two sides…

“Children who board in prep school experience abandonment and bereavement at a very early age. Even when surrounded by kindly adults and a caring ethos, they are captive: powerless to leave unless released by staff or parents” says Joy Schaverien in this powerful argument about early boarding.”Living in captivity, even benign captivity, is still imprisonment. The psychological parallel is that the emotional self also becomes imprisoned.”

On the other side of the argument, the director of the other BSA Robin Fletcher challenges those who say it is unquestionable that boarding is harmful, and that this approach ” simply does not present a full and honest picture of the sector”. He describes how as in any other school, there will be those who love it and those who don’t. As ever, there is a lack of recognition that if you don’t love it the damage has already been done by the time you can do anything about it.

smartphones and stupid systems…

“Everyone is saying, ‘He’ll get over it, he needs to detach,’ but it’s been six weeks and he’s getting worse, not better. I’m receiving emails and texts of great distress and he says I’ve just left him, abandoned him, while the staff are telling me to ignore his calls and only speak to him once a day for five minutes, then hang up on him.”

Scorching stuff from Nick Duffell in the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2015/sep/29/take-more-than-smartphones-stop-boarding-school-children-being-damaged

twelve steps…

A new group has emerged: Boarding School Anonymous. This is an interesting idea: from experience of twelve-step programmes I know that central to the movement is accepting powerlessness, from experience of working with ex-boarders I would imagine that would be incredibly challenging for them. I believe it could be really helpful, and like the tone of their new website: “At boarding school most of us learned that vulnerability and emotional honesty was dangerous and needed to be guarded against.” Have a look here: http://virtualitconsultancyltd.vpweb.co.uk/

traditions and cultures…

Interesting insights from German banker Arnold Holle in The Telegraph today criticising English boarding schools and urging his fellow country men not to send them:  “All in all, no other Western country makes it more difficult for its underclass to rise upwards. The social injustice here in London cry out to the heavens. The school system is one of the main reasons that not only social mobility persists at a low level, but continues to decline every year.”  The full article is well worth a read even if not entirely convincing: Holle sends all his kids to expensive prep schools, its only worth not sending them if you live in Germany apparently. But with Germany being in the top five countries sending children to board in Britain, will anyone listen to him?

For something a little more uplifting this touching account of a woman holding on to traditions in the face of enforced boarding education is also worth a look.