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BOARDING OPPORTUNITIES GIVEN TO MORE CHILDREN

“The concept of partnership between home and school is the biggest change in boarding in the recent years - parents become part of a team raising their child”


The government has promised to earmark at least £10 million to build more overnight accommodation in schools.

Whilst some independent schools were finding difficulty in filling their boarding places in the 1990s, the new century has seen a growing demand for places in the independent sector and, more latterly, the state sector. Over 5000 children are already attending state boarding schools with 4 or 5 applicants for every space available.

Over 5000 children are already attending state boarding schools with 4 or 5 applicants for every space available


Parents are keen for their children to experience a broad curriculum where activities and learning to live with others are important skills for life.

State schools will have to apply for funding but those with children who have particular needs will be a priority. The money will largely be spent on “accommodation for children from broken homes, those with parents in the Armed Forces and pupils with mothers and fathers working abroad,” writes The Telegraph’s Education Editor, Graham Paton. He notes Lord Adonis, the School Minister’s belief that “where appropriate” boarding can “be a fantastic opportunity for vulnerable children.”

Independent schools would argue not only vulnerable children benefit from boarding. Tom Haines, Headmaster of Tonbridge School, writing in Attain magazine, says: “The concept of partnership between home and school is the biggest change in boarding in the recent years - parents become part of a team raising their child.” BBC News Education’s Angela Harrison warns that critics are wary of the new funding: “Labour MP, Barry Sheerman, Chairman of the Commons education committee is worried that putting vulnerable children into large institutional settings might be harmful.” She reports that: “A separate pilot programme has been running in England, funded by the government, since late 2006.

In this initiative vulnerable children are funded by the local authority to take up places in independent boarding schools.”

This programme is being evaluated and a report is expected in the autumn.