just do a real quick leave request report and you’ll see it comes as an Excel spreadsheet and you can see that leave request is all about in mind. Next, okay, so other reports, while I’m talking, Brad will be probably do the report for you, but on the reports have been in overview. Within education you will wanna make the reports as easy as possible. So this is a simple drag and drop, that’s all it is. If you want something to be reported on, you drag that and drop it in and that will generate the report for you.
On the left hand side, you can see various different buttons and tabs. What are the most common ones that’s gonna be used there? It’s most likely your export. So I have a leave request for the weekend and I wanna export that to my staff. Who are looking after administration this weekend? One of the features that’s coming with Reach and this is the one that we had a lot of schools ask for. So we’re going to put a tag there to build it is automated scheduling reports.
So I am going to give the example I am going to give this to Anna sitting on the back row. And Anna simply just said to me, well, if I cut off leave at midday on Thursday, how can I let everyone know who is going out? So what we’re gonna do is, on midday on Thursday, Reach is gonna turn around and go, send that leave report to everyone in charge of that house, making a spreadsheet before leave. Jason Lamb of Christ Church said, hold on a second, what about the kitchen and what I’m gonna do for them? So, at 12:01, this report goes to the kitchen that says, these are the following students that are out; therefore, you only need to do this. One of the moments that we find right over in the far right hand side is you’re going to all this time and effort to set up your reporting correctly.
Well, let’s save it then. So once you have schedule report and you start to save it that report will always be there for you. You might have to change the time and date but you’re going to the effort to set up the report, the reports there. Within education, time is precious. So if you’re doing something once we don’t want you to have to do it again. The administrative panel, for most of you in boarding a director or going ahead of boarding, this is where you will come modify something for Reach.
So you can see you’ve got those people here that we allow here on your system. And Brad can click and every one of these, I want to just show you how then you can actually modify them. So it brings up their details and it brings up their details as you can see it but also as a parent would see it . And you can see it’s like any other account. We’d fill in all our details and we go through it. We’ve got security settings; we’ve got the groups and associations.
The groups and we’ll give an example of boarding schools that maybe have five or six different modules within boarding. And the director of boarding or the head of residence doesn’t want to have to approve all 200 leaving requests. What would you do is you actually set up individual numbers within the boarding. Have leave approve access for the group. So therefore, if I was in charge of the year eight, nine cohort in house one, all leave request that was directed for students eight, nine come to me or I have that full leeway to do that request, Within staff, we can set up the levels of each staff or we can set up the associations with each staff. We can also do the same for parents and for the groups.
Someone brought up a good example this morning of when we are in education were there for the students. There maybe things happening outside of school between the parents. Reach is a default as both parents know about notifications. So if the student is going on leave, Reach has a default to notify both parents. Within the administrative group, you can turn around and change that and you can say leave request is for father only or you have leave request is for mother. But in the system, we try and set it up.
So out of the box it’s there for you to use. So, Reach and itself could set up those notifications with open book account. I talked a little bit earlier about the news management, so the news widget. It’s basically like a word document. So you wanna enter a title or enter a date or information. You can also Hyper link that.
So there might be something within your school website with school news or you’re going somewhere or someone mentioned this morning about in the first session we have coupons. You know, there might be something there, coupons. Say the parents we’re gonna take the boys or girls here. This is the link to it and there you go. So it’s basically just like a word document.
You fill in the news, hit site and then that appears in the dashboard. And on the bottom two, is the import and export. People said, but how do I get the data there? You get a welcome part from us. It shows you how the data must come to us and then you can upload it. The (inaudible14.15) at the very top.
For the import, well, actually allow you to see whether the import data is coming in the right way or not. With many complications about always come through us, in us. Okay, so a lot of people if they’re speaking to us have been boarding or they given their phone number to their head of IT and then I give the phone over to Brad. If anyone has been in a conversation with IT, you know, its different language. So I rather say to them, how, could you want to someone who understands what you’re saying, please don’t have any fear; all you have to do is ask.
Just in conflict, so we can in the system actually turn around and say, these are cut off kids that we will allow leave. So when we talk earlier about that reporting and that scheduling, you can actually put in dates where that leave can be granted or can be rejected. On rejection basically says, I’m sorry this is late. And most people have spoken to in boarding if they were to reject their leave that was late, students really wouldn’t be worried too much. So I think Michael referred to it as, it might have a little bit of prison mentality but you really want moms and dads to know that too. But, what we basically say is, you can put in and say this is day.
Unlike everything, we’ll be talking to moms and dads. There is always a reasonable explanation education, why we have a cutoff date or why we have a policy. And sometimes you can simply explain, we wanna lay or can’t redo, how many peoples are required for the weekend. On notifications, so the system itself will talk to everyone on the system. It will talk to people, they are allow to go on their PC’s or talk to people on your own app. If they’re on the app, they can get an SMS or an email or they can get a push notification.
On the push notification, it’s just a fancy, real quick and it will come up on your screen on your iOS or Andriod device. Nice things about push notifications are, push notification are completely free. Within push notifications, we’re going up to change here, which is right. So within push notifications, really, really simple, if I only want to send a push notification with year seven, have, I can click year seven, I can click parents, you type in a message and it goes through. The parents themselves on, excuse on their app can actually say what they want us to try to. So if you wanna have all messages from the school.
Do I wanna have year eight messages only, do I wanna have a emergency message, whatever that subscription is that you have your school, then that’s what we set up. In the actual notifications themselves, for leave request, if leave is approved, at this point in time Reach will send and then we’ll send an email like to the parent and to the boarder to say that that leave was approved. If that leave was rejected, the boarder and the parent get an email but also following up with an SMS. This is where we control it for notification and on our notification section; you can actually see this historical view of notifications that come through. My point, so that’s all steps you as admin, that’s you filling out your details. Now as I said you before, you get on the Reach website and you go into demo, if you fill in those details, the system will function for you.
You can send a notification that will come to your email or come to your SMS. You can send yourself push, that’s where it comes to . Reach’s brief review, I have a go at, and I said to Richard as part of it, as part of moving members of ABSA, you have access to the entire system because in education, you yourself have to put yourself on the line. The risk is, when you go in your course or principal and say I want this and then going new problem and then something goes wrong, and then they are going to come by too. So, we want you to try it, we want you to get a group staff together and get on it and use it.
And then we wanted you to know that you can emails or you can ring us and we’ll talk you through it. But that’s basically what my account is in. It’s the same for moms and dads, that’s where you fill in your details and the details of their hosts and guardings. That’s not your responsibility anymore, that’s theirs. Pastoral care and behavior, probably the module that will change overtime and the module that’s closest to my heart that’s being ahead of year, are within pastoral care within most of the college. So, very simply to started off, there with some simple things. As in parent rings, where is my child?
Put in the child details. We think aluminous in the corner that says, yes they’re on campus. If it says no, we’ve got an historical aspect of the leave request to say where they are, when they went out and who they go out with? Within the pastoral care itself, if you look at the associations, that is the parent host and guardian. So for example, if somebody is leaving your boarding house and you wanna clarify who they are, you’ve already got the list in front of you with that child associated who they have permission to leave with. Obviously, you have the photo and then the little set of traffic lights up in the top right hand corner. Some schools have used some system that has an alert for them.
But the alert doesn’t do anything else. So what happens is, if there’s an alert, for a pastoral care or behavior incident within the boarding, the traffic lights stay on whatever color they are and that’s configured by you. You can say, I want green to be positive or red to be negative, no incident. You can decide and tell us what you want but it stays on that until that approver or that administrator has looked at that incident. So I know from myself in counting education, technology we used meets and there is a section that means if I log into it and I went to it, it will tell me everyone who is associated comments with me for that day. Where there was nothing to alert me to say, there is something that we need to see.
So it might be 48 hours, 72 hours to the max and log in to that portal. And now I’m starting to find out pastoral care assistance for the student which really I wanted to know about that pretty quick. Within the profile, we’ve got sign in and sign out. And if a student leaves campus, that’s where it’s logged. And then we’ve got the incident log, the last one to that. So the incident log of time and date and I know from talking to a lot of you, some people just use an exercise book writing down information, what happened, when it happened.
I mean, you have to go back to that. So what we have got is, we have got a very simple basic instant log where you can put down. The student will automatically drop down. If there’s other members of staff that need to know about that incident, you just tick the box and there notified through an email or you can put in information which happened on that incident. So, boarder might have left with the permission the boarder was associated with other students, anything along those lines filled in so then when all of members of the staff it’s not a Chinese whisper. It’s there on the system and they read it.
When they read it the system will log that they have read it. So you know that information is given across to you instead of makes half past, so you’re okay, and so on. The sign in, sign out, schools there, some schools turn around quite simply and say, as long as the student goes to our sign in and sign out area, we’re happy with that. Some schools then turn around and say, I know we have administrative area that we want them to come to. So at this point in time, probably for the WA delegates, the kids have their smart writer cards.
So, Reach in itself can write nice and smart writer cards. So when a student comes up, and they just have their own individual ID, you know, that’s like a little credit card that come up to administration. And they tick, whether they coming in or coming out, they’ll profile, sign them in, sign them out. But this is the tip of the iceberg for us in Reach. All our areas that we have already built in to the apps and the security coding is our QR-codes for ID, QR-code that we can scan and say, this is the student. The QR-code that we can scan and say, this the parent, this is the host.
Again, reducing the risk of who is taking our student out, confirming that that is the right person. And already, an awful lot of you have come to us and talk to us about fingerprint file and sort of biometrics. Okay, and that’s something we can look at very, very easily to make the system user-friendly for you. We’re not building this as IT, I’m building and talking to those people who run the boarding schools and say, can you please, can you do this? So it’s coming from you. Then other people say to us, this is what we’re looking for and this is what we adding to our standard module
It’s meant to be an inclusive system, not exclusive because whatever school from wherever, we want it there for you. And then finally the auto-go, some people is talking about this within risk this morning. The auto-go I suppose, I’m gonna say sneaky. It’s your way as director of boarding when their parents and trying to say, I sent the email, well, actually no you didn’t, because it’s not there. No, no, my son sent it through he said, he definitely, he’s on campus, he said he didn’t leave.
Well, auto-go doesn’t lie. The auto-go will follow everything. If you send a notification, it will tell you who it went to. If you send a push, it will tell you who you went to, it will tell you what devices that went to. The auto-go is that historical view for you within boarding to go back and say, actually, no, we did this. And then finally at the very, very top configure conclude just the notifications.
That’s where your notifications will appear or on your app. So inside your satchels, you have a little bit of information. It is a URL, can you type in or you can scan, you get access to the app with your first name and last name and parent or usually in a password that gives you full access to the app. You have full access to Reach and the system., click on demo, you fill in the details, you’re sent back an automatic username and password and Reach’s live for you to use. As I said we’re here, the rest of the afternoon we’re here on Monday.
If you have any questions for us, just come up and say, hello. If it’s IT wise, you’ll see us pushing towards Brad, if it’s something else; you can see myself for going can we keep with you. As I said, not a sales, I’d like you try it, I really want your feedback and if it works for you, fantastic, let us know. And if we can do anymore to it, that’s good. Alright, thanks for your time, thank you.