Buttle UK has been funding vulnerable children to attend boarding schools for all of its 67-year history. In cases where family circumstances mean that parenting capacity is impaired, Buttle UK works with a range of boarding schools – including Bedales - to jointly fund places, to ensure that children improve their social and emotional wellbeing and their capacity to engage in education and learning. Buttle’s experience is that boarding offers excellent pastoral care and can provide the structure, routine and aspiration which may be missing at home. For some children the experience can be transformational.
The Boarding Chances for Children Programme is accessed by highly vulnerable children living in extremely complex and challenging family circumstances, and where these families are on very low incomes. The need for boarding differs from case to case, however typically the charity funds cases where:
- parental capacity has been affected by serious physical or mental health conditions;
- there has been a bereavement in the family, one or both parents are misusing alcohol or other substances, or there has been domestic abuse;
- relationships between child and carer have broken down to such an extent that it is no longer sustainable for them to remain in the family home.
In cases such as these, boarding can enable children to focus on their education away from the extreme difficulties facing them at home. For some of the children, boarding prevents the child entering the formal care system where the social and educational outcomes for children are significantly worse than for children in general.
While Buttle’s primary concern is with the social needs of the child, the educational results seen from those supported are consistently impressive. Of the students funded by Buttle UK, and taking their GCSEs in 2019, 71% of students obtained five or more 9 – 4s (including Maths and English). This compares with 63% of all children in the UK, and of those assessed as ‘Children in Need’ by local authorities only 19% achieved the same results.
In the last few years, five pupils have been given the opportunity to attend Dunhurst and Bedales on fully-funded bursaries through the school’s partnership with the Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation (‘Royal SpringBoard’).
Royal SpringBoard - the UK’s largest bursary charity – works with 100+ schools and has supported the bursary placements of more than 800 children and young people from areas of socio-economic deprivation or who face significant vulnerabilities in their home lives since 2013.
Royal SpringBoard works to raise social mobility in communities by forming strong relationships with, for example, 11-16 years state schools seeking good Sixth Form opportunities for their most disadvantaged school leavers; and mentoring organisations like Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy (EYLA) and IntoUniversity. These community-based partners work with Royal SpringBoard to identify potential candidates, support pupils and families to smooth the transition and in the holidays, and provide an infrastructure through which SpringBoarders act as powerful role models for future generations in their home communities.