The scandal of posh children dumped in boarding schools

Share
Related Topics

If you live in one of those streets that are so posh they have residents' parking for their wheelie bins, you may have noticed some strange children in your neighbourhood this week. Don't be alarmed - that couple unloading their new Land Rover Discovery don't make all their money by kidnapping children. Believe it or not, those kids are their own; they've just been to pick them up from boarding school.

This week, thousands of children will have returned to their "homes" for the first time since Christmas. They'll be seeing their pets, playing with their toys, sleeping in their own bedrooms and, for a few weeks, experiencing something approaching normal family life. But just when they start to adjust, a few belongings will be packed into a trunk, and they will be exiled to snobs' Siberia all over again. Whenever I worry that I may produce screwed-up kids, I console myself with the thought that at least I'm not spending thousands of pounds a year just to make really sure.

The fact that it is routine practice to separate children who are as young as seven from their parents should be a national scandal. Call the police, call social services - a child has been abandoned. However, somehow it is unacceptable for a penniless refugee to keep her child with her as she begs on the street, while it is considered a social status symbol to be able to dump your children in a posh borstal for eight months of the year. Call me a wet liberal, but there is more to parenting than sending off a parcel containing a Dundee cake and an Airfix model once every term.

Just as children who were beaten may themselves become violent parents, so Daddy will put his son down for his old school on the day that the poor child is born. I don't see why these parents don't just dump the baby in a telephone box and have done with it. In Aztec society, children were occasionally sacrificed at the age of seven. On the given day, they were taken to the top of the pyramid and then hurled to their death. And the Aztec dad pompously told his wife that it was for their child's own good, while the mum tried to put a brave face on it by saying to herself: "Well they do have splendid cricket facilities in the Kingdom of the Sun God."

The range of activities they offer is the most common defence of these institutions. Well they may have more rugger pitches and their own theatre and a brand-new science lab and 12 computers for a class of 12, but, without wanting to sound like a country and western song, what they don't have is love.

When children are at boarding school there is no one there who loves them. There is nobody who will be on their side no matter what and whom they can just go to and cuddle whenever they feel like it. They may have a boy for whom they fag, of course, and there is no one you would want to put in charge of your 11-year-old more than an abandoned 16-year-old who has been bullied for the past five years. What better way for a young boy to learn respect for his elders than being buggered by them?

By sending away your children, you are separating them from the most important thing in their life, the most crucial factor in their development as a fully rounded human being. I have never understood why posh people always feel the need to own so much stuff - horses, boats, holiday homes - yet, when it comes to their offspring, prefer to lease them on an occasional basis.

Of course, there are plenty of children who go to boarding school who may not be emotionally scarred. One of my best friends had a father in the RAF who was constantly having to move and so, from the age of 11, she shared a dorm with eight other girls. She is one of the most balanced, warm-hearted people I have ever met and, apart from the fact that she likes the Carpenters, does not seem to have been psychologically damaged in any way. But for every person like her there are countless dysfunctional adults who were denied proper role models, who have problems communicating with the opposite sex or, worse, have grown up believing that the boat race is an interesting sporting event.

If you have just brought your children home and this is the first that you have seen of them since Christmas, don't send them back to boarding school in four weeks. Don't send them the subconscious message that you do not want them around, that they are not welcome at home. Tell them that you love them so much you want to see them all year round. Tell them that you will undertake to teach those important social skills such as talking too loudly and throwing bread rolls around in restaurants.

And think of the money you'll save; you can put it in a savings account for your children. They'll need it when it's time to dump you in an old people's home.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Alan Titchmarsh MP?  

Alan Titchmarsh MP? His independent manifesto gets my vote

Jane Merrick
 

I’ll support England’s women, but it’s not like men’s football – and that’s a good thing

Matthew Norman
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue