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State boarding for children aged eight to help busy parents

PICTURE: GOOGLE

THE first state school to offer boarding to pupils as young as eight is to open later this year.

Wymondham College Prep School in Norfolk will welcome pupils in September. The £9million school has been designed to help families where both parents work.

It will offer 450 places to boys and girls aged four to 11 with pupils over the age of eight eligible to board, The Sunday Times reports.

They will stay in Underwood Hall, a purpose-built dormitory ‘designed with a family atmosphere to meet the needs of younger boarders’. The hall, which has 32 bedrooms, will also feature ‘teddy bears, tuckboxes, bedtime stories and Mabel, a labrador, to cuddle’.

While education at the state school is free, boarding fees ‘will be in line with those at Wymondham College’, a separate secondary state school located on the same site that currently charges £11,000 a year for boarders.

Wymondham College, described on its website as ‘amongst the highest performing schools in the country’, has its own headteacher, leadership team and governing body, but both schools will come under the administration of Sapientia Education Trust.

Jonathan Taylor, chief executive of the Sapienta Education Trust, said the new school offers a solution to middle-class families unable to afford such fees and ‘supports their working patterns’, with many parents having to otherwise employ after-school care to look after their children.

By comparison, Brighton College charges £50,000 a year, while Eton’s fees are £42,501 a year and Harrow asks for £41,775.