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Hi. This is a blog set up by me, Sally Fraser, to raise awareness of the harm done to children, adults and society as a whole by boarding education. I became interested in the issues surrounding boarding because I married an ex-boarder, but also because as a mother I believe in the importance of raising children at home.

On this site I have gathered together various articles describing the negative effects of boarding, and where  the issue sits in relation to the law and children’s rights. You are very welcome here.

You can also watch a debate about this here:

At the moment I am largely  taking a break from campaigning,  but a group still exists which you can connect with via   facebook, and Sam Barber still heads up a feed on twitter @B_S_Action.

I am still deeply committed to bringing an end to boarding school for young children, but at present I am working creatively and independently on this issue. If you are interested in my work you can get in me with us using this form:

If you do get in touch please keep an eye on your spam folder in case my replies to you get spammed.

 

18 thoughts on “

  1. I whole heartedly agree with anyone who wishes to ban boarding schools – children need their education but essentially need their families, & caring environment to ‘grow’ in. If I was in a position to be able to I would outlaw any form of boarding school. I speak only as a parent not as an ‘ex’ boarder.

    • I totally agree. Having spent ten years in the 60s and 70s experiencing this curious British practice that amounts to parents discarding their children, unwanted, to part time orphanages, I would ban them in a heartbeat. They are a despicabe anachronism and are little more than socially sanctioned child abuse.

      • great to hear from you Jim and Barry, please consider signing up to become supporters of BSA if you haven’t already done so, we have lots of plans as to how we will be ramping up our efforts over the coming months. SF

      • I’M ALL IN!

        I have suffered since the age of 7 and have naturally become an addict to drugs and alcohol because of it.

        I’ve been a loner living in fear and anger and been to hell and back like a yoyo ever since.

        Finally I have surrendered, am clean and sober and working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous but also accepted treatment at last, for my buildup of many years of depression and mood disorders.

        Boarding School ruined my life and I will do anything to help others in the same situation and to see the ban on under 15’s boarding schools come into action!

    • I agree: just read Don’t Come Crying Home to see the happenings and effect of institutional life on young boys.

  2. Nick Duffel says that the emotional neglect follows the children in their adult life. This can lead to suicide. His argumentation isn’t good because he generalizes.

  3. I have lost count of how many people we have heard from who suffered abuse at their boarding schools. This ranges from sadistic physical and sexual abuse to the psychological impact of feeling abandoned by the very people who are supposed to nurture and love their children……..parents.
    Why, when we have a country dotted everywhere with good schools, do we have to put so many children into the care of others?
    Pete Saunders
    Founder
    National Association for People Abused in Childhood
    http://www.napac.org.uk

    • I’m not a boarding school survivor, I’m actually have the proud story that I refused to go to one, when a giftedness advisor recommended one at age 8. My mum knew I would not deliver academically if sent to it unhappily.But despite that I, still eventually became a victim of the wishful thinking gifted movement by pressure abuse – and that resulted in a forced weekly-boarding experience in a teenage psychiatry unit for 6 months, just because they were dogmatic for separation from mothers. A bodily offence happened as part of the treatment…

      No, I’m posting just to respond to the mention of NAPAC. They have become able to shoo you off their phone helpline with interrupted sentences and saying “unfortunately”, exactly what any nervous phoner most fears and will most shatter their confidence, and of ignoring you when you complain about it and publicly blog sbout it. And have shown a double standard of not wanting to tell TV channel S4C to open up the past like BBC has had to.
      autisticgroupsfairnesswatch.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/napac/

  4. I’m fifty shades of fucked up. Mother suffered post natal depression when I was born, and I was taken away from her, so she never bonded with me, nor I with her.

    I was taken back to the UK by my grandmother, a woman who years later would later admit on her deathbed, to her two daughters (my mother and aunt), that she never loved my mother.

    During my childhood, I constantly wanted to “catch up” with my younger brother in terms of getting hugs and affection from my mother, but never could. You never can.

    Then I was sent away to boarding school completely unprepared for socialization, weak, needy, terrified, angry.

    I escaped when rumours (probably untrue) of sexual abuse reached my parents. Dumped back into a mixed comprehensive school in the middle of adolescence, I was asocial, terrified of girls, though of course fascinated. My schoolwork went downhill. I failed “A” levels, and left early into vocational education.

    I’ve never had a good intimate relationship in my life. I’m 53. I’m broken. Children MUST NOT be separated from their mother.

    • Wow! I thought I had a difficult childhood in orphanages (read that in Don’t Come Crying Home) but yours seems more torture all round. And it’s a struggle to sort out an identity and a life of friendships and bonds.

  5. NATE
    National Association For Therapeutic Education
    Patrons: Graham Allen MP Sir David Amess MP Gregory Barker* Bishop Paul Bayes Richard Benyon MP Gerry Bermingham* Clive Betts* Nicola Blackwood MP Tom Blenkinsop MP David Borrow * Dr Peter Brand* Julian Brazier MP Steve Brine MP Helen Brinton* Annette Brooke* Robert Buckland MP Paul Burstow* Bishop Paul Butler Alex Carlile QC* Neil Carmichael MP Lord Chidgey* Tom Clarke CBE* Vernon Coaker MP Rosie Cooper MP Brian Cotter* Lord Cotter John Cryer MP Alex Cunningham MP Sir Tony Cunningham* Cynog Dafis* Bryan Davies* Philip Davies MP Rt Hon David Davis MP Jim Dobbin* Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP Brian Donohue* Mark Durkan MP Rt Rev Lord Eames OM Bill Esterson MP Bill Etherington * Nigel Evans MP Mark Fisher * Robert Flello MP Howard Flight* Barbara Follett * Michael Gapes MP Rt Hon Sir Edward Garnier QC MP Dr Ian Gibson* Stephen Gilbert* Lord Glentoran CBE DL Mary Glindon MP Sir Richard Glyn BT Thomas Graham* Professor Sir Denis Pereira Gray OBE Baroness Greengross OBE Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP Fabian Hamilton MP Mike Hancock CBE* Sir Nick Harvey* Lord Haskins John Hemming* Sharon Hodgson MP Adam Holloway MP Paul Holmes * Baroness Hooper CMG Bishop Alan Hopes Rt Hon Lord Howarth of Newport CBE Rt Hon George Howarth MP Baroness Howe of Idlicote CBE Dr Kim Howells * Rt Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP Andrew Hunter* Dr Brian Iddon * Cathy Jamieson* Brian Jenkins* Jon Owen Jones* Dr Lynne Jones * Martyn Jones * Nigel Jones* Fraser Kemp* Andy King* Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth Pauline Latham OBE MP Professor Lord Layard Andrea Leadsom MP John Leech* Sir Edward Leigh MP Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP Professor the Baroness Lister of Burtesett CBE Bob Litherland* Elfyn Llwyd* Andy Love* Karen Lumley MP Dr Wendy Lynas PhD Rob Marris * Baroness Masham of Ilton DL Patrick Mercer OBE * Norman Mikardo Penny Mordaunt MP George Mudie* Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor Bishop James Newcome Mark Oaten * Lembit Opik * Diana Organ* Sandra Osborne* Bob Parry* Rt Hon Priti Patel MP Peter Pike* Bishop Stephen Platten Chris Pond* Mark Prisk MP Bishop John Pritchard Lord Rana MBE Syd Rapson BEM* Bishop John Rawsthorne Bishop Dr Lee Rayfield Lord Rea Of Eskdale MD FRCGP Bishop Edwin Regan Margaret Ritchie MP Dan Rogerson* Sir Bob Russell* Christine Russell * Martin Salter * Adrian Sanders* Laura Sandys* Barry Sheerman MP Henry Smith MP Archbishop Peter Smith Peter Snape* Gerry Sutcliffe* Lord Taverne QC Simon Thomas* Baroness Thornton John Thurso* Dr Desmond Turner * Dr Rudi Vis * Baroness Walmsley Mark Williams MP Roger Williams* Lord Willis of Knaresborough ( * formerly Member of Parliament ) 59 Birdham Road Chichester PO19 8TB 07984654503 http://www.n-a-t-e.webs.com/ john.tierney@virgin.net /15

    The Underlying Crisis in Childhood – The Nation’s Most Critical Social and Institutional Failures

    The nation’s most critical social failure is the inability of successive generations of adults to resource the formative emotional development of many children.* This is the underlying cause of profound and intractable social issues which confront the UK.

    Symptoms of this failure are diverse and include low levels of a sense of wellbeing among children and young people ** and a significant incidence of mental ill health. *** But the long term effects of emotional delay and suspense in infancy are complicated by the fact that many psychologically undeveloped children are able to mirror adult expectation and can make a superficial social adjustment at least. A proportion of these eventually emerge as conditioned, socially functioning adults who experience varying degrees of emotional delay or suspense. This has potentially devastating implications for individual lives and for the collective ability of the nation to function socially and to live sustainably. Much self seeking, self defeating, deviant and disturbed behaviour stems from this source. The direct and indirect long term effects of early psychological deprivation in adult society are complex and far reaching and have potential to influence key institutions and fuel the nation’s most challenging social and economic problems.

    Amid disturbing statistics and growing disquiet from national and international organisations concerned with Human Rights, Government is becoming aware of the failure of many children to achieve formative emotional growth. As understanding deepens at national level there has been ambiguity from Ministers and their initial response has predictably been to focus State intervention in Early Years. But the preschool sector is not fully subject to statutory constraint and cannot be easily controlled from Westminster. Partly for these reasons the success of Government policy has been limited and much confusion remains.****

    As national leaders work to improve the effectiveness of State intervention in Early Years, a further potential key strategy has yet to be considered by Government . Since 1995 – amid the nationwide collapse of therapeutic education for severely disturbed children – the National Association for Therapeutic Education NATE has consistently drawn attention to the nation’s most critical institutional failure. This is the continuing general failure of the school system to resource formative emotional growth. Child education exists to realise the emotional/spiritual, social, intellectual/creative and physical potential of each individual. In theory it is an integral function of primary education and the infant sector in particular, to provide conditions for formative psychological development. Because infant schools are statutorily regulated they could and should be equipped to assist in resolving the underlying crisis in childhood by resourcing formative emotional growth. But in practice they are generally prevented from doing so by Government constraint. Progress is slow but it is anticipated that the full potential of the infant sector will eventually be recognized by the State and its advisers and infant schools will become a uniquely effective intrinsic part of an Early Years progression of 0-7 years at least.

    A central purpose of the National Association for Therapeutic Education is to persuade senior Government leaders to restore a specialist therapeutic school service for severely emotionally disturbed children nationwide but more importantly to address the continuing general failure of the UK school system to resource formative emotional growth. NATE has defined in simple terms the circumstances for formative emotional development in childhood. These include protection, control, consistency, acceptance, guidance and insight within the context of secure individual relationships between children and adults. The potential means to assimilate these conditions in infant education have also been identified but they have yet to be implemented. Efforts are continuing to engage the interest of senior national leaders in the proposed solution outlined here. For more information please contact

    John Tierney Director National Association for Therapeutic Education NATE
    * ‘As many as 40% of children lack secure bonds with adults.’ (Baby Bonds – Sutton Trust 2014)
    ** ‘…in 2007 placed the UK at the bottom of 21 developed countries for overall child well-being.’ (United Nations 2013)
    *** ‘It is calculated that, at any one time, 20% of children and adolescents experience psychological problems.’ (Bright Futures -Mental Health Foundation 1999) – ‘Given that one in four people (and growing) will experience mental health problems this is an issue that affects us all.’ (Mental Health Foundation 2014)
    **** Government intervention in Early Years is a ‘confused mess’. (Principal Social Worker 2014)
    ‘There are serious and deeply ingrained problems with the commissioning and provision of Children’s and Adolescents’ Mental Health Services.’ (Health Select Committee Report 2014)

  6. I am an ex-boarder from India. And my parents sent me to an English missionary type boarding school at the age of eight.
    I am now 55, married, with a ten year old son, and going through a slew of marital and career problems: so complex and confusing that I just feel so utterly helpless!
    It wasn’t till just a few days back that a school friend of mine shared an article that spoke about the ‘boarding school syndrome’ that I got to know about this ‘condition’. And, after reading up further, all I can say is that whatever has been said is so uncannily true!
    I fully endorse the action you plan to take to bring about a change in the system.

  7. I was sent to Catholic boarding school in 1963, aged 8 1/2, stayed for just over a year, was abused by a priest whilst there, but managed to persuade my parents to extract me before I imagine the priest would have moved towards penetration, so I was luckier than some!! My older brother and sister were sent to board, my 2 younger sisters went abroad with the parents, which effectively split the family. I thought that I had dealt with the experience, although did not tell my parents the real reason, who would believe it? I had many sexual partners in my 20-30’s, all very intense but short lived, Married at 30, and divorced at 38, married again at 43, and currently being divorced, I am now 61. I have always struggled with a sense of identity, find it difficult to make lifelong relationships, do not trust easily, have low self esteem, live generally in denial, and fear, and I imagine, a deeply hidden sense of shame and maybe even guilt, and having read the numerous postings on these sites, I clearly fit the general descriptions, I feel that I have ‘coped’ with the issues rather than dealt with them, and have no doubt that my earlier experiences have created problems in my current marriage, although I am wary of confusing my issues with normal meaning of life issues. It is a relief to find so many similar stories, we are not all mad!! and perhaps on reflection, we have not spoken up on the issue, because we would feel we are making boarding schools a scapegoat for our insecurities, or perhaps there has never been suitable outlet

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