Here you’ll find a listing of books, videos, articles and other information resources on boarding school syndrome and the history of boarding.

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Thurstine Basset talks to Anni Townend

A list of podcast providers where you can listen to this is available on Anni Townend’s LinkedIn page

‘Boarding School and Resilience’

An article by Olya Khaleelee

Men’s Accounts of Boarding School launch. Recording available:

Men’s Accounts of Boarding School: buy it from Routledge or any reputable book seller.

‘Men’s Accounts of Boarding School’ launch. Do join us on May 12.

Mary Stack

(2008) The Making of her: My boarding School experience, published in Attachment Vol. 2, Number 3. pp. 321-327.

Joy Schaverien

(2016) Exiled: the girls’ school boarders, published in Therapy Today, Vol 27, Issue 9, November 2016, 20-23. PDF download. (4 pages, 140KB) Examines the less often explored impact on women of being sent away to boarding school at an early age.

(2011) Boarding school syndrome: broken attachments a hidden trauma in British Journal of Psychotherapy. 2011; 27(2)

(2004) Boarding school: the trauma of the ‘privileged’ child, published in Journal of Analytical Psychology 49: 683-705. Discussion of working therapeutically with former boarders. Wiley Online.

Scott Poynting & Mike Donaldson

(2005) Snakes and Leaders. Hegemonic Masculinity in Ruling Class Boys’ Boarding Schools, published in Men and Masculinities 7/4:325-346. Sage Journals.

Anne Power

(2007) Discussion of Trauma at the Threshold: The Impact of Boarding School on Attachment in Young Children, published in Attachment, Vol 1, No3, November 2007, 310-312. A discussion of Simon Partridge’s 2007 article above with examing issues of attachment in young children.

Simon Partridge

(2016) Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the ‘Privileged’ Child by Joy Schaverien, reviewed by Simon Partridge. Published in Attachment in December 2016. PDF download (473KB, 6 pages).

(2013) Boarding School Syndrome: Disguised Attachment-deficit and Dissociation Reinforced by Institutional Neglect and Abuse. Published in Attachment in July 2013. PDF download (77KB, 12 pages).

(2011) British Upper-Class Complex Trauma Syndrome: The Case of Charles Rycroft, Psychoanalyst and Psychotherapist, published in Attachment in July 2011 about Charles Rycroft (1914-1998). Explores the troubled man behind the upper-class exterior. Looks to Rycroft’s early familial and boarding school environment to help explain his lack of fulfilment – despite his therapeutic and literary achievements. PDF download (69KB, 10 pages)

(2007) Trauma at the Threshold: An Eight-Year-Old Goes to Boarding School. Published in Attachment, Vol 1, No.3, November 2007. Personal experience and reflections on a workshop for boarding school survivors. PDF download (49KB, 3 pages).

Jane Palmer

(2006) Boarding School: A Place of Privilege or Sanctioned Persecution?, published in Self & Society 33/5: 27-36. An exploration of the emotional and psychological effects of boarding.

George Monbiot

(2012) The British boarding school remains a bastion of cruelty, published in The Guardian.(1998) Acceptable Cruelty, published in The Guardian and now on his website.

David Mair

(2005) The Best Years of Your Life?, published in Therapy Today 16/7: 7-9
An exploration of the psychological damage of being sent away to board at a young age. (See October and November 2005 editions of Therapy Today for responses to the article).

Susanna Hoare

Boarding School, the Happiest Days of Your Life?, published in the Autumn 2014 edition of Self & SocietyPDF download (87KB, 2 pages).

Marcus Gottlieb

(2005) Working With Gay Boarding School Survivors, published in Self & Society 33/3: 16-23
A psychotherapist reflects on running workshops for those gay men who struggled to come to terms with their boarding school experience. Examines the negative impact boarding had on their lives.

Nick Duffell

(2005) Surviving the Privilege of Boarding School: A report from the UK. PDF download (97KB, 5 pages)
(2000) Gender Difference and Boarding School, published in Self & Society.
(1996) The best days of your life, published in Human Potential.
(1995) Boarding school survivors, published in Self & Society.

Thurstine Basset

(2018) Reflections of a SurvivorSelf & Society, Vol.46 No. 1 Spring 2018. This article is a personal reflection on being able to tell a story through writing a book about surviving boarding school. It pays tribute to ‘Self and Society’ in its role of publishing innovative work. The author makes a plea for ‘home sickness’ to be renamed as ‘school sickness’ and for boarding issues to be incorporated into the training of therapists and counsellors. PDF download

(2006) Emotional Courage – 50 years on – The impact of a boarding school experience, published in The Independent Practitioner, Winter 2006:10-13
The author prepares to revisit his prep school 50 years after he first boarded and reflects on its impact on his life. PDF download

Jane Barclay

(2011) The Trauma of Boarding at School, published in Self & Society, Vol 38, No 3. PDF download (110KB, 6 pages).(2007) I Can’t Get No-o…Satisfaction, published in Self & Society, Vol 34, no 5.
(2003) To Smack or Not To Smack, published in Self & Society, Vol 30, no 6.
(2002) Class, Prejudice and Privilege, published in Self & Society, Vol 30, no 4.

Bob Arnold & Thurstine Basset

Stiff Upper Lip?, published in Openmind, January/February 2005, 131:16-17. Describes the experience of two people who attend a Boarding School Survivor workshop. PDF download (491KB, 2 pages).

BBC: Rugby School, Changing Places (1988)

BBC: The Making of Them (1994)

Colin Luke’s documentary film for the BBC TV Forty Minutes series. Features Nick Duffell of Boarding School Survivors talking about surviving boarding school and his work with boarding school survivors (former boarders).

ITV: Ampleforth: My Teacher is a Monk (2003)

TV documentary about Ampleforth College, a school in Yorkshire run by Benedictine monks, looking at how they deal with discipline, drinking, sex and the arrival of the first female pupils in its 200-year-history.

BBC: Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story (2010)

Sarah Townsend‘s film of the actor and comedian and his rise to fame. The documentary sees Eddie discuss his boarding school experiences and reveal the impact these schools had on him.

Channel 4: Chosen (2008)

BAFTA award winning documentary. Chosen is testament to the power of a compelling story, simply told. It deals with a subject often whispered but rarely spoken about – the sexual abuse of schoolboys by teachers in Britain’s private schools.

Tom, Mark and Alastair all went to the very best school money could buy. At eight years of age they were sent as boarders to a prep school in the countryside outside London that prepared boys for Eton, Harrow, Oxford, Cambridge and life. What their parents didn’t suspect, was that several of the teachers on the staff were career paedophiles, who would ruthlessly use the position of power and influence they held in the lives of the children in their charge to sexually exploit them in the most extreme and degrading way.

For thirty years the boys, and the men they became, stayed silent, nursing the dark secret of the abuse they suffered. In this film they break that silence with spellbinding articulacy, and breath-taking honesty. Looking back over the decades, they analyse the consummate skill with which their abusers groomed them – separating them from their parents’ affections, and ensuring that they had no choice but to become complicit in the terrible acts they were led to believe they had to commit. (Synopsis courtesy of BritDoc.)

BBC: A Very English Education (2013)

The British public school is an institution renowned the world over. In 1979, the BBC made a documentary series about life inside Radley College, one of the UK’s most privileged and traditional boys’ boarding schools. In 2013, BBC director Hannah Berryman caught up with some of the boys who featured in the series to find out how their lives panned out after they left Radley.

As boys, they had left home to board at prep school at around eight years old, then moved on to Radley to acquire what the school head calls ‘the right habits for life’. But did their lives turn out to be as successful as their parents had hoped – and what kind of men did they become? The film explores the pain and the pleasure of growing up, as well as the unique advantages and difficulties of a quintessentially English education.

Boarding School Survivors (2017)

This film explores the question: “Is there a hidden wellbeing crisis in boarding schools?” Understanding that what happens inside boarding schools affects the whole of the UK as a country, because many of our leaders and politicians are being educated in these institutions.

Films – Animation

Tony Gammidge, a former boarder, works part-time in the University of Brighton Arts Department.

He originally trained as an Art Therapist and has recently been involved in a project where he put together a short film about his boarding school experience and how this has impacted on his life.

Tony says:
“I made an animation film, which links my experiences of prep school with later life choices. It is an early/draft version made quite quickly but important for me. It was sparked by a number of things including Joy’s Schaverien’s book Boarding School Syndrome, as well Nick Duffell’s The Making of Them amongst other things. I made it for an auto-ethnography group I am part of in Brighton and Sussex University.

Flirting (1991)

Flirting is a 1991 Australian coming of age comedy drama film written and directed by John Duigan.

Another Country (1981) & (1984)

play followed by a film based on the early lives of the Cambridge spy network during their time at public school, which led to their intolerance of the system and establishment in later life.

Tom Brown’s Schooldays (various)

These films (based on Thomas Hughes’ novel) portray boarding schools when they were at their height. Many of the outrageous human rights transgressions persisted well into the 20th century. Learn more