2nd May 2018
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Boarding school children dominate world of work because they're not in front of screens at home, head says
Rather than spending hours “hunched” over a computer or television at home, boarding school pupils can spend their time pursuing their passions, according to Martin Reader, headmaster of the £37,000-a-year Cranleigh School in Surrey.
Addressing headteachers at the Boarding School Association’s annual conference in Brighton on Tuesday, he said: “When people question why our schools dominate the nations’ sports, creative and performing arts, the professions and politics, it is because they have had time to do those things and time with experts to coach them.
“Why sit in a car or on a train or a bus for 45 minutes twice a day, or in a bedroom by yourself hunched over homework or a screen?
“You could be spending those hours rehearsing for a play, having a band practice, spending more time mastering your musical instrument or your goal shooting technique, spending more hours perfecting that painting, debating or discussing politics or science or history – whatever is your passion.”
Mr Reader said that another benefit of a boarding school education is the “real face-to-face, social time” rather than pupils at day schools who are used to “virtual socializing” after school and at weekends.
He said that many boarding schools restrict social media either through controlling WiFi or limiting the apps that pupils can use.
Mr Reader told how his school has banned all mobile phones for pupils aged 13 to 14 as they are “not mature enough” for the technology.
“We use to get an incident a week of something unpleasant for that age group but now we've had nothing,” he said. “We restrict alcohol and cigarettes as a society because they are addictive so why not restrict something as addictive as a mobile phone.”
'We are deeply sorry' - boarding schools apologise for child abuse
Boarding schools must correct "the wrongs of the past" and create "obstructive obstacles" to deter potential abusers, headteachers will be told today.
Martin Reader is set to apologise for the abuse suffered by former pupils, on behalf of his organisation's members.
Addressing the BSA's annual conference in Brighton, he will say: "It is to our great shame that there have been those adults at our schools who have used their positions of power to abuse those they were supposed to be looking after, or have failed to use their positions of power to stand up against those abusers, putting school reputations before children.
"We are deeply sorry to the victims and survivors of the abuse that happened in our schools and are thoroughly committed to making our schools as safe as possible."
His comments follow recent media reports about the scale of abuse at UK boarding schools, including in recent years.
The BSA has drawn up a safeguarding charter and is lobbying the government to introduce legislation that would compel witnesses to report cases of sexual abuse.
"As we look ahead, our sector will continue to work hard to correct the wrongs of the past, and to put in place measures to safeguard and protect the children in our care."
This will involve taking a "zero-tolerance approach to abuse", and ensuring that safeguarding training is "more targeted and better informed".
He will say: "We need every abuser to look at every boarding school and see that our shared cultural attitudes, our policies and procedures are such obstructive obstacles that they will not work in our schools."
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