29/10/2004

Children 'well looked after' by boarding schools, says report

Modern-day boarding schools offer strong benefits to pupils and are looking after children well, according to the Children's Rights Director for England.

The first major study into life in boarding schools, 'Being a Boarder', by the Dr Roger Morgan dispels popular myths that boarding is a hotbed for of bullying, with low levels of care. Also, extreme homesickness is not a significant problem for boarders.

The Office of the Children's Rights Director, asked almost 2,000 pupils and parents for their views. It found that nearly twice as many parents (23%) were concerned about the effect of being away from family and friends than the pupils themselves were (12%).

However, the report warned that boarding does not suit every child, and it was vital that the right choice of school is made for the individual child

Launching the report, Dr Morgan said that boarding schools "come out very well" from the survey.

"Boarding schools are seen as offering a positive social life, with plenty of friends and activities – often across cultures – and with strong benefits of learning social skills and independence," he said.

"The public caricature of boarding is very negative, with people imagining lots of bullying, poor care and extreme homesickness. These are not major issues for today's boarders or their parents. Interestingly, boarders themselves register fewer concerns about being separated from their families than their parents do."

Dr Morgan added: "Overall both pupils and parents told us they felt that boarding schools were looking after children well and neither group identified any major changes that need to be made."

(gmcg)

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