One painful moment from my childhood remains so sharply defined in my memory that it has the power to make me cry — even now.
I am a boy, aged just eight, sitting at a window in my boarding school, scanning the drive, waiting for my father to turn up and take me on an afternoon outing.
Minutes tick by. The arranged time for our meeting passes. I wait, still hopeful, expectant, excited.
Mark Stibbe, a former vicar who lives in North Yorkshire, is among those to claim to have been abused by youth worker John Smyth, who ran Christian holiday camps. As other victims waive their right to anonymity, here he tells his story in full.
What is the point of these Ofsted inspections that are mere tickbox exercises for boarding? Where are the social workers assessing why each boarder has been placed in care, away from their families?
The UK is a small country and we no longer have an Empire. There is no longer any need for children to be sent away to loveless institutions (regardless of how comfortable they are).
If a teenager chooses to board at 16+ and it is exclusively their decision, then we at Boarding Concern will support their decision (subject to proper safeguards). But there is absolutely no need in 21st Century Britain to send children and young teenagers away from home, given the disastrous history of British boarding.
Everything else is just pointless PR puff.
“Delight as Wymondham College earns ‘outstanding’ inspection grade”
Eastern Daily Press
Maybe social workers are not caught up in the fetish of boarding? Maybe they do not want to send vulnerable children away from foster care and into loveless institutions, riddled with a history of abusing children?
And it has nothing to do with any fantasy of that perennial bogey “leftwing ideology”. Just practical, common sense that children are generally best raised in families than sent away to develop Boarding School Syndrome and or to become “Wounded Leaders“…
The Times (letters) (subscription)
A lawsuit against a Harrison County (WV) boarding school, forced to close about three years ago, alleges a “culture of silence and secrecy” at the school led to widespread abuse.
Two former students of the Miracle Meadows School in Salem filed the lawsuit late last month in Kanawha County Circuit Court. The former students, who are identified only by their initials, L.B. and T.B., claim they still suffer because of the alleged abuse — and always will.
Miracle Meadows had its state-recognized education status revoked in August 2014, and the Department of Health and Human Resources removed the school’s 19 students.
The former students claim they were subjected to neglect and extreme physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
Between 2009 and 2014, the school was named in more than a dozen complaints involving abuse and mistreatment of students, the Associated Press previously reported.
West Virginia Gazette-Mail
A headmistress is accused of presiding over a 20-year reign of terror at the Royal School for the Blind as pupils reveal how she abused them because they were vulnerable.
Margaret McLenan, the former primary school’s headteacher who has since died, is alleged to have physically and emotionally abused boarders, some of whom were just five years old.
I can understand why you did it. In theory. I understand that you wanted to give me the best education money could buy. I don’t blame you for sending me away to an extremely strict boarding school when I was very young. I think you genuinely thought it was best for me – and for my younger brother, who you also sent away, to another boarding school in another part of the country, miles away from me.
Read the full letter in The Guardian
Dr Niamh O’Brien, research fellow at the anti-bullying centre at Dublin City University, has studied the effects of bullying in a private boarding school in England.
The Dubliner, who is based at Anglia Ruskin University in Essex, found in her research specific concerns about bullying among boarders.
She carried out her research into a fee-charging school that takes both day pupils and boarders.
“For the day students in the school, they could leave in the afternoon after the school day was over,” Dr O’Brien tells Review.
“The boarding students were there in the evening time. For anyone affected by bullying, there was that fear that it would extend into the night-time – maybe when there was less adult supervision and things had gone quiet.
“The day pupils could talk to their parents or their siblings if bullying was happening, but that was not always possible for boarding students.”
Cold Feet star Robert Bathurst has blamed being bullied at boarding school for him becoming a “wary” and “very private” person.
The English actor was sent to a boarding school run by Benedictine monks at eight, and says he was bullied by staff and older pupils.
He told the Radio Times that when he was filming Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie in Ireland, he hired a car to revisit the school – but was “hyperventilating” as he went up the drive.
Robert said: “Your letters were read and if you said anything against the school, you were beaten.
“It has forced me to be very private.
BT TV News
Britain’s education system has long been in the firing line of vociferous TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp, whose distressing childhood experience turned her against boarding schools.
But now, for the first time, the host of Channel 4’s hit series Location, Location, Location has launched a personal attack on her own parents, the esteemed Lord and Lady Hindlip, claiming they neglected her needs by shipping her away aged just eight.
‘The truth is I would have much preferred to have stayed at home than be sent away, but that’s what my parents wanted,’ she says.