Government backs boarding school places
I am heartened by the announcement of the Government backed scheme to place vulnerable children in care into independent boarding schools. With the Government paying 60% of the fees and the schools in the scheme agreeing to waive the remaining 40%, this scheme is more cost effective for Local Authorities, and provides vulnerable children with the opportunity to benefit from the structure, security and community that boarding education provides. The fact that a Norfolk study has shown that two thirds of children in care that are placed in boarding schools come off the ‘at risk’ register is very encouraging.
I have personal experience of just how transformative this can be for young children who have a troubled start in life. A close relation was educated at the Royal Hospital School Holbrook, within their charitable foundation, when his mother was widowed and impoverished decades ago. Being a single parent then was extremely difficult. He became an eminent professor and Harley Street surgeon and has never forgotten the quality of education and the help and encouragement that he was given by a supportive housemaster at his boarding school.
The fact that Colin Morrison will be leading the Boarding School Partnerships on behalf of the Department for Education is encouraging, given he has benefited himself from a boarding education within a charitable foundation. This scheme has been wholeheartedly adopted by independent boarding school heads, many of whom feel passionately about nurturing the talents of children who have a less fortunate start in life. In any event, this scheme to support less advantaged children reflects the roots of many independent school charitable foundations, and as such is great news.