Nurses and matrons are as vital to the success and reputation of UK boarding schools as famous heads and inspirational teachers. In a speech to over 200 nurses and matrons from across the UK, the head of the Boarding Schools’ Association described them a ‘hidden army’ making a ‘heroic contribution’ seven days a week.
“The role of ‘heroic’ nurses and matrons at UK boarding schools is just as important as the part played by famous heads or inspirational teachers,” said BSA national director Robin Fletcher.
“The image of boarding schools is often about top heads, great teachers and amazing buildings, all of which is true and really important.
“But the welfare of students starts and finishes with the unseen and heroic contribution made by an army of nurses and matrons.
“They are owed a huge debt for all their amazing work, keeping students on the road, organised, fit and well, every day and every night.”
The BSA said the ‘boarding landscape’ for nurses and matrons had changed enormously over the past 30 years.
Boarding in the 1970s and 1980s had involved more students from the UK, more younger boarders, fewer regulations, schools with their own doctors and sanatoria and less rigorous medical training.
Matrons and nurses at the UK 450 boarding schools however were meeting the needs of students from sometimes over 50 nationalities, meeting a range of complex regulations, providing front-line medical care, liaising with local GPs and often balancing the needs of girls and boys in schools that were once single sex.
“For boarding schools to achieve great academic and co-curricular outcomes for students requires not just inspirational teaching or leadership. Logistics and ensuring boarders are fit and well is every bit as important and that is down to the hard work and dedication of thousands of matrons and nurses,”
“On behalf of the UK boarding sector we would like to say a big thank you for this vital contribution.”