Ministers launch bid to help ‘vulnerable’ children into top boarding schools
The Government is to launch a new service giving more vulnerable children the chance to attend some of the country’s top independent and state boarding schools.
The move is set to link councils with a host of children’s charities and boarding schools so they can work together to identify those on the edge of care who can be put forward for bursaries and scholarships.
Ministers have admitted that vulnerable children – including those who have previously been in care, have left the care system or are at risk of care – still often have poorer educational outcome than their peers.
They say a place at a boarding school can offer children “the possibility of term-time respite”, while maintaining a home environment they can return to during the weekends or holidays.
They add that such an arrangement can help parents struggling with mental health difficulties, or with extended families who are unable to cope full-time with a child.
The launch of the Boarding School Partnerships Information Service – which will work in alongside the the Boarding Schools’ Association – comes as part of the Department for Education’s bid to boost cooperation between state and private sector schooling, ministers say.
The move follows programmes of introducing named headteachers who are responsible for supporting vulnerable childrens’ education and almost £2.5bn of funding this year for state schools to support them.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System Lord Agnew said: “Children who have previously been in care or are at risk of care have often gone through difficult, challenging experiences that can have a lasting impact throughout their lives.
“These placements won’t be right for every child, but the pastoral care and educational support provided by our top boarding schools can have profound benefits for some young people.
“I’m delighted that so many organisations are working with us to help create more of these opportunities for these children, helping them to get the best start in life and to go on to reach their full potential, no matter what their background.”