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Are the times changing?

It must be so annoying to the Establishment that the boarding and Wounded Leaders issue just won’t go away.

Today’s Observer has another long piece by Alex Renton, interviewing Sally Fraser, who is married to an ex-boarder, and who heads up the Boarding School Action website, but also uncomfortably getting inside the family life  of one who was abused at boarding school.

Earlier, in the Times, Kate Morris talked about what her own boarding did to her.

Britain’s most widely read journal for therapists, Therapy Today, was kind enough to commission and article from me on the political fall out from our habit of privileged abandonment. And more: they made it the cover story, devoted the entire editorial to it and reprised an article of mine from 2011 on their website. In the earlier piece they were keen to keep political references out, but now they want as much as possible in.

The times seem to be changing, but can we go the next step and do something about this noxious boarding culture? Would readers write to their MPs for a start? Lets see if we can make a diffference.


  1. Dear Nick,
    I listened to the piece on radio3 on your website–interesting and important. I wonder what the best way forward is? All the press coverage is great–especially the investigations into private schools and sexual abuse–how can they survive this? But the real problem is breaking through the wall of denial–which is considerable–and very painful. No wonder so many people don’t want to face the issue—if they do their world will never be the same again–and that’s too frightening–they don’t want that.

    I guess it will be gradual–as it usually is in Britain–but some encouraging signs from the leader of the opposition–who went to a comprehensive. Allied to all this is a breakdown in the tribal element of UK society which needs to happen. And that means re-thinking our whole identity. Thinking of England in particular.
    regards, Henry Lawson

    Comment by Henry Lawson on 27/07/2014 at 8:14 pm
  2. Yes, you’re right Henry – it will take some shifting because there is a pile of money behind it and governments don’t want to engage. Actually, the recent ‘discovery’ of sexual abuse is about 30 years behind the times, when therapists were plugging away doing the hard work supporting survivors and battling the pedophile solidarity movement who coined the idea of ‘False Memory Syndrome.’

    We need to continue raising awareness, badgering the press and politicians and hoping we can help reduce consumer demand, for the customers of this elitist institutionalization are the parents, not the children.

    Comment by Nick Duffell on 06/08/2014 at 4:47 pm
  3. It is very easy to judge others -I went to boarding school from the age of 6 because it was wartime and my parents wanted me away from the bombs – I agree that the closeness with family is lost but it might be worth more than a life being lost.

    Comment by Liz Feldman on 02/10/2014 at 5:16 pm

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