There can be a variety of circumstances when a boarding school will provide an effective element of the care plan for a looked after child. It can be particularly effective to support the placement of a young person placed with a parent under a care order or to support placements with other family members who are more suited to provide a home during the school holidays. In many cases, a boarding school placement for a looked after child has led to removal of care status with the child and family being supported under less intrusive long term arrangements.
By their very essence, the staff at boarding schools are used to working with children and young people whose lives are characterised by needing to live apart from families. Boarding schools have well developed systems to support young people both pastorally and academically.
Some schools are academically selective and many are not. There are boarding schools suited to every level and type of academic need.
Essentially, there are no real differences other than in how the schools are funded.
The educational charities Buttle UK, the Royal National Children’s Foundation, the Reedham Children’s Trust and the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation evaluate the hundreds of placements these charities support each year and further information, research and advice can be found on their own websites as well as here, on Boarding School Partnerships. In addition to formal research, there are many anecdotal examples of the positive life-changing experiences that boarding schools have made to vulnerable young people. It is clear, of course, that a boarding school placement may be right for some young people and not for others, even though the sheer range of those beneficially supported by the charities may be almost as wide as the range of state and independent boarding schools they have attended. One of the prime objectives of Boarding School Partnerships is to give local authorities easy access to the charities and schools that can help and advise in identifying those young people for whom a boarding school placement is most likely to be effective and how best to manage the whole process.
Generally speaking, children whose educational and health needs require an EHCP will have those needs fully met in either a day school or a specialist residential school under the plan. It is possible, however, for the children's social care department within each authority to negotiate and fund the boarding element if a boarding school is desired to support the care plan or family support process, and if a suitable school can be found which meets the education and health needs as assessed for the EHCP.
Each case will have to be evaluated carefully and all potential costs will need to be considered with the help of the prospective boarding school. Actual boarding fees can vary widely from school to school and, although the long-term impact of a boarding placement needs to be considered, the actual cost to local authorities can be substantially reduced by funding support from a range of sources. Boarding placements can be funded by contributions from: