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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 18:04 GMT
State boarding schools for 'poor'
Anonymous pupils entering school
Lord Adonis says boarding schools can help the vulnerable
Plans for a major expansion of state boarding schools to help children from disadvantaged homes have been announced by the Schools Minister, Lord Adonis.

New privately sponsored city academies, set up in some of the poorest parts of England, should include boarding houses where possible, he said.

Lord Adonis said boarding schools could help pioneer a personalised education.

He said his own experience of being sent to a boarding school by social services had "transformed" his life.

"I myself was funded by Camden social services to attend Kingham Hill School, a boarding school in Oxfordshire with a foundation dedicated to the welfare of disadvantaged boys - and more recently girls.

"I owe more than I can possibly say, or ever repay, to Kingham Hill and to those who supported me while I was there."

'Progressive expansion'

In a speech to the Royal Wanstead Children's Foundation, which funds boarding school places for disadvantaged youngsters, Lord Adonis said boarding schools could help vulnerable children.

"We are considering ways to extend boarding opportunities for vulnerable children, providing them with the combination of educational, residential and pastoral support where it is lacking in existing family or care settings," he said.

"We ought to be looking to a progressive expansion of boarding places within the state sector, and to be learning the lessons from boarding schools more widely in state day schools, as we seek to extend the school day and pioneer a more personalised education for all children."

Lord Adonis said boarding schools were not always for the well-off.

"It is a common misconception that successful boarding schools are all exclusive public schools, and that they only serve the needs of the rich.

"For many children - as I hardly need say here - boarding education is not so much an individual preference as an individual imperative to provide a secure environment in place of an unstable or non-existent family home."

Kingshurst City Technology College in Solihull, which is soon to become an academy, has announced plans to build a boarding house as part of its wider mission.

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