Eton would back boarding academy

By Hannah Richardson
BBC News education reporter

Image caption,
Eton College could sponsor a state boarding academy

Eton College would consider sponsoring a boarding academy to help deprived youngsters.

Head master Tony Little said he had not previously been attracted to academy sponsorship, because his experience was not relevant to co-educational day schools in tough areas.

But if an academy were to open with boarders, he would have a "particular expertise" to offer.

He had discussed the idea with Labour and the Conservatives.

Mr Little said he backed the idea of more state boarding schools - arguing that these could provide access for the most deprived to a world class educational sector.

He said: "If there was an academy that was expressly a boarding academy, that's something that we would like to think we are good at.

Image caption,
Mr Little said Eton would have "particular expertise" on boarding

"If there was something that was related to boarding then we would be happy to be engaged.

"We would want to be involved in a state boarding school in terms of offering expertise."

And two boarding academies targeted specifically at the armed forces are already planned.

From 2011, the Priory Academy LSST in Lincoln will have boarding places for 60 students aged 16 and over, which will help serve families at the local RAF base at Waddington.

The Wellington Academy, sponsored by the famous Wellington College, will also have around 100 boarding places many to be taken by children of forces families, stationed at nearby Salisbury Plain.

It is due to start taking boarders sometime after the new school buildings open in 2010.

Mr Little said the British boarding school was a great brand that was very popular abroad.

"There's no one that does it in the way we do."

He said he had conversations with Labour's Lord Adonis and the Conservatives' Michael Gove, who were both supportive. Both parties back an expansion in state boarding places.

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