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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Pupils 'happy at boarding school'
Pupils said they liked living with their friends
Boarding schools are doing a good job looking after their pupils' welfare, a survey suggests.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection found 74% of boarders thought they were being treated quite well or very well.

Meanwhile, just 4% of the 385 pupils interviewed in England felt schools were dealing with them poorly.

The report says pupils' main complaints included missing their families, restricted freedom and poor food.

'More confident'

Some 142 parents were also interviewed, with 88% saying their children had been treated well at boarding school.

It is a cop out by the parents. If you do not like the kids, don't have them in the first place

The reasons they gave for educating their children in this way included pupils' improved confidence and greater independence.

But the most popular aspect of boarding school for parents - cited by 16% - was that pupils could live with their friends.

It was also the biggest plus point for the children, mentioned by 28%.

The report, Being a Boarder, says 24% of pupils thought schools were not "acceptable" at listening to their views.

However, 73% knew how to make a complaint.

Dr Roger Morgan
Parents told us boarding schools were looking after children well
Dr Roger Morgan

The Children's Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan, who wrote the report, said: "The public caricature of boarding is very negative, with people imagining lots of bullying, poor care and extreme homesickness.

"These are not major issues for today's boarders or their parents. Interestingly, boarders themselves register fewer concerns about being separated from their families than their parents do.

"Overall, both pupils and parents told us they felt that boarding schools were looking after children well and neither group identified any major changes that need to be made."

According to the Independent Schools Council (ISC) there are 70,000 pupils in its member boarding schools. Average fees for a term are 5,909.

An ISC spokesman said the satisfaction expressed by pupils and parents in the survey was "a powerful justification for the imagination, care and sheer hard work" shown by those dedicated to the idea that boarding was beneficial to young people.

There are also about 4,000 pupils in state-run boarding schools, but the report did not cover them.

Dr Morgan carried out his research last year, speaking to pupils in 36 schools and their parents.

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