It was published by Researching Reform over a year ago, when I noted Natasha about the offensive texts UK-based charity Love Russia used for their campaigns.
Now we are about a year forward in time, I got noted by a British friend about a 2-year-old article, which makes that act seem like basically nothing bad at all.
This article on The Guardian to be precise:
The drive to get children out of foster care and into boarding school | Teacher Network | The Guardian
Yes, in the UK the movement is ongoing to replace the foster care system with the boarding school system. If you are active in regard to the care system of any country in Eastern Europe, you should rightfully be disturbed by this.
However, for those who are not aware, let me explain.
Undoubtedly you have heard about the deinstitutionalisation campaigns. If you haven’t, just look at these videos:
Now, the deinstitutionalisation campaigns have been under attack for a long time over incorrectly using a lot of terminology. Like my personal campaign against the misused “orphan” and “orphanage”.
In several countries, this misuse has delayed public awareness for a long time. Like here in Ukraine, it took until earlier this year, and this article by 112 International(Tortures, neglect, exploitation, no toilets: Horrors of Ukrainian boarding schools), before many people finally understood that the problem were not children’s homes, but boarding schools.
However, while they might not use the right terms, the deinstitutionalisation campaigns did successfully start the process of removing the boarding school systems within Eastern Europe. With Moldova reportedly being the first country to have fully eliminated the boarding school system, and Ukraine being among the countries on the other end, because of lacking governmental action. There are also still countries without any notable action, like Belarus.
To most, the name of Lumos is well known. And specifically the United Kingdom is noted for the deinstitutionalisation movement, which causes problems when the UK is doing the exact opposite of what they are preaching here in Eastern Europe. It’s undoubtedly a hypocritical move. After all, why teach Eastern European countries about the bad of boarding schools, while they eventually make a move back to the system themselves?
Currently, there is silence about this here, because people are simply not aware of this movement in the United Kingdom. After all, most here aren’t interested in news about the UK. And beyond just that, this is even unknown among quite some childcare specialists in the UK itself. That while the British movement of replacing the foster care system with the boarding school system is funded by their Department for Education.
Seeing as Lumos is doing so much work here, and even in the USA, they would also fight this move in the UK, right? Well, the answer seems to be no. There is complete silence of both Lumos and their founder J.K. Rowling about this. And I never received a response on the email I sent to Lumos asking whether they are aware of this situation.
(I might have missed a message or article by them. So, my apologies if that is the case. Still, a response would have avoided it, if this happens to be the case)
I can’t deny that this worries me. Especially as this only adds to the list of failures regarding the UK’s childcare system which has recently hit the media.
Actually, it’s as bad that the UK is now recognized to be among the least family-friendly countries of the developed world.(UK named among least family-friendly countries in new study – The Independent)
Worsened even more when you add the fact that the UK has the second highest GDP of the EU countries, and actually of all of Europe.(GDP info by Eurostat)
But probably the worst part of this all to me, is that there have been so many British campaigns about the bad parts of the boarding school system. They obviously are aware of it all. Making it not only a hypocritical move. But especially a disturbing move. A move which opposes the deinstitutionalisation movement they hold so very dear…
Added note: It could be said that the boarding school system in the UK is better than in the rest of Europe. That’s most certainly possible. However, that would raise the question of why UK-based organizations are fighting to remove the boarding school system in other countries, especially in Eastern Europe. After all, if the UK actually has a working boarding school system in regard to foster care, this could just as well be implemented in other countries. The knowledge could be shared. We would be talking of 30+ years of unneeded activism, advocacy, and other work to make the removal of the boarding school system possible. With the amount of years still actually increasing…