The New York Times investigates the USA investigations into boarding school sexual abuse by staff. Who really benefits from these investigations, when a statute of limitations means prosecutions are time-barred?
Sad news, that with all the evidence of harm from early boarding, the Sapientia Education Trust (SET) (of which Wymondham College is the founding school) has decided to open an early state boarding facility.
In April this year, SET was granted permission (by the Department for Education) to open the Sapientia Primary Prep School as part of a wave of 111 free schools around the country.
The school, for five to 11-year-olds, will create 450 places, 30 of which will be boarding, making it the first state-funded primary boarding school in the east of England.
Just when children and early teens need more private contact with their parents, one school plans to give them less…
Surrey boarding school BANS mobile phones
A Surrey boarding school has banned the use of mobile phones for year 9 and 10 pupils.
Cranleigh School is said to be the first in the UK to prohibit the use of the device for its first two year groups.
The co-educational school in Surrey, educates pupils from age 13 to 18.
Staff claims that the move has proved popular with parents and pupils alike.
Deputy Head (Pastoral) Dr Andrea Saxel says: “We were already on the stricter end of smartphone use but this academic year we have decided to limit use in those two-year groups completely.
“Pupils have plenty of opportunity to contact home via private landlines and e-mail. [Not the same as being able to call or message their parents in private on their own phones without boarding schools monitoring their telephone calls and email messages.]
“There is extremely compelling evidence to show that constant access to social media sites is damaging to children’s self-esteem and mental health. [There is also compelling evidence of damage to children’s self-esteem and mental health from Boarding School Syndrome and other abuse at boarding school.]
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.
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.”
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?]
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.”
Three prominent Benedictine boarding schools – Ampleforth, Downside and Worth – should be examined as a combined case study for the UK child sex abuse investigation into the Catholic church, a preliminary hearing has been told.
The work of the archdiocese of Birmingham and its schools should also feature as a complementary case study, according to the lawyer in charge of the Catholic church strand of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA).
Setting out her recommendations for hearings planned in November, Riel Karmy-Jones QC proposed that an examination of a fourth school should be delayed because of an imminent criminal trial involving a former teacher.
Inquiries into allegations at Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Scottish Highlands should also be restricted to the movement of English monks transferred to the institution, Karmy-Jones suggested, because a separate Scottish inquiry into child sex abuse would deal with any offences committed there.
“Anyone who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison,” observed Evelyn Waugh. But in the journalist Alex Renton’s polemical new book about boarding schools, the stories of institutionalised humiliation and endemic physical and psychological abuse are worse even than what an inmate might expect in jail.
Alex Renton examines the disturbing brutality of boarding school life.
Short of prison, what can estrange a child so completely from parental love as boarding school?
Parents are replaced with new and often unsafe attachments; predatory abuse is not uncommon. My own boarding school in south London, called Brightlands (a misnomer for such a dark Victorian-era barracks), traded in beatings. Any of us caught masturbating or talking after lights out was made to strip in the bathroom down the corridor, where a sports master (it was always a sports master) beat us with a slipper. It was a shaming business that fills me even today with impotent perplexity. In some unformulated way, I understood that the punishments were a sexual outrage: the sight of livid marks on our posh white backsides must have excited that master.
At eight, in 1969, Alex Renton was sent to one of the country’s most expensive boarding houses, Ashdown House, a feeder for our most exclusive public schools (he later went to Eton). Young Alex knew nothing about the paedophilia and sexualisation of life at Ashdown, though his father (Tim Renton, later Margaret Thatcher’s last chief whip) must have had an idea: “Remember, if any of the older boys try to take you into a bush, just say ‘No’.” Naturally Alex had an abject terror of parental abandonment. Yet crying after lights out was punished with a beating. The headmaster turned out to be a sadist whose pleasure was to spank bared bottoms until they bled.
Renton, a “self-declared survivor” of sexual abuse, was frequently caned at Ashdown but, as he writes in this grimly absorbing account of British boarding-school life, it was not done to “sneak” on one’s tormentors. Boys had to take their punishment like men – like the men who meted it out. Life at Ashdown is so tear-jerking and brutal that Dickens might have invented the place. One maths teacher, Mr Keane, liked to offer sweets in return for a “rummage inside our shorts”. Renton told his mother about the fumblings but the headmaster’s wife managed to convince her that a formal complaint “would cause unpleasantness” and, anyway, “children made these things up”. Thus Renton was taught early on to expect disappointment.