All in the Same Boat? Episode 6 – How boarding schools support disadvantaged children

Stig Abell learns about how boarding schools can support vulnerable children

By Pixie Parker · September 2, 2021

This episode is about the use of boarding education to support vulnerable children, and what we can learn about this approach to apply to education more broadly as we come out of the pandemic.

Buttle UK have been funding grants to support children to attend boarding school for nearly 70 years. This idea might seem counter intuitive, particularly those who have a particular image of what a boarding school is like. Some may question whether boarding school is the right environment for a disadvantaged child. However, the results can be extremely impressive – GCSE grades of the children Buttle UK supports are consistently above the national average, never mind those for comparative cohorts of vulnerable young people.

The children that Buttle UK support are living in low income households, and experiencing a range of difficult social issues: domestic abuse, parental mental and physical health problems and neglect. All factors that can see a child being taken into care; however, the costs of a boarding school can be a lot cheaper than local authority care. So it does seem like there is something in this model, particularly as we anticipate the long-term impact of the COVID crisis and the growing education gap between children on the lowest income and their more affluent peers.

Joining writer, journalist and radio broadcaster Stig Abell, are Julien Andre and Mark Alexander, previous students supported by Buttle UK, and Adam Williams, Head at Lord Wandsworth College, who have a long history of supporting this sort of bursary places.

Listen to the episode on Spotify.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts.