Sending a child to boarding school can be more cost effective than shuttling children to many different sports and activities, a leading headmaster has suggested.
Ray McGovern, head of St George's School in Hertfordshire, insisted that boarding schools are not elitist.
Instead, they can be right for working parents, single-parent families and those who live in rural areas.
Speaking as he took up his new role as chairman of the Boarding Schools' Association (BSA), Mr McGovern said: "Many people assume that all boarding schools are elitist.
"What many may not be aware of is that BSA member schools cover a diverse range of educational opportunities for children from an equally diverse range of backgrounds."
He added: "For the family with two working parents who leave home early and don't get back until late, boarding schools offer parents - and their offspring - a quality education that fits family needs, providing stability and security, supervised homework and loads of extra-curricular activities. This also applies for lone parents who need to work shifts or run their own businesses.
"For parents who live in remote rural areas where a daily trip to and from school may take several hours, and for parents who serve in the armed forces and are posted abroad two or three times in a child's school life, boarding schools offer a safe environment, continuity of education without the disruption of changing schools, a chance for their child to enjoy sport and music, and experience a properly managed and varied day.
"On a sheer cost analysis basis, boarding can be very attractive when compared to the time and cost associated with parents taxiing their child to different sports and activities throughout the week."
Mr McGovern, who served as an aircraft engineer in the Royal Air Force before going into teaching, took up his post at St George's - a co-educational state day and boarding school, which last year saw 93% of pupils gain at least five Cs at GCSE including English and maths - in April.
State boarding schools also offer vulnerable and disadvantaged youngsters an alternative to "a childhood in social care", he said.
Boarding school should always be considered where a child could be taken into care, Mr McGovern added.