Australian Exchange Report from Kieran Sparling

Australian Exchange Report from Kieran Sparling
Denis Hooper

Recently, some of our Transition Year students embarked on their month long placement to Australia where they either board or stay with host families. We have a strong link with two schools there, Central Coast Grammar School and Saint Joseph’s College in Sydney.

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time at Saint Joseph’s College in particular, to learn about its history, culture and practices. This is always an invaluable way to exchange experiences and collaborate with professional colleagues, not only through discussion but in a hands on way. The school is both a boarding and day school, educating just over a thousand boys. It is a Roman Catholic school run by the Marist Brothers, who celebrate liturgies regularly in the beautiful chapel located on the campus and have a full time chaplain at the school. Some of the parallels observed include the strong emphasis on community which exists in a particular way at Glenstal Abbey School: knowing each other, respecting the other and listening to each other. That obsculta or instruction to listen and hear, which is the very first word in the Rule of Saint Benedict. 

Since 2015 we have had 16 GAP year volunteers come to stay with us at Glenstal for a year at a time, to contribute to school life and also explore a new culture. We have also sent some of our fledgling Old Boys to Saint Joseph’s College.

Both the GAP programme and Transition Year placement are coordinated by Fr. Denis. Whether going into Transition Year or Sixth Year, perhaps this is an opportunity for you. 


Kieran Sparling

Head of Boarding