Separation anxiety disorder and boarding

Boarding schools have long been considered ‘psychopath factories’ in which abuse and humiliation are a fixture of daily life. Yet it is from these very institutions that many of our rulers have been selected.

The Pileus

The drive to get children out of foster care and into boarding school

A government initiative aims to encourage more local authorities to send vulnerable young people to boarding schools. What’s the thinking behind it?

[Will this initiative succeed where others have failed. Does Boarding School Syndrome also impact looked-after children? Previous initiatives, going back to the 1970s have all failed…]

The Guardian

Eddie Izzard: Boarding school can make you emotionally dead

Comedian, actor and marathon man Eddie Izzard believes the death of his mother, years at boarding school and ‘coming out’ as transgender have toughened him up. Hannah Stephenson catches up with the star and discovers his next challenge might just be the biggest…

Fifty-five-year-old Eddie Izzard is a tough character but you can understand why when you look at his past. The son of BP’s chief accountant Harold Izzard, his mother Dorothy Ella died from bowel cancer when he was six, a year after the family returned to Britain from the north, but his parents didn’t tell him she was dying and he wasn’t prepared for the emotional loss.

Soon after, he and his older brother Mark were sent to boarding school, another traumatic event which led to him battening the hatches emotionally, as detailed in a chapter he entitles ‘Exile‘.

We didn’t see Dad for two thirds of the year. I did a lot of crying and wailing. I was unhappy about everything and feeling sorry for myself. I cried till I was 11,” he recalls.

Boarding school toughens you up. It can make you emotionally dead because you are emotionally blocked, but you are tough. You can’t empathise or sympathise.”

He didn’t cry again until he was 19, when a cat was run over in the road in front of him. He picked it up and, realising that he needed to feel something, forced himself to cry.

I ripped open those pathways to ensure I knew how to cry. I knew it was bad not feeling anything.”

The Irish News

Someone needs to add Boarding School Syndrome into the mix…

At an event last week called “The Dark Side of Business,” held at the Corinthia Hotel in London, neuroscientist Tara Swart spoke about why psychopathic traits were so common in high-powered people.

She said many signs of psychopathy were also synonymous with those of strong leadership, such as callousness, impulsivity, aggression, and showing little emotion.

With more men in CEO positions than women, Swart says, boardrooms are severely lacking female characteristics such as empathy, intuition, and creativity. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and Swart acknowledged that some women were bad at empathy and some men were good at it — but as a general rule, she said, these tend to be female traits.

[…]

Some of Swart’s male clients were sent off to boarding school at a young age and had horrible experiences of bullying, institutionalised violence, and humiliation. But women experience these things too.

Business Insider asked whether the ways men and women coped with these feelings of shame and rejection had an impact on more men ending up with psychopathic traits.

[But no mention of Boarding School Syndrome?]

Business Insider

Children who risk being put into care will be sent to boarding schools instead

[They certainly keep flogging this idea. Maybe it’s time to accept that boarding schools are not the panacea for children in care?]

Public schools are launching a new diversity drive that will see children who risk being put into care offered places at Eton College and Harrow School instead.

Under the initiative, named The Boarding Schools Partnership, youngsters from some of the most vulnerable families will enroll at some of Britain’s top boarding schools. [This is not what the aspirant parents are paying around £50k per year for!]

More than 80 councils have signed up to the scheme which will be launched on Tuesday by the schools minister Lord Nash and Lord Adonis, a former Labour education minister.

Harrow, Rugby, Benenden and Eton are among the schools taking part. Colin Morrison, chair of the Boarding Schools Partnership, said the school fees, typically ranging from £25,000-£39,000 a year, will be covered by their local councils. [What about all those extras? Will children in care have to miss out on all those?]

The Telegraph

Local authorities know from past experience that dumping kids in boarding schools does not work…

And parents who want an exclusive, privileged education for their children will not want this for their children…. Merely a way to prop up overpriced fee-charging boarding schools when UK boarding industry is in decline. Unless propped up by overseas children. Boarding School Syndrome for all?

The Telegraph and Times reports:

Public schools are launching a new diversity drive that will see children who risk being put into care offered places at Eton College and Harrow School instead.

Under the initiative, named The Boarding Schools Partnership, youngsters from some of the most vulnerable families will enroll at some of Britain’s top boarding schools.

More than 80 councils have signed up to the scheme which will be launched on Tuesday by the schools minister Lord Nash and Lord Adonis, a former Labour education minister.

Harrow, Rugby, Benenden and Eton are among the schools taking part. Colin Morrison, chair of the Boarding Schools Partnership, said the school fees, typically ranging from £25,000-£39,000 a year, will be covered by their local councils.

[…]

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said that recruiting children for the programme was “incredibly challenging“.

“It was a real struggle to recruit enough young people to make even a smaller pilot trial statistically secure,” he said at the time.

“One of the major barriers was that some local authorities wanted to keep the children where they are, which is of course understandable. Some were worried that they wouldn’t fit in or that boarding school wouldn’t be right for them.”

[Not the only ones probably…]

The Telegraph

Fudge, boarding schools and King’s Cross station: how Harry Potter introduced me to British culture

To an eight-year-old French child, Harry Potter’s magical society blurred lines between a fictional world and a foreign country.

As boarding schools mostly aren’t part of the French education system anymore, and private education is not necessarily regarded as the best optionHarry’s school life had an added a level of eccentricity to me – not only as a place to learn magic, but also as one to live, study and go on adventures, away from the students’ family homes. Harry’s home itself, the perfectly normal (thank you very much) Privet Drive looked slightly odd to me, with its identical brick houses, a sight I did not witness in real life until the bus on our school trip drove through some south London suburbs years later.

New Statesman

Tanzania: Boarding School for Under-Tens? Not Ideal

African countries get that early boarding is a no-no. Why doesn’t the UK?

Sending children aged below ten to a boarding school is denying them their basic rights, which include parental love and care. The remarks were made by the Acting Director of Temeke Municipality, Mr John Bwana who is also Head of Children Department in the Municipality, in Dar es Salaam on the occasion to mark the International African Child Day.”

“Mr Bwana, who was the guest of honour said sending children below ten years old to boarding schools contributes to lack of parental love and care to the children.”

Allafrica.com

Twenty years of Harry Potter: help for a declining, outdated, abusive industry?

26 June 1997. The day the first Harry Potter fantasy was published.

By 2002, the UK boarding school industry was crowing about the tales being a white knight for their declining industry. They started refurbishing their dorms, building new boarding houses on the back of a work of fiction. Written by a non-boarder.

The reality is that sexual and other abuses continue. Just read the news reports on this site about current, active boarding school abuse cases. No amount of fictional wizardry can replace the trauma and abandonment of boarding.

2002 also saw the founding of Boarding Concern, creating a support and advocacy organisation for those identifying as boarding school survivors.

Today, twenty years later, the boarding decline continues, propped up by the predatory acquisition of children from overseas.

And the Hogwart’s Generation of Millennial former boarders are now beating a path to our door. Our analytics show they represent 20% of visitors to our website.

What we have learned from the Harry Potter generation is that boarding should remain just a work of fiction, a fantasy. There is no need to send children away to boarding school.

The Guardian

MI6 and early boarding: A moment that changed me: finding out at 15 that Dad was a spy

[…]

The Firm, as Dad called it, knew that agents’ children were a liability so they dangled the carrot of free private boarding school in front of them to keep us out of the picture. Mum and Dad were the first generation in my family not to go down the mines or become skivvies, they knew what lay behind them. My parents were desperate that their offspring should come to see themselves as confident, entitled, well-educated and to have social capital and opportunities that had never been extended to them. The upper-class MI6 leadership was made up of people my father respected and wanted to emulate.

The state exploited this longing and so my brothers were shipped away at six and seven years old, never to return. Later – until I managed to escape – I spent a year in what was essentially a prison for posh children. A growing body of evidence has shown that these institutions inflict deep psychological wounds, and this has indeed been my lasting experience. My eldest brother died at 24, and I wonder whether things would have been different for him had he been allowed to stay at home. I now understand that my childhood and family were shaped by state intrusion and secrecy.

The Guardian