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School head champions boarding school model

07/08/2013 Joanna
The head of a south London school has said introducing boarding at some state schools could help staff in teacher jobs to raise pupil attainment.

Sir Greg Martin wants Stockwell-based Durand Academy to introduce boarding provision for children aged between 11 and 16 at the former St Cuthman's school site in Stedham in the Sussex Downs.

Whereas private boarding schools charge parents £27,600 per year on average and state boarding schools typically have an annual fee of around £10,000, Durand Academy hopes to be able to offer boarding for free, by operating the site at a vastly reduced cost.

The heads of other boarding schools have disputed this claim, while the National Audit Office has also raised questions about the potential cost of the project.

However, Sir Greg has told the Daily Telegraph his model is workable because the boarding school will only be open for four and a half days, sending pupils and staff in teacher jobs home on Friday afternoons.

He explained the school will also not to able to match the elaborate extracurricular offerings of some other boarding schools, although it will still possess facilities such as an athletics track, a 25-metre pool and cricket nets.

Sir Greg asserted: "We are very confident that our model will work.

"Now of course we are not doing hugely elaborate after-school provision. We are not buying in archery or clay pigeon shooting or sending them off on holidays to the Arctic. But this is about learning away from home, getting your homework done, doing chess clubs, sports, drama and music."

Furthermore, he claimed there was further scope within the education system for state boarding schools run at lower costs and offering a more limited after-school provision.

This, Sir Greg argued, was far better than children roaming the streets after school or doing homework without support, adding that Durand Academy would gladly assist any other school wanting to follow its example.

The plans for the new Stedham-based school are expected to be assessed by the South Downs National Park planning committee in September, with the school scheduled to open in 2014 should these proposals receive the green light.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801622136-ADNFCR
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