You are one of the 700. Welcome!

That’s how many real people visit our website on average each week, 2,500 visitors each month.

78% of our visitors come from the United Kingdom. The rest come from countries that adopted the UK boarding school system. Here they all are on a map:

Posh Boys by Robert Verkaik review – how public schools ruin Britain

A trenchant j’accuse against the old-boy chumocracy and the ‘apartheid education system’ that perpetuates social inequality in the UK

From a 21st-century perspective, the term “public schools” is a semantic puzzle: what is “public” about a private, fee-paying school? But Winchester, Eton, St Paul’s and Westminster all started out as philanthropic institutions whose statutes expressly excluded the children of the wealthy. Moneyed interests forced their way in, and fee-paying pupils outnumbered free scholars by the 15th century; in 2017, only 1% of pupils attending independent schools paid no fees at all.

In order to justify their charitable status – which confers tax advantages worth an estimated £2.5bn per year – independent schools are legally required to do a modicum of work “for the public benefit”, but a 2011 court ruling held that it is up to their own trustees, not the government, to determine whether they have met this criterion.

“The public schools were founded to educate the poor and ended up serving the interests of the rich,” Robert Verkaik writes in Posh Boys, a trenchant j’accuse against what he calls the “apartheid education system” that perpetuates social inequality in modern Britain.

Research suggests the standard of teaching in the private sector is not significantly higher than in the state sector: parents “are really paying for smaller classes … and a place in the privilege network”.

Public schools are steeped in an oppressive culture of hierarchy and domination – the now obsolete practice of “fagging”, whereby senior pupils used younger ones as servants, persists in attenuated form in the prefect system – but the pay-off is substantial. As Evelyn Waugh’s Grimes puts it in Decline and Fall: “One goes through four or five years of perfect hell at an age when life is bound to be hell anyway, and after that the social system never lets one down.”

[Robert Verkaik spoke at our April 2018 Conference.]

The Guardian

Out now: Finding Our Way Home: Women’s Accounts of Being Sent to Boarding School

Finding Our Way Home: Women’s Accounts of Being Sent to Boarding School shares the personal stories of sixteen women, all of whom were sent away to board at an early age. Their accounts delve into the depths of long suppressed emotions and feelings, and the lifelong impact that the early separation from their families has had.

Much has been written about the impact of ‘boarding school syndrome’ on male boarders, but less about their female counterparts. This book is the first to explore the experience from a purely female perspective, and offers an intriguing insight into the world of boarding schools and the upbringing of girls born in the mid-to-late 20th century.

Finding Our Way Home is a book for everyone who ever attended boarding school, as well as psychotherapists and counsellors working with boarding school survivors.

Available now from Routledge, Amazon and other booksellers.

GDPR: changing the way we protect your information

There is no doubt that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the biggest piece of legislation to impact on the way we work at Boarding Concern. The BBC have made a two-minute video explainer.

We have already revalidated our mailing list, and revised the way we process all messages we receive, to protect your personal information.

We have more work to do, so you will see changes to our website in the days ahead, as we approach 25 May.

Boarding Concern is registered with the ICO: Registration number:ZA326578

How to find the therapist for you? The BBC offers some help…

Getting therapy can sometimes feel overwhelming. You might have been referred by your doctor, or you might be trawling online through the hundreds of different types of therapy that are out there.

But if you’re going to talk about something very personal to you, does it matter if you trust the person listening?

This week on Like Minds, the BBC is talking about why the relationship with your therapist matters, and how you can find someone who fits the bill.

(In our Resources section, we list organisations that can help you find a therapist.)

BBC News

Thanks from a Mum

On the eve of our 2018 Conference, we received this message from a mother:

“Hello I am writing to thank you for your website.

Your articles and information about Boarding School Syndrome helped put into words and flesh out the different nagging feelings I had as a mother as we considered secondary schooling for our 10 year old son.

At the time he was attending a prep school as a day boy but at 11 all boys start to board and are then on a conveyor belt towards top boarding schools.

We duly visited some of those boarding schools but I felt torn inside. In the end our financial circumstances changed due to my husbands change of job and this steered our choice.

We took our son out of the prep school at the end of year 6 and he started a truly excellent day school for Year 7. Having read the information on your website it made the change of course so much easier.

I knew it was definitely the right thing for us as parents and for our son.

I’m delighted to say he is now thriving at his new school, representing his school in Football, Rugby, cricket and debating. He’s made super friends and is doing very well academically.

What more can a parent ask?

He comes home at night, expresses himself emotionally, vents, is heard, listened to and then finds calm most of the time. I am so grateful that as parents we are there for him to guide him, nurture him and advise him.

Thank you again for your website which helped me make an important internal shift at a crucial time. I don’t mind you quoting me but only anonymously.

I wanted you to know that your website helped in our journey, even though I wasn’t looking for your website! It appeared in a Google search and caught my attention.

My husband, father, father-in law, uncle etc etc all boarded and I see the emotional cost for all of them, though they certainly gained in other ways.”

With gratitude…”

How many boarding school closures? Answer inside…

Nick Duffell, our keynote speaker at this years Conference, started his Boarding School Survivors workshops in 1990.

In that year, of 60 boarding prep schools, how many were still around five years later?

Only 28 were left in 1995…

And since forming Boarding Concern in 2002, 74 independent boarding schools have closed in England.

(Sources: 60/28 comes from a 1995 marketing survey by a now-defunct boarding prep school. The 74 figure from government figures.)

Our Conference is this Saturday, 21 April

The closing date is getting near as we have to finalise our numbers with the conference centre.

We look forward to welcoming those who have yet to register, so if you would like to attend, or are thinking about it, or perhaps hovering uncertainly, please contact us as soon as possible. Thank you.

Conference Flyer