Tom Brown has long gone

4th June 2004 at 01:00
You report on the new TV adaptation of Tom Brown's Schooldays (TES, May 14).

In commenting on mid-19th century boarding school life, producer Suzan Harrison states: "We've come a long way since then. But bullying still happens. This story still has relevance."

But it is disingenuous to suggest that the forms and severity of 19th century practices such as fagging and roasting and, in particular, the school's response to them, bear some relevance to what occurs in our schools today.

Bullying, whether mental or physical, is a form of abuse which will, sadly, occur within a variety of environments, day and boarding schools, prisons or the workplace. Bullying is taken seriously by members of the Boarding Schools' Association and the Independent Schools' Council. In fact, because of their experience and through the close- knit communities of boarding schools, teaching and pastoral staff are perhaps better able to monitor and effectively deal with any inappropriate behaviour.

Tom Brown really is history.

Ruveni Ellawala Media and communications officer The Boarding Schools' Association 35-37 Grosvenor Gardens London SW1

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