Poll: what do YOU think?

We have heard that Alex Renton says boarding should be banned from below the age of 13. We have heard a whole host of experts say there should be an end to “early” boarding. And we have heard Ray McGovern say that “Even a seven-year-old going into a boarding environment can be enriched by it.”

we would love to hear what you think, please answer the poll:

One thought on “Poll: what do YOU think?

  1. So is this what it feels like after the dam bursts?

    It feels as if something has changed, I hope irrevocably. Maybe, since Alex Renton’s courageous article describing his own boarding school abuse last week (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/04/abuse-britain-private-schools-personal-memoir) it’s now alright for adults who were harmed by the casual brutality of their own boarding experiences to share something of what they endured. That’s quite apart from those who, like Alex, were sexually abused by the men – the abusers are nearly always men – who were meant to be ‘in loco parentis’, caring for the children.

    I’m moved by many of the 650+ below the line responses to Alex’s article, and to the heart-breaking accounts here among the 700+ posts. What particularly touches me are the large numbers of women and relatives of boarding school survivors – people who didn’t go to boarding school but who, in reading these articles – are compassionately identifying with their fathers, brothers, husbands – people who’ve been dreadfully marked by their experiences, and who’ve come forward to express their concern, particularly on Facebook. Thank you.

    The shame and silent suffering, often for decades, is a characteristic of childhood abuse. I honour the courage of those who, like Alex Renton, are now stepping forward to share their own experiences, and to denounce the teachers who abused them or hurt their souls and psyches. Teachers? They discredit the profession. What precisely did they teach besides humiliation and its silent history; despair; objectification, and the science of sado-masochism?
    Listen here to Ian McFadyen describing his own appalling experiences at boarding school: https://audioboo.fm/boos/2144007-ian-mcfadyen-discusses-sex-abuse-at-caldicott-school

    And here’s the response from some listeners discussing it on mumsnet: http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/2074627-Jeremy-Vine-show-today

    Tracy McVeigh’s Observer article on the newly launched campaign to name the damage inflicted on children by early boarding (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/may/10/campaign-boarding-schools-young-children) is sober, balanced and matter of fact, quite unremarkable in many ways. Yet the truths she’s describing are like an elephant in the room, observations that the British media has struggled to acknowledge for decades past.

    No longer.

    Let this be a sea change.

    Let there be a Truth and Reconciliation-style Commission into British boarding school abuses, just as there is now underway in Canada for the generations of North American Indians who were torn away from their own families and communities and sent to residential schools: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/27/residential-schools-alberta_n_5046176.html
    The comparison is a revealing one. The British first hurt their own children before exporting the idea to the Colonies, not just to Canada, but to New Zealand and Australia as well. Where a journalist has, like Alex Renton, this week stepped forward to name his own experience of boarding school: http://i.stuff.co.nz/life-style/life/10031632/Boarding-school-and-the-damage-done

    Let’s see boarding schools for the damaging and anachronistic centres of privilege that they are. Anti-democratic and unaccountable places which have long fostered misogyny and a fragile sense of superiority, whilst at the same time damaging those apparently privileged children. Hothouses that have shielded and nurtured child abusers.
    Let’s bring an end to all that.

    It’s shocking to realise that British boarding schools are currently not obliged to report any incidences of sexual abuse to the police.

    Let’s change that.

    Please consider signing this petition: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/educationgovuk-introduce-law-requiring-adults-working-with-children-to-report-alleged-abuse-mandatenow
    And yet these places – for the meanwhile at least – enjoy all the tax free benefits of having charitable status.

    A bitter kind of charity they purvey.

    That, too, needs changing.

    A little bit of light is now being shone into some very dark corners.

    There’s a whole lot more disturbing testimony and truth to be heard yet.

    This is just the beginning.

    I look forward to the publication in a couple of weeks of Nick Duffel’s book, ‘Wounded Leaders’: http://woundedleaders.co.uk/boarding-schools-develop-true-grit/#comment-272. It boldly challenges the hegemonic power that boarding schools have enjoyed for too long.

    This too is changing.

    Not before time.

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