Academies and free schools in rush to open state-funded boarding schools - Education News - Education - The Independent

Academies and free schools in rush to open state-funded boarding schools

Children from less privileged backgrounds could benefit from surge in applications

Long the preserve of the upper classes, a wave of cut-price boarding schools providing a state-funded education could be made available to children from less privileged backgrounds.

New statistics show that there has been a huge rise in applications from academies, educational charities and individuals involved in the free-schools movement to arrange boarding facilities for pupils.

In just the first four months of 2013, the State Boarding Schools’ Association (SBSA) said it had received 20 applications from those interested in opening new institutions. This compares with only one application per annum over the past five years. These new schools would offer a free education and charge only for the cost of boarding – reducing the demands on parents’ bank accounts from more than £25,000 a year to around £10,000.

Although it is still a substantial monetary outlay, the charges can cancel out childcare costs and it is hoped the schools could provide an option for more children from families experiencing problems at home.

The new generation of boarding schools comes in the wake of the inner-city London school Durand Academy’s plan to open the “Eton of the state sector” in West Sussex for 600 children.

Three academies opened boarding facilities last year, with five more announcing plans to do the same. The Wellington Academy in Tidworth, Wiltshire, sponsored by the £30,000-a-year Wellington College, also  offered boarding places to 100 pupils in 2012. Even the elite Eton College  is planning to sponsor a state boarding school, Holyport College, which will open in 2014 just seven miles  from the public school in a village near leafy Windsor.

The Harefield Academy in Hillingdon, west London, was the first academy to open a boarding house nearby, for 50 of its students in 2012.

Headmistress Lynn Gadd said the school decided to offer boarding to help pupils from working-class areas.

“For children who are on the verge of failing because they’re not in class, if you put them in boarding school it’s going to make a difference – it’s a no-brainer,” she said.

“There are also lots of children who we call sofa surfers. They move from mum to dad to gran, so they’re never in one place to do their homework or have a place to call their own.”

However, she admitted very few of the families can afford to pay the £10,000 fees to cover the costs to board over a year – saying that it could sometimes be a struggle to find funds for children who would benefit most from the experience.

“The Government funds the building and the facilities but it doesn’t fund the places,” Ms Gadd said. “So you have to go to charitable trusts for funding and local authorities for financial sponsorship.”

Melvyn Roffe, a senior member of the SBSA and the headmaster of  the Wymondham College state  boarding school in Norfolk, said: “It’s sort of going back to the future. It  was a form of education that was very popular years ago and now it’s come back around.”

Case study: It’s like a family; everyone looks out for each other

Lauryn Nwaeze, 16, is completing her GSCEs at Harefield Academy and moved to the boarding house at the school in September.

I moved because of the long commute to school which would have been an hour-and-a-half.

It’s really helped me because it’s so close to the school that if I ever need help from teachers they’re literally two minutes away. My homework has improved because we have scheduled study time.

I quite like being in the boarding house because it’s like a family; everyone looks out for each other.

If you stay at weekends you’re allowed to do what you like but obviously we have a curfew – for Year 11’s that’s 10pm.

Before I came I thought boarding was going to be like in Harry Potter but it’s really normal and you’re in safe hands. I’ve got my own room and toilet, and we have a head house-mistress and people who look after us and keep us in line.

I don’t mind not being at home because my mum’s a nurse and she works quite a lot. What I love the most about being here is that I’m not on my own as much, and you also get to be more independent without your parents.

Life and Style
tech
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Primary Teachers needed in Winsford

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Key Stage 2 Teachers needed in...

Exam Invigilators needed in North Wales

£45 - £50 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Randstad Education are currentl...

Secondary teachers needed in Harleston

Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobRandstad Educatio...

Exam Invigilators needed

£45 - £50 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Randstad Education are currentl...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week