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A boarding parent’s perspective of Penrhos – by Veronica McPhail


February 6, 2020

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Penrhos College

Mother of Sophie McPhail, Year 10 Penrhos boarder.

It’s been nearly two years since we dropped our daughter off to start her boarding life at Penrhos College.

From the very first time we walked through the doors of the Penrhos College Boarding House, we all felt a sense of ease. We were immediately greeted by a warm welcome from Ms Hay, Mrs Callaway and the house mothers, and we knew this was a place that Sophie could call her second home.

The Boarding House offers the girls facilities beyond our expectations. The individual rooms decorated by each girl gives them each a personal sanctuary, while the bustling common rooms boast a fully equipped kitchen, pool tables, and an outdoor area for each year level to enjoy together. The staff at the Boarding House and College go above and beyond to ensure that our girls’ lives as boarders will be an experience they will look back on with very fond memories.

The main dining room has an exceptional view and the wide variety and quality of the food is just wonderful. I am happy to admit that it sometimes outshines what our daughter gets at home! It’s also a pleasure to see the special treatment the girls receive on their birthdays, when special treats are prepared, and celebrations range from friends’ surprises and hugs from the house mothers to high fives from Mrs Hay and Mrs Callaway.

Like most things in life, boarding comes with its challenges too. However, we are comfortable in the knowledge that the pastoral care the girls are given at the Boarding House is exceptional. Even though we are only a phone call away, it is the extended support of the Penrhos College staff and the staff in the Health Centre that allows us to sleep more peacefully at night.

The Boarding House provides discipline (just like at home), structure, love and guidance whenever needed. Having raised three boys, we are now experiencing raising a teenage girl for the first time and navigating an array of issues that we know would be far more difficult if it wasn’t for the terrific support our daughter receives from the boarding staff. We will be for ever grateful to them all!

The amazing array of extra-curricular activities that boarders can take part in provides them with the opportunity to meet new girls, rise to new challenges, push themselves outside of their comfort zones and find themselves as individuals. From rowing, choir, boarders’ netball, athletics, boarders’ socials and drama productions, there really is something to suit everyone.

Whilst at home, Sophie has three brothers, at the Boarding House she likes to think of herself as a big sister to the younger girls and she has an open-door policy if they ever need a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear or just a hug. The Boarding House environment is truly supportive of creating life-long friendships and Sophie has a group of sisters she would never have otherwise had.

Sophie’s love for Penrhos extends far beyond the doors of the Boarding House. Not only does she have the support, encouragement and guidance of all her teachers, but she feels secure in the knowledge that she can speak with the pastoral care staff at any time. Above all else, Sophie appreciates the inspiration that Principal Meg Melville gives to every girl.

Whist Sophie will admit there are days on which she’d love to be a day girl, because she misses home so much, we wouldn’t change the Penrhos boarding experience for anything. We absolutely believe it gives girls the opportunity to grow, to become more resilient, to experience new things and create bonds that will last for ever.


Penrhos College is an independent, all-girls school in Perth. Penrhos’ extensive offering starts in the Early Learning Centre, through to Junior and Secondary School. Penrhos is a day and boarding school for girls located in Como, South Perth WA.