Schools urged to put the bore back in boarding

13th May 2011 at 01:00
Now it's all WaterWorld, pizza and 'mummies on tap', complains editor of The Lady magazine

Modern British boarding schools are all about "organic duvets and mummies on tap" and have lost their character-forming edge, the outspoken editor of a genteel women's magazine has claimed.

Rachel Johnson, editor of The Lady and sister of London mayor Boris, told the Boarding Schools' Association conference last week that parents were now too involved in their children's boarding education, and pupils simply had too much fun.

Ms Johnson, who has three teenage children at Marlborough and Wellington Colleges, told The TES afterwards that the "professionalisation" of parenting had meant the "compound" of boarding school had become "very, very permeable".

The increasing number of parents who had not gone to boarding school themselves needed to have more confidence in their children's educators, she said.

"When I was at boarding school, I saw my parents once, twice, three times a term. I see my children every week.

"It's partly to do with the professionalisation of parenting. They have to see everything being done. Parents want to see what's happening. I have much more confidence in the school."

She said that sometimes the ever-present parental interference could become a hindrance to schools. "You should be able to sack parents for being a monumental pain in the arse," she said.

Schools had become too much fun, she said, providing nothing for children to rebel against.

"A typical weekend is laser tag followed by WaterWorld followed by pizza," she said.

"My son wakes up in the holidays and says, 'What's the schedule?'. They are not bored enough at boarding school.

"When I went to school, it was all quite character-forming. Now it's all organic duvets and mummies on tap."

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