Ministers moot boarding scheme

The government is in talks with private boarding schools about the
possibility of them receiving vulnerable children, including those
in care.

The Department for Education and Skills has formed a working group
including representatives from the boarding school sector and
councils and a discussion paper is likely to be published in the

Boarding schools believe the government is interested in the idea
because it could be cheaper than residential care, help compensate
for a national shortage of foster carers and boost educational

However, there is scepticism among charities and council leaders
that boarding schools will be equipped for vulnerable

John Coughlan, chair of the Association of Directors of Social
Services children and families committee, said: “The idea may have
some merit but needs careful consideration. It needs to look at the
needs of the children rather than the needs of the sector.”

Sally Bamsey, manager of the children’s residential care unit at
the National Children’s Bureau, said: “Most children in care are
there because they have been abused and neglected. Will boarding
schools be ready to respond to the emotional needs of children in
public care?”

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