Letter: Family touch for school boarders

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The Independent Online
Sir: I sympathise with Ruth Sherwin and Susannah Clasen (Letters, 9 and 11 January). Many boarding schools are indeed not what they were, and usually for very good reasons. But there are still many excellent schools, both preparatory and senior, where full boarding is still the norm and which, in many cases, have resisted the pressures for the weekly boarding option.

In my school, and in many others that I know, houseparents and other staff devote an enormous amount of time and care at weekends to ensuring that boarders do indeed have the next best thing to family life - and with the huge range of activities available, it is often a much more attractive option than a weekend at home.

I do not believe that boarding schools have ever been more conscious of their pastoral responsibilities towards children's upbringing, particularly those of us with a large proportion of pupils not resident in the local area. Indeed, many families choose such schools precisely because of the 'consistent care and stability' that they can and do offer.

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD SMYTH

Headmaster

Millfield Junior School

Glastonbury, Somerset

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