Tag Archives: Boarding

Social workers reject boarding school plan

My letter to the editor of The Times, below, was published on 7 February 2017:

Sir

Nicola Woolcock reports that social workers have blocked access to boarding schools for vulnerable youngsters, and not for the first time.

On the two previous occasions, in 2006 and 2009, I was National Director of the Boarding Schools’ Association, which included almost 40 state boarding schools.  The willingness of the schools to make places available for disadvantaged youngsters, offering an excellent education and, for term time at least, a ‘home away from home’, was wholehearted and compelling.

Social workers were downright hostile.  Their resistance  was unshakable and shocking.  Great opportunities? No.  Education as a route out of poverty and disadvantage to better things?  Not interested.  I will never forget explaining the 2009 scheme to  a group of social workers in the North of England.  I was met with sullen silence.

And here we are again: undeterred, the Buttle Trust and the schools have kept going.   They are to be commended. These are life-changing possibilities. Offering them is worth the effort.  But social workers? They say no.  How dare they?

Hilary Moriarty
Monmouth

From disadvantage to high finance

The week begins with a meeting with The Buttle Trust, which is hoping to increase the number of disadvantaged children it assists into boarding school, from its present number of 300 to 800 by 2017.  The Buttle Trust already works with 120 schools, and hopes to increase this number so that good places can be found for more children who might be about to slide towards the care system, but whose educational outcomes are likely to be a great deal better if they can access a welcoming environment in which learning thrives.  BSA’s extensive programme of training for boarding staff offers considerable scope to support schools involved in this important development of the Trust’s work.

Later this week to Wellington Academy, one of the academies which persuaded the last Government to invest in boarding accommodation to extend its facilities.  Having welcomed its first boarders in September 2011, the Academy is now working hard to recruit for September 2012.  I look forward to seeing its great new facilities.

We are delighted that the new Diploma course, starting in March, is now fully booked up with senior and experienced boarding staff, many of whom have already completed the BSA Certificate course.  Word is that the pioneering first students on the Diploma pilot course last year have produced some  absolutely outstanding work.  The trailblazers have set a high benchmark for their successors.

It is also pleasing to report that the Certificate Course which begins with two residential days at Dauntsey’s School  in the Easter holidays is full booked and has a waiting list.  This one is a mystery to me – every year, mid February sees a flurry of phone calls asking if there is space on this particular course.  Perhaps it is attractive because of the two day kick-start; perhaps it’s the charm of being in holiday time, not needing to take time out of a busy term; perhaps it’s half-term-itis, when houseparents fondly think of the training they’d really love to do – and lo! Here is just the thing!  Whatever it is, we are really sorry to turn people away.  We do hope entry on to another of the courses is possible, but if it really has to be Dauntsey’s or bust, then please contact us to start the list of attendees for next year!

Lastly, common sense prevailed when I found the cost of a speaker for a conference next year.  I think the topic, about how to get things done, and don’t we all need help with that? would have been useful.  But the price tag was well in to five figures.  I shudder to think what Olympian sportsmen will be able to charge for speeches by the Autumn of 2012, but if you have a sporting alumni who remembers his or her school happily, you might want to book them before they get their gold medals and disappear into the financial stratosphere.

This post originally appeared at http://boarding.org.uk/blog/show/20