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At this time of year, thoughts turn to the new school term. Reports have been read and acted upon and new clothes purchased. For some children, going to a new school is a big milestone in their lives.

Thinking back to the Tales from the Archives, you have already heard about young Edward who got a bad report from his school teacher but there was no remorse, as all he could talk about was the circus that came to town. Also in a subsequent letter, there was discussion about which boarding school Edward would progress to in the autumn, but there doesn’t appear to be any conversation with Edward as to what he wanted. He was just told where he was going. A fait accompli.

That led me to thinking about the current younger members of the Parker family at Browsholme. They both went to boarding school, so I asked them about what choice they had about boarding school, what were their experiences, and would they send their own children to boarding school.

Eleanor says that she begged to be allowed to go to boarding school having read girlhood story books by Enid Blyton ('Malory Towers' and 'The Twins at St Claire's') about what good fun they were. ‘The realities did not live up to the story books,’ Eleanor reports. ‘When I was at school, I wanted to be back at home in Lancashire and often pulled sickies to get out of there,’ Roland was given a shortlist of where he could attend and chose the school he would go to. He said that ‘the highs were very high and the lows were very low. But overall, it has made me to be independent as possible and I can say for certain that it is the reason Eleanor and I are so close.’

Would they send their own children to boarding school? Eleanor said probably not, but would let the child make their own decision and they'd need a scholarship or bursary to afford it nowadays. Roland was very practical and said given that fees have doubled since he went, money might be an issue, but he would like his children to go to boarding school. As Eleanor has already married this year and Roland gets married next month these issues may arise before too long. Watch this space! Happy holidays!

by Linda Sawley

Aug 22, 2023

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