August, 19 2017

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UK Boarding Schools Stifled by Red Tape

Only three children have benefited from a government initiative to give young people in care places in the country’s top private boarding schools since the scheme began a year ago.

Up to 2,000 children were expected to benefit from a “pathfinder” scheme, which aims to give vulnerable youngsters a chance to flourish socially and academically in a stable boarding school atmosphere.

The Problem

But local authority red tape and confusion over who should foot the bill has stalled the ambitious project, which involves more than 70 schools and 11 local authorities, The Times has learnt.

Sir Cyril Taylor, a key architect of the scheme and an adviser to the government, will today call for renewed efforts to make the scheme work, setting a target of 5,000 young people in care to be placed in boarding schools within three years.

Hilary Moriarty, director of the Boarding Schools’ Association, said local authorities seemed reluctant to engage with boarding schools, adding that some schools were making efforts to show local authority workers around, “so they realise we are not all wearing top hats and talking of going hunting at the weekend”.

Why Boarding Schools are a Good Solution

John Mythen, of Westminster City Council, said that with boarding fees at between £18,000 and £24,000 a year, the scheme could also be a more cost-effective alternative to placing children in a children’s home, which can cost up to £50,000 a year.

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