Boarding schools transform prospects of children in care

New research has shown the benefits that attending boarding school can have on those within the care system. Children increased attainment levels and two-thirds were removed from the ‘at risk’ register.

Boarding schools transform prospects of children in care
Research published by the Boarding Schools Partnership (BSP) has shown the benefit of placing Looked After Children (LAC) – or those on the fringes of the care system – into boarding schools.Carried out by Norfolk County Council, the research shows that almost two thirds of children were taken off the council’s risk register following their boarding school placement.

A way out of the care system

In addition, more than half of boarders who were LAC ceased to be so as a result of their successful development at boarding school.Norfolk County Council analysed the outcomes of 52 vulnerable young people who were either in, or at risk of going into, care, and who they had subsequently supported to attend 11 state and independent boarding schools over the past ten years.Colin Morrison, chair of the BSP, said, “This important research – the first of its kind by a local authority – confirms that local authorities and young people in and on the edge of their care have much to gain from the more extensive use of places in state and independent boarding schools.” 

Boarding: a cost-effective solution?

  • Almost three quarters of those in the study showed a reduced level of risk and almost two-thirds moved off the risk register completely
  • A higher proportion of children who took the placements attained an A*-C or Grade 4+ in both maths and English, than did so among LAC nationally
  • Placing children who are in or on the edge of local authority care in boarding schools can be cost-effective. The boarding school fees paid by Norfolk ranged from £11k per year for state schools to £35k for independent schools. With Norfolk County Council spending an average of £56,200 on children in their care, it is clear that the boarding school programme becomes financially efficient for the local authority.
“Our research shows that with the right placement, boarding schools can enable children and families to remain together,” said Dr Wendy Thomson, managing director of Norfolk County Council. “Most importantly, children and young people feel valued and supported, giving them a far better chance of achieving their potential in life.”
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Boarding 'improves both social and educational outcomes' 

Lord Agnew, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Schools System, said, “It is right that all children should be given the opportunity to reach their full potential and this report demonstrates that – for the right person, at the right school, at the right time – boarding school can be highly effective in improving both social and educational outcomes. I urge local authorities to consider these findings and the positive impact boarding school placements can have on vulnerable children.”The government is urging other councils to take note of the impact that boarding has had on children in the Norfolk trial and it appears that interest is growing.“We are now working with many other local authorities to help them develop programmes like the one in Norfolk,” said Mr Morrison. “There is now a strong interest in giving increasing numbers of vulnerable young people the opportunity of boarding school to help transform their lives and prospects.”Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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