Stars shun boarding for young children

The ancient practice of sending seven-year-olds to live away from home is dying out, and not only because of the high fees

Children under 16 should not be sent to boarding school, according to the broadcaster and historian Bettany Hughes, whose own daughters are being educated at a day school.

She said that her husband, Adrian Evans, and his brothers had boarded from the age of seven, which she described as “too young”. Her husband had enjoyed it but his brothers had not.

Emphasising that she was speaking in a personal capacity Hughes, 50, a mother of two, said: “I would not do it. I did not go through that system. We have not sent our own children to boarding school.”

The Sunday Times (subscription)

Lincoln Cathedral school deputy head jailed for sexual abuse

An ex-Church of England deputy headmaster who sexually abused six young boys has been jailed.

Roy Griffiths, 82, from Sherborne, Dorset, was also a former boarding house master at the now defunct Lincoln Cathedral school in the 1960s.

He admitted the charges, which date between January 1963 and July 1970, at a previous Lincoln Crown Court hearing.

He was given a sentence of six years and seven months, half of which he will serve in prison.

Griffiths will be released on licence for the remainder of his sentence.

In court, one of his victims read out a statement speaking of the “fear” he had of the former deputy head teacher, who was responsible for boys boarding at the school.

BBC News

Charity Commission steps up safeguarding scrutiny at private boarding schools

The Charity Commission has played down rumours it is taking a stronger stance on safeguarding at private and unregistered schools after opening more investigations in the past four months than in the last two years combined.

The regulator, which is responsible for ensuring charity law is followed by private schools and unregistered settings with charitable status, has announced inquiries into three schools since January and appointed an interim manager to take over safeguarding at a fourth.

In comparison, inquiries were opened into one school and one sixth-form college in 2016, while no investigations were announced into any schools last year.

This increase in investigations has given way to speculation that the commission is stepping up its activities in the sector, amid growing concerns about safeguarding at several private and unregistered schools.

Schools Week

Boarding school defends advert after being accused of sexism

A boarding school accused of “everyday sexism” has defended an advert which shows a boy pupil aiming to be a lawyer and a girl hoping to be a singer.

Ardingly College, a £34,400-a-year boarding school near Haywards Heath, has faced criticism on Twitter for its advert.

The Argus

Boarding schools’ ‘corporate greed’ is pricing out middle-class families, former St Pauls’ headmaster says

Private schools’ “corporate greed” is pricing out middle-class families, the former High Master of St Paul’s Boys’ School has warned.

Dr Martin Stephen suggested that charging ever-rising school fees is short sighted, as it poses a threat to the existence of public schools.

In a new book, titled The English Public School, Dr Stephen argues that while public schools are “highly resilient, they are not immortal”.

He explains that there are two “crucial” threats to their existence. “The first is the increase in fees that has placed a public-school education beyond the reach of the middle-class families that have been their bedrock for most of their history,” Dr Stephen said.

“The greed that has driven fee increases lies at the door of poor governance, and too many governors whose eyes rarely take in more than the good lunch they get at a Governors’ meeting.”

Telegraph (subscription)

The sinister clean-eating trend spreading through boarding schools

It’s the food movement that has captured the imagination of a generation of schoolgirls. But does ‘clean eating’ provide a cover for serious eating disorders? And what are England’s top educational establishments doing about it?

There was a simple solution to surviving a fairly revolting lunch at my West Country school: fill your blazer pockets with stacks of white bread from the dining room, return to the kitchen at the house, toast it and slather it in Nutella.This was the same school where a girl broke into the tuck shop with a hockey stick, such was her need for a sugar fix. And so it was in girls’ schools across England in those Edenic pre-Instagram years before anyone had uttered the words ‘clean eating’ or ‘Have you seen my spiraliser?’


Military families given £246m of taxpayers’ money to send their children to boarding school

Military families have been given £246m of taxpayers’ money over the past three years to subsidise their children’s private education, it has emerged.

Elite boarding schools such as Eton, Harrow and Gordonstoun alone received nearly £2 million last year, under a Ministry of Defence scheme which helps servicemen and women pay school fees.

Tony Blair’s old school Fettes was paid £441,027 and Eton, which has educated 19 prime ministers including David Cameron, was given nearly £270,000.

Telegraph (subscription)

Karren Brady, the Apprentice star and baroness, 49, talks about the legacy of a boarding school childhood

Karren Brady: I went to boarding school. And at boarding school nothing is your own. You wear what you’re told, eat what you’re told, go to bed when you’re told, you do what you’re told and at 18 I decided I’d had enough of being told what to do and craved independence.

I wanted to be able to make my own decisions, do things when I wanted to do them, how I wanted to do them. I went to work at 18 and I’ve never given up. You don’t want to get to the age of 49 and look back on your life and say, ‘I wish I would have done this…’ You’ll never know if you’re good at anything unless you try it. And don’t let fear hold you back.


Rochdale residential school abuse: Richard Farnell abuse denial ‘defies belief’

A former council leader’s claim he was unaware of child sex abuse in Rochdale “defies belief”, a report has found.

An independent inquiry said it was “shameful” that Richard Farnell “refused to accept responsibility for young lives blighted” in the town.

More than 40 men claimed they were abused at Cambridge House hostel, Knowl View school between the early 1960s and mid-1990s.

The report said Mr Farnell “lied to the inquiry during his evidence”.

Pupils at Knowl View were also sexually exploited in the town centre, the bus station and at public toilets across the road from the borough council’s offices over a 20-year period.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report found “valuable opportunities were lost” in 1998 and 1999 to charge and prosecute the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, who was accused of carrying out abuse in the town.

There was a misguided “unwillingness to consider that someone in a position of public prominence might be capable of perpetrating sexual abuse”, the report, which was published on Thursday, said.

BBC News

The difference is the distance

In many countries, Australia included, boarding is almost a necessity for some children due to their remote locations on farms and stations.

Here is an interesting story of a preteen who decided on boarding for herself. Unlike so many children in the UK for whom the decision is made for them, or they must agree to please their parents.

Going off to boarding school at 12 years old is no small feat, but Phoebe Sneath is taking it in her stride.

The avid gymnast from the small town of Port MacDonnell, near Mt Gambier in South Australia, discovered that alongside the gymnastics program at Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne, there was also a boarding house.

From that moment, “I had my heart set on studying here,” Phoebe said.

The Year 7 student acknowledged it was a big decision for her to move to MLC.

The decision was all up to me, and my parents were very supportive,” she said.

I live on a farm, so moving to the city was a big change.””

The Weekly Times (Australia)