Category Archives: Times Ed

Our exported education relies on our reputation

TES is right to draw attention to both the economic value of a British education as offered in international schools overseas and the risk to this valuable sector from the constant, noisy washing of allegedly dirty linen – the criticism of British qualifications – in public (“Why the world is buying what we’re rejecting“, 20 July).

But you might also have noted that bad publicity about our examination system will weaken the appeal of a British education to international students, who contribute hugely to our economy by attending British boarding schools, independent and state maintained.

We should be pleased that after years of grumbling about falling standards, the present bad publicity about our qualifications is accompanied by plans to fix them. And about time, too.

Hilary Moriarty, National director, Boarding Schools’ Association.

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Stability in Work and Play

For children in care, apart from all their other problems, education can be a nightmare. Start with the difficulty of paying attention in school at all if your life is in turmoil and you are crippled by anxiety about yourself, your parents, your family, your home. Add to that any difficulty you might have settling in to a new home, be it with foster carers or in a children’s home. And then throw in the possibility that your new home means a new school, so you lose track of mates who might have helped see you through the bad times. It’s no wonder children in care are, as Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, recently reminded us, five times less likely to get their GCSEs and 25 times more likely to end up in prison.

Could boarding schools be the answer? It is certainly a live issue for the Government right now, with boarding schools, even at more than £20,000 a year, half the cost of care. Educational standards are outstanding. Pupils are expected to work hard and play hard, and small classes with dedicated teachers ensure great value-added scores for weaker pupils and excellent grades for the academically able. Pastoral standards mean that boarding pupils have the best care 24/7. A vulnerable child could build the friendships and relationships which might make all the difference to a young life.

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