Schools in general are well placed to identify the early signs of eating disorders. However, as boarding schools are responsible for the wellbeing of their pupils 24 hours a day during term time, their staff are more likely than any other adult to see those signs and therefore have a particular responsibility to identify and act upon them.
Reports we have received from parents of children who have fallen ill with an eating disorder while at boarding school suggest a wide range of attitudes among the schools, from highly supportive to near-complete denial that a problem exists. While sending a child who has an eating disorder home may be the right course of action in some cases, it is important that schools work with parents and healthcare professionals to identify the right course of action for the child.
We are keen to work with all schools, including boarding schools, to help them better identify the early signs of eating disorders and support their pupils into recovery.
A focus on eating alone is unlikely to lead to sustained recovery for most eating disorder sufferers without also addressing the factors that maintain the eating disorder – these can include anxiety and stress. It is important to address the issues that contribute to the maintenance of the eating disorder behaviour at the same time as addressing its consequences.
Please note, we have asked the Telegraph to correct factual inaccuracies around the prevalence of anorexia and replace the word "copying" with "coping" which is a spelling mistake.