The Dragon House Experience:
Boarding @ UISZ
Dragon House is a place for your child to be supported, to be challenged and to grow. We strive to educate the whole person – intellectually, socially, emotionally, culturally, and physically.
Dragon House is a home away from home. Dragon House is a community. It is a welcoming environment where young people can thrive and begin the journey of becoming compassionate, responsible, resilient and successful global citizens.
It is our belief that boarding at Dragon House is a learning experience that students will remember for the rest of their lives.
If you are interested in having your child become a part of the Dragon House experience, check out the FAQ section to learn more about our facilities and program. And, of course, feel free to contact either the Head of Boarding or the Head of Marketing and Admissions to arrange a visit where you will be assured of a warm Dragon House welcome.
ADMISSIONS OPEN FOR 2021-2022
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
UISZ is a K-12 international day and boarding school since 2003, offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at all levels (PYP, MYP and DP) with up to 200 students and 100 boarders. Our boarders and staff are truly internationally diverse and eclectic in nature, with at least 20 nationalities represented. The school is based in southern China in the Guangdong province, near the metropolis of Guangzhou and a stone’s throw away from Hong Kong. It is located on13 hectares of botanic gardens – beautiful waterways, bike-tracks and walkways which allows for a truly unique and enriching educational boarding experience.
- 7-day boarding, where students stay on campus on a full-time basis, apart from when they travel home for long weekends, school holidays or on other occasions as requested by parents or guardians.
- 5-day boarding, where students normally arrive at Dragon House on Sunday evening travelling by school-provided transportation or private car. The expectation is that all students arrive between 7pm and 8.30pm. Some boarders arrive for school on Monday morning and, thus, only stay in Dragon House for 4 nights. All 5-day boarders normally leave directly after school on Friday afternoon, again either
- Flexi boarding provides day students access to sports programs, tuition and weekend activities
The boarding community is housed in the four-storeyed Dragon House, which can cater for up to 100 people. The ground floor houses the secondary boys; the first floor, the senior girls, and the third floor, primary boarders as well as our China New Horizons (CNH) groups. Boarding and academic staff live side by side with house parents and local Chinese staff on each level, or in the separate staff accommodation in Phoenix House. All academic staff live on-site and contribute to the program and, in many cases, to the CNH program. Each boarding wing is staffed by boarding staff, who, as residential staff, look after the pastoral needs of our boarders. Unlike many other boarding communities, students from year 7 to year 12 live together in each wing, modelling the idea of family of which our community is so proud.
Each room has a maximum capacity of four students and, where possible, we limit this to three or two students per room for seniors and, for our DP students, a single room if possible and where desired. Recently refurbished, each room is equipped with ample bathroom facilities, reverse cycle air conditioning, blinds, and adequate storage cupboards. Furthermore, each boarder is provided with a large single bed plus all bed linen, personal lockable cupboards, bedside cabinet, study desk and lamp.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth achievement Award and equips young people for life in over 140 countries and territories across the globe.
The Award is available to all young people aged 14‐24. Doing the Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others; it pushes young people to their personal limits and recognises their achievements consistently. The Award encourages young people to design their own programme of activities, set their own goals and challenge themselves to achieve their aims.
Since its launch 60 years ago, the Award has inspired millions of young people to transform their lives. Through non formal education, the Award can play a critical role in a young person’s personal development. You can find out more here www.intaward.org (IAF), and www.intawardchina.cn (DofE China).
Boarders are fortunate able to avail themselves of study resources that may be less easily accessed by students outside the boarding setting. Teachers, specialist tutors, group tutors and residential staff actively assist the boarders in their learning. The school also offers extension and study skills programs. Boarders can also benefit from peer assistance as both learners and teachers. The environment is one where silent, independent study is encouraged for significant periods of time most nights, but where boarders can also explore other study options that may be of benefit under the guidance of staff. All boarders have access to computers and the college computer network. As with study time in general, time spent on computers are monitored and managed by staff. By having study time built into the daily boarding routine, boarders should be well placed to engage in the relevant quantity and quality of academic work. We believe that one of the many ways we show our care for our boarders is through challenging them to achieve their best in their studies.
Apart from weekly pastoral and wellbeing sessions in Dragon House, boarders are supported by a network of people who care for their emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing. Our supervisory and residential staff members are professional adults who oversee the duty of care of the boarders and provide ready advice or just ready shoulders. The Head of Wellbeing and School Counselor and members of the Pastoral and Wellbeing Team are also available to the boarders and in this capacity, there’s a wide range of resources and personnel to support your child.
There are many opportunities for boarders to become involved in leadership. Informally, they demonstrate their leadership through involvement in service and community activities, school functions, sport and study. Formally, boarders may be recognised as leaders through their appointment to the Boarding Students’ Council (BSC), a group nominated by peers who meet regularly with staff to discuss boarding matters and to give direction to the boarding community in areas such as Food and Catering, Social Activities and Boarding Routines. Formal leadership roles such as Boarding House Captains, House Captains, Sports Captains and the school SRC are also options.
Leisure or recreational time is when boarders can socialise within the community in an affirming and positive manner. Boarders have many opportunities to undertake recreational activities both formally and informally. They have access to a gym, a fitness centre, tennis courts, basketball, netball and volleyball court, a football and soccer field and swimming pools. Other activities include kayaking and cycling. Boarders can also play table-tennis, pool and snooker. There is also a Music Room and a Dance Studio; plus, a general common–purpose room equipped with a TV and a kitchen on each level. Boarders are encouraged to consider new options and become involved in other activities which contribute to creative, developmental and personal growth. Skateboarding and bicycles are allowed on the premises only if boarders and their parents have signed the relevant user contract.
While nothing beats home cooking our meals are still nutritious, varied and enjoyable. They are prepared by a professional catering team, acting on the advice of the Wellbeing Committee. We can also accommodate a wide range of dietary requirements. There are always two options at mealtimes – Western or Asian – with vegetarian and gluten-free meals available. Meals are served at the school’s restaurant and consist of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In addition to formal meals, fresh fruit, bread, condiments, and an assortment of additional snacks are provided each day in the Boarding House. Students can prepare these for themselves in the boarding kitchens at stipulated times. Water dispensers are also placed around the school. Parents are asked to ensure that their child has a refillable and clearly labeled non-breakable drinking bottle. Students are also welcomed to bring their own snacks from home, although this is unnecessary as Dragon House provides a full range of meals and snacks.
Furthermore, the Boarding Students’ Council acts as part of the food committee, and meets with the Head of Catering and Head of Boarding to offer culinary suggestions.
We recommend nutritious foods and discourage crisps, sweets and high-sugar content foods and drinks to promote a healthy lifestyle for optimum learning. Personal food items must be clearly labelled, appropriately stored in the provided sealed containers and only consumed in common areas such as the kitchens.
Provided for boarders is a common laundry room and drying room. Dragon House provides laundry service for students on specific days of the week. The primary students and secondary girls can use the laundry service once a week on Wednesdays. The secondary boys can take advantage of a twice-weekly service on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The cleaning staff return all clothes on the same day, weather permitting. Students waiting to have their laundry washed and dried for them are to place their clothes in a marked laundry bag which can be purchased from the Dragon House Shop. The students can place their laundry bag in specific locations on each floor prior to departing the boarding house in the morning.
Boarders are also welcome to do their own washing; however, boarders must take responsibility for any items which are lost or damaged in the process of being laundered. All students are strongly encouraged to name their clothing, especially their school uniform.
In the laundry room there are many washing machines and drying units available for the students to use. There is a drying room located on both the first and third floors. Each drying room is equipped with several drying racks, ironing boards and irons.
In the interests of developing a sense of independence and responsibility, our boarders are responsible for keeping their own rooms neat and tidy each day. In shaping a sense of community, boarders also perform residential duties such as tidying communal areas. All other areas – kitchens, dining rooms, corridors and bathrooms – are cleaned daily by our cleaning team. Professional cleaners visit Dragon House each semester for a more thorough clean of the rooms and other areas.
The IBP in Dragon House is based around three main allotments:
- Morning Programme (06h30-08h00)
- Afternoon Programme (16h00-18h00)
- Evening Programme (18h00-22h00)
Before school student-directed exercise in the mornings is optional, although all boarders are encouraged to participate in one activity on at least one morning per week.
Wake-up is at 07h00. Boarders are expected to tidy their rooms, pack their bags and vacate Dragon House by the latest 08h00 to attend breakfast at the restaurant. They are expected to be at school by 08h30 for the start of the school day.
In general, students who take part in morning activities, have the option of going to breakfast before returning to Dragon House to shower and prepare for school. The purpose of student-directed morning exercise is to allow students some freedom and responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
At the end of the school day, boarders are required to check in with residential staff between 15h40 and 16h00. In the interests of a holistic and balanced education (a healthy mind in a healthy body), boarders are expected, from 16h00-17h30, to participate in afternoon activities with at least one activity per term, Monday-Thursday. Activities include swimming, cycling, walking, a range of sports and recreational activities such as table-tennis, music, dance, snooker and pool, fitness training and gym.
On Mondays, boarders attend a weekly Pastoral and wellbeing Meeting with their allocated mentors to discuss age-related matters (including life-skills). On alternate Tuesdays, the Boarding Students’ Council meets and on Wednesday’s of each week, Dragons‘ Den assemblies occur at 17h40.
Boarders have dinner from 17h30-18h30
Primary boarders attend a homework session from 18h30 –19h each evening followed by an evening CCA which runs from 19h00-19h45, Monday-Thursday. Both sessions are run in the Primary Building or Dragon House.
Year 7-9 boarders attend a homework session from 18h30-19h30 each evening followed by an evening CCA which runs from 19h30-20h15, four days a week. These sessions are run from either the Secondary Media Centre or in Dragon House.
Senior boarders (year 11-12) attend tutorial sessions in the secondary building with rostered academic staff from 18h45-20h15, Monday-Thursday.
Primary boarders are in bed by 21h00, junior secondary boarders (year 7-9) are bedded down by 22h00 and senior boarders (year 10-12) have their lights dimmed by 22h30 with final lights out by 23h00.
The school provides transportation between set destinations in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Dongguan and some surrounding areas and the school, for all boarding students. A schedule of activities and drop-off times is available from the school’s admin office upon request and parents will be informed of these times upon registering for transportation. A copy of the current schedule can be obtained by contacting our Head of Marketing and Admissions.
Normally, buses will travel to UISZ on Sunday evenings arriving before 20h30, which allows sufficient time for all boarders to settle in and prepare for school on the following day, prior to lights out. Buses return students to their homes or designated location on Friday afternoons, leaving UISZ at 15h40, unless the school advises otherwise. Parents have the option of using private transport for their child to and from Dragon House. However, it’s appreciated if the Head of Boarding is informed of these arrangements.
Any boarder that travels home in a private car requires a stamped Student Sign Out Form that has been signed by the Head of Boarding or his designate. Should parents wish to alter transport arrangements for their son/daughter, who may include boarders going on a different bus or to a different location, then written notification of these changes must be received by the Head of Boarding or designate at least 48 hours in advance. Failure to provide a change in travel arrangements could result in boarders being placed on the normal transportation they would use.
Every Friday morning, students take their packed bags they wish to take home for the weekend, in the secondary school theatre or primary general common room under specific bus number labels. Each student bag must have a tag on it indicating the student’s name, ID number, year level and bus number. Bus drivers collect these bags during Friday afternoon which means students do not have to return to the boarding house after school to collect bags.
Students who are going home by private car also place their bags in the foyer of Dragon House with parents coming to collect the bags. At 15h40, cleaners will deliver any remaining bags to the Boarding House Office along with a sign-out sheet where those collecting the bags sign for bags collected.
There are two nurses and a staff member, located on the first floor of Dragon House and provides services to all students 24/7. A log is kept of all treatments and the nurse notifies the Head of Boarding and parents accordingly of all incidents/treatment. The nurses are employed by the Global Doctor Clinic and have access to immediate support from doctors at the clinic.
In the first instance, parents or caregivers must lodge an application form (including a report from the applicant’s previous school). An application form can be obtained by emailing the school’s Head of Marketing and Admissions.
Once an application has been lodged by parents with the school, the enrolment process will involve interviews with parents and the child with the Head of Boarding, and/or his designates as well as the relevant head of school section.
Children from year 2 or above and older at the time of entry to the school are eligible for boarding. Where boarding places are applied for and the child is under the age of 8 at the anticipated starting date, special consideration may be given.
Once an application form has been lodged by parents with the school, the enrolment process will involve interviews with parents and the child with the Head of Boarding and/or his designates, the relevant head of school section as well as discussions with the child’s previous school. If a boarding place is offered to a child under the age of 8, this will usually be for a trial period in the first instance and involve some conditions of ‘school and boarding readiness‘ to which we expect that parents will agree and support. This policy is designed to protect the interests of the child and the wider school community.
For parents who travel from afar and for a small fee, UISZ offers a guestroom in either in Dragon or Phoenix House for parents to stay over to visit their child when required. For a small additional fee, parents may also take their meals in the school restaurant. If parents want to avail of this option, they would need to book at least a week in advance to secure accommodation. As space is limited, depending on demand, the accommodation may not be available. However, the school will always try to do its best to cater for boarding parents who require some support with easy accommodation.
UISZ is affiliated to ABSA, the Australian Boarding Schools’ Association. ABSA offers UISZ and its boarding staff professional learning, workshop and conference opportunities, marketing, a quarterly magazine highlighting current trends in boarding, a staff recruitment forum, networking with member schools and a means to measure our boarding programs against a set of sound boarding practice standards.
UISZ are affiliated to ABSA, our boarding staff have access to professional training and a wide range of boarding resources. All boarding staff are required to complete the ABSA Duty of Care Courses as soon as practical, preferably within their first year of employment. This is the minimum mandated and internationally recognised qualification for those who wish to work in a school boarding setting.