Children at risk 'should get boarding place'

Vulnerable children are missing out on the life-saving chance of a boarding school education, a headteachers' leader has warned.

A government plan to encourage both state and private boarding schools to accept pupils at risk of being taken into care has so far only seen a handful of places funded – despite the fact 70 schools are backing the plan.

"There remain too many people in the system who reject on the basis of ignorance or prejudice the very idea that a child might thrive at a boarding school," said Melvyn Roffe, chairman of the Boarding Schools Association.

He told the BSA's annual conference: "Too many others mean well but find themselves incapable of doing the right thing for a child because of time-serving bureaucratic procedures which, while purporting to serve children's interests, too often condemn them to an ever-diminishing circle of failure."

Mr Roffe, head of Wymondham College in Norfolk, called on the main political parties to back plans to pay £10,000 towards the fees of every vulnerable child who won a boarding school place. Even if 1,000 pupils were offered places it would cost only £10m, he argued.

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