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


The Making of Destructive Leaders – a live webinar with Professor James Gilligan, Professor Joy Schaverien and Dr Felicity de Zulueta.

28 Jul 2020

A live webinar on July 31.

A letter concerned about National Boarding Week.

22 Jun 2020


We, a growing group of healthcare professionals, can see no reason to celebrate National Boarding Week, but instead we would like to highlight the damage to the health and wellbeing of young children that can be caused by sending them to boarding school.

The adverse psychological and social effects of this practice are well documented. This evidence should be acknowledged and the time is surely right to ‘follow the science’.

During the current worldwide pandemic, all parents are now weighing up the benefits and risks of sending their children back to school. For most parents this relates to a 6-hour day but parents of children at boarding schools have to consider that their children are at school for 24 hours a day.

In the UK we can see the impact of a culture that is fostered in boarding schools and is very apparent in social and political contexts. This culture is one that values the social status of a privileged education above the emotional security and healthy development of young children.

Sam Barber, Director BSS Support

Frances Basset, Psychotherapist

Thurstine Basset, Author

Nick Duffell, Psychotherapist and Author

Pippa Foster, Psychotherapist

Marcus Gottlieb, Psychotherapist

Darrel Hunneybell, Psychotherapist

Gordon Knott, Director Youth Counselling Service

Margaret Laughton, Director BSS Support

Sam Milford, Psychotherapist

Nicola Miller, Psychotherapist

Alex Renton, Journalist and Author

Joy Schaverien, Psychoanalyst and Author

Allison Ujejski, Director BSS Support

Sara Warner, Psychotherapist

Joy Schaverien interviewed by Confer.

4 May 2020

The interview is part of a series entitled ‘Holding the frame and sense of connectedness during the pandemic.’

It can be viewed at as part of Confer’s series of interviews found at

James Scudamore’s new novel tackles public beatings, toxic teachers and sexual abuse in boarding schools.

27 Feb 2020

The article – from the Telegraph Magazine – covers the work of Joy Schaverein, Nick Duffell, and Alex Renton. The novel is called English Monsters.

Director, Margaret Laughton, appears on BBC Radio 5 live Stephen Nolan’s show.

10 Feb 2020

Hear Margaret from 1h.20. The issue of boarding school is debated in the preceding minutes as well.

For therapists: 12 June, ‘Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma(s) of “Privileged” Children’ with Joy Schaverien.

7 Feb 2020

A training workshop for therapists. For more info see here

For therapists: 22nd February, ‘Working with Privileged Abandonment’.

3 Feb 2020

A conference for therapists. See flyer here

New edition of Joy Schaverein’s ‘The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy: Erotic Transference and Boarding School Syndrome’

28 Jan 2020

This 2nd edition with the title extended to include ‘Erotic Transference and Boarding School Syndrome’.

Available from Routledge at

Rupert Everett on his boarding school experience.

7 Jan 2020

From min 13.18 on Desert Island Discs and the Evening Standard elaborates here.

‘Recovering Boarding School Trauma Narratives’ by Christine Jack and published by Routledge out in May.

7 Jan 2020

This link to Routledge’s website has more information.

A bibliography aimed at anybody wishing to study/learn about the topic of surviving boarding school.

17 Dec 2019

Click here to view document

Boarding schools warp our political class – I know because I went to one. George Monbiot

18 Nov 2019

Click here to read the pdf

8 Oct 2019

‘Reflections of a Survivor’ by Thurstine Basset

11 Sep 2019

 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. 

Download PDF of article here

Nick Duffell and Thurstine Basset (2016) ‘Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege: A guide to therapeutic work with Boarding School Survivors’. Routledge

29 Aug 2019

Trauma, Abandonment and Privilege discusses how ex-boarders can be amongst the most challenging clients for therapists. It looks at the effect on adults of being sent away to board in childhood and the problems associated with boarding.

It is divided into three parts: Recognition, Acceptance and Change. It aims to help readers understand the emotional processes of boarding and the psychological aspects of survival. The book also explores how ex-boarders frequently struggle with intimate relationships and offers interventions and strategies for those working with ex-boarder clients.

Nick Duffell interviewed on radio in New Zealand

27 Aug 2019

Britain’s elite-school problem in de Spiegel

27 Aug 2019

Joy Schaverien in Tatler, ‘The Modern Toff’s Guide to Parenting’

30 Jul 2019


Was Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe Story?

30 May 2019

“Cutting Edge – series 8 episode one: ‘Leaving home at Eight” Channel 4

2 Apr 2019

‘Following four eight-year-old girls as they adjust to a new life away from their parents and their homes; the parents have decided their children will be better off boarding in a private school, in this instance Highfield, one of the best in the UK.’

“The whole thing – watching these sweet little people as they are gradually institutionalised – was so peculiar, so old fashioned, that it made for quite fascinating viewing.” The Telegraph

Jane Barclay

5 Mar 2019

Jane Barclay is a former director of Boarding Concern.

  • (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.

Exposure: Boarding Schools: The Secret Shame (ITV 2018)

5 Mar 2019

Focussing on child sexual abuse, this programme followed journalist Alex Renton, who was himself abused as an eight-year-old by his teacher, as he investigated how much schools knew about what was going on behind their closed doors.

“It was impossible not to feel outrage and anger on the victims’ behalf. Most of these grotesque acts and systematic failures were “historic” but there was no room for complacency, as Renton wondered if boarders are safe today. The answer wasn’t entirely reassuring. Safeguarding standards vary wildly between schools and reporting of abuse allegations is still not legally mandatory. But the documentary was a thoroughly researched and righteously angry film about a deeply worrying issue.” (The Telegraph)

“Wounded Leaders: the Psychohistory of British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion” by Nick Duffell, Lone Arrow Press.

5 Mar 2019

In this controversial essay – brimming with politics, history, psychopathology, neuroscience, anecdotes, passion and humour – Nick Duffell, psychotherapist, psychohistorian and author of the acclaimed The Making of Them, argues that the British national obsession with sending the children of the well-heeled away to school has a major impact on our society, our institutions and our attitudes. Tracing the development of what he calls the Rational Man Project through the colonial period, he proposes that a cherished national character ideal, eschewing vulnerability and practising a normalised covert hostility based on bullying in the dorm adversely affects even those who did not have the privilege of such an education. It leaves Britain in the social and emotional dark ages, led by “the boys in the men that run things.”

The UK Council for Psychotherapy

5 Mar 2019

The UK Council for Psychotherapy advises how to find psychotherapists and counsellors

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

5 Mar 2019

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy maintains lists of qualified therapists by area.

“Stiff Upper Lip : Secrets, Crimes and the Schooling of a Ruling Class” Alex Renton (2017) Weidenfeld & Nicolson

5 Mar 2019

“No other society sends its young boys and girls away to school to prepare them for a role in the ruling class.

Beating, bullying, fagging, cold baths, vile food and paedophile teachers are just some of the features of this elite education, and, while some children loved boarding school, others now admit to suffering life-altering psychological damage. Stiff Upper Lip exposes the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that are key to understanding the scandals over abuse and neglect in institutions all over the world.

Award-winning investigative journalist Alex Renton went to three traditional boarding schools. Drawing on those experiences, and the vivid testimony of hundreds of former pupils, he has put together a compelling history, important to anyone wondering what shaped the people who run Britain in the twenty-first century.” [The Telegraph]

Boarding Recovery

5 Mar 2019 is an organisation peopled by a group of accredited psychotherapists and trained counsellors who specialise in working with ‘boarding school survivors’. Boarding Recovery offers a support service for adult ex-boarders whose emotional damage often lies hidden until at some point in their adult lives it re-surfaces in the form of depression, burn out, marital problems or alcohol/drug abuse.

A Very English Education. BBC

5 Mar 2019

A 2013 BBC documentary following up on a 1979 program that explored life inside Radley College boarding school.

“It’s a brilliant film: an objective portrait of a very peculiar institution. Some will come away thinking, like Rupert, that places such as Radley are fantastic, for the competitiveness they instil. Others that they are ghastly places that are not only unfair, but inhuman, cruel, and with no place in the modern world.” (The Guardian).

Boarding School Survivors Weekend workshops

5 Mar 2019, founded by Nick Duffell, provide therapeutic help for adult ex- boarders. a programme of therapeutic workshops for adults who have recognised that they may have paid a price for their education and are looking for ways to understand and heal their wounds. These popular courses, which have been running uninterrupted since 1990, receive referrals from GPs, community organisations and counsellors, and have benefited many people, by allowing them to leave aspects of their past behind and develop their true potential. Boarding School Survivors also offers private psychotherapy for individuals and couples counselling through an increasing network of specialist practitioners.

Nick Duffell The Making of Them: The British Attitude to Children and the Boarding School System, London: Lone Arrow Press, Amazon

5 Mar 2019

Nick Duffell’s book, written in 2000, should be required reading for those in the field of psychotherapy and allied practice and for former boarders making sense of their experience.

“At the dawn of the 21st century British society is still shaped by a private education system devised to gentrify the Victorian middle classes and produce gentlemen to run the Empire. Yet it is not on the political agenda. It is rarely the subject of public debate, and we remain blind to its psychological implications.

“A remarkable book which will be essential reading to anyone interested in the nature and culture of English, their education system, their attitude to children, and the psychological and social effects of sending their privileged sons and daughters away to boarding schools.”

“If the Church of England is the Tory Party at prayer, the Public School system may be called the Tory Party in the nursery. Here are set out the traumas, deformations and truncations of character that explain the British Establishment from the appalling Doctor Arnold to the Thatcher Matronocracy. The British are known to be mad. But in the maiming of their privileged young, they are criminally insane.” – John le Carré, best selling author, and former MI6 member.