Boarding school parents 'suffer as children have fun'
Tuesday 10 October 1995
The poll of 5,000 parents with children at private and state boarding schools shows homesickness is just as traumatic for them as for their children.
The survey, by the Independent Schools Information Service, is part of a campaign to reverse the decline in the number of boarding pupils, down by one-sixth since 1990. Average boarding fees are now more than pounds 10,000 a year.
The report says its findings "lay to rest the notion that boarding parents are uncaring egoists who cannot wait to hand over responsibility for their children to others".
For many parents, it says, "successful results of boarding have been bought at some cost - not just financial but emotional and, for many, a kind of anxiety somewhere between doubt and guilt".
One parent said that, during the first term, her daughter was desperately homesick.
"We all found this an extremely difficult time," she said. "Despite her pleading to be removed, we persevered."
Two weeks into the second term, the problem was happily resolved by negotiating a new weekly boarding arrangement.
One in three parents believes that their relationship with their child improves because of boarding while only 7 per cent feel it deteriorates. Four out of ten are first-time buyers of boarding education, with neither parent having had any personal experience of boarding.
Most parents have to justify their decision to use a boarding school to other parents, particularly the parents of those who are 10 or younger. One in five children starts boarding before they are nine.
Parents choose boarding because they believe it makes their children more mature and independent. They are more interested in the many extra- curricular activities on offer than in a particular school's academic reputation
Six out of ten choose boarding after considering local day schools and around one-fifth of parents opt for them because they live overseas or serve in the armed forces.
Overall, only a quarter of parents are concerned about whether a school is co-educational or single- sex, though it is important for 59 per cent of parents in girls' schools.
The weekly letter home is apparently a thing of the past. Nearly half of boarders never write to their parents but almost all telephone home several times a term. Nearly a quarter telephone several times each week.
Parents gave a variety of reasons why their children enjoyed boarding. One parent of three brothers at preparatory school said: "The boys think it's cool to board."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...