Boarding schools can benefit vulnerable children, study shows

Vulnerable and disadvantaged children can benefit significantly in terms of academic success, self-esteem and social skills from a boarding school education, a report out yesterday has found.

The study focused on 97 children, who charity the Royal Wanstead Children’s Foundation funded to board, 60% of whom had been exposed to abusive, abnormal or threatening behaviour at home and over 70% of whom had significant social or emotional problems.

The charity found that while 27% were rated as at or above average for their peer group on admission to boarding school, across a range of social, academic and emotional criteria, 85% had attained this level within three years. Children were assessed as having improved significantly in terms of social skills/peer relationships, relationships with adults and teachers, adapting to school structure, capacity to learn, academic progress and self-esteem.

Royal Wanstead Children’s Foundation chair Colin Morrison said there were 2,000 spaces within existing UK boarding schools and called on the government to fund means-tested grants for vulnerable children to attend. Annual fees range from £7,000 a year for state boarding schools to around £25,000 for the most expensive independent institutions.

The news comes with the government piloting the use of boarding places for looked-after children, and promising to increase availability for children assessed as likely to benefit.

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