‘Boarders are not worldly enough’, says headmaster

The Telegraph, 19.06.15 boarding school students could benefit from better connection to local issues and current affairs according to one headmaster. HMC member Keith Budge, headmaster of Bedales Schools features.

Private pupils at boarding schools are not as savvy about the ways of the world as their state counterparts because of their removed surroundings, a headmaster at a boarding school has said.

Keith Budge, headmaster of Bedales School in Hampshire says private schools need to do more to ensure their pupils are better clued up about political debates.

His warning emerged after he spent a day at King Edward VI, a sixth form college located in Suffolk, during a job swap experiment.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Budge said: “A danger of all enclosed communities, which in a sense schools tend to be, is that they become too inward looking and one of the things that I feel is a great strength at King Edward VI is that it is naturally very well connected with its local community

“There is a sort of savviness, an awareness of the issues of the day and in particular of some of the political issues.”

He said boarding schools need to balance the “sense of semi-seclusion” that boarders in rural settings have.

Mr Budge said: “One of the benefits of boarding is that it offers a safe environment, which is slightly removed from normal life. But I was struck at how advantageous it is in so many ways to be a bit closer to some of the realities of life.

“I think political engagement and engagement in the social issues of the day is a pretty important thing for all our young people to have.”

Separately, Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI, spent a day at Mr Budge’s school. They both shared their experiences in the Times Education Supplement.

Mr Barton wrote of the experience: “During my visit, I saw much that was liberating. For example, every day students of all ages are expected to participate in outdoor work, working with animals or plants, making or growing things."

He added: “I was pleased to witness a bracing spirit of independence – a school true to its principles, offering something distinctive for its young people, resolutely not bowing to external pressures to conform.”

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