Bed and boarders

24th September 2004 at 01:00
A private school is putting up 16 pupils in a three-star hotel. Joseph Lee reports

A private school is boarding some of its pupils in the en-suite comfort of a country hotel because it has not got enough room for them.

Students at Bromsgrove school in Worcestershire are residing at the ivy-clad Perry Hall Hotel, childhood home of the school's most famous ex-pupil, AE Housman, who wrote A Shropshire Lad.

The school has booked pupils into an annexe at the three-star hotel. This building, half a mile from the main site, is used by 16 pupils and two staff as a self-contained boarding house. The sixth-formers have exclusive access to their building, which is protected by security codes.

Each room - which would normally cost pound;37.50 a night - has an en-suite bathroom and TV, a potential source of envy for the other pupils who live in the 451-year-old school's older buildings.

The hotel also has a bar and restaurant, which would have pleased Housman who sought inspiration in a pint of beer and a walk after lunch.

Christopher Edwards, who took over as head at the start of term, said that pupils had joked about staying in the hotel, but it would be no soft touch as they would still be subject to school rules.

He said: "It is self-contained, and it is run as a small boarding house.

There is no suggestion of anyone hanging around the bars, or of other people wandering through the annexe."

The deal was struck with the hotel because the pound;6,000-a-term school ran out of space.

Pupil numbers have more than doubled in the past 20 years. Last year the school was placed 75th in the A-level league table, four places behind Eton college.

Mr Edwards said: "There is a need to rationalise the numbers of boarders.

But we are fortunate. Boarding is in decline nationally. We may not be one of the biggest names in education, but we believe we are one of the best."

Unfortunately for the pupils, their stay at the hotel is temporary. They will return to school when a 60-room boarding house is finished, Mr Edwards said.

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