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What is it like in Eton?


Located beside the bridge connecting Eton with Windsor Castle, the George Inn is...

Like his predecessor, Tony Little, he is not a fan of the exam and league table culture heavily promoted by Michael Gove when in office, and which still exerts such a steely grip on school timetables.

The former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, elected in 2008 and 2012, was educated at Eton, as was Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury.

With some 20 or even 30 years ahead of him as Eton headmaster, Simon Henderson will have plenty of time to make a distinctive contribution to education debates. Does he worry as the new broom about getting people’s backs up? “Maybe I’m not everyone’s perception of what the Eton headmaster would be,” he concedes, “but I am the one they have got.”

A traditional form of punishment took the form of being made to copy, by hand, Latin hexameters. Miscreants were frequently set 100 hexameters by Library members, or, for more serious offences, Georgics (more than 500 hexameters) by their House Masters or the Head Master.[76] The giving of a Georgic is now extremely rare, but still occasionally occurs.

Eton today is a larger school than it has been for much of its history. In 1678, there were 207 boys. In the late 18th century, there were about 300, while in the modern era, the total has risen to over 1,300.[28][29]

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The land that is now Eton once belonged to the manor of Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor. The land was appropriated by the Normans after 1066. The main road between Windsor and London went through the area and a hamlet sprang up amid pasture meadows to maintain the road and the bridge.

In 1815, Eton College documented its football rules, the first football code to be written down anywhere in the world.[90]

That, surely, is to gloss over the substantial differences between state and private schools in terms of class size, resources and social mix. Educationalists, for example, refer to an “Eton effect” whereby privately educated pupils emerge from their schools with an inbuilt confidence.

Quite the opposite. Henderson is relocating the head’s study from its traditional spot in a quiet corner of an ancient quad to a central new location where the 1,300 pupils mill about between lessons. “I want to be in the middle of the passing traffic of boys,” he tells me.

Among headmasters of the 20th century were Cyril Alington, Robert Birley and Anthony Chenevix-Trench. M. R. James was a provost.

“It was an unexpected challenge when it came but one that I felt ultimately I couldn’t turn down,” he says.

In Doon's early years, faculty from Eton travelled to India to fill up the academic posts. Peter Lawrence was one of the first few masters to go to Doon.[120] In February 2013, Eton's Head Master Tony Little visited the Doon School in India to hold talks with Peter McLaughlin, headmaster of Doon, on further collaboration between the two schools.[121] Both schools participate in an exchange programme which sees boys from either school visiting the other for one academic term.[122]

In 2009, the School's musical protégés came to wider notice when featured in a TV documentary A Boy Called Alex. The film followed an Etonian, Alex Stobbs, a musician with cystic fibrosis, as he worked toward conducting the difficult Magnificat by Johann Sebastian Bach.[91][92]

In May 2013, Eton College was criticised in several editorials for asking potential 2011 scholarship students how, if they were Prime Minister, they might defend the use of lethal force by the Army after two days of violent protests in which several policemen have been killed.[113][114]

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“When I am going about my daily work at no point am I going to be asked to sit in silence in a room for two hours and write everything I know about a topic without consulting other people, or without the use of notes.

Chenevix-Trench's successor from 1970, Michael McCrum, retained private corporal punishment by masters, but ended the practice of requiring boys to take their trousers and underwear down when bending over to be caned by the Head Master. By the mid-1970s, the only people allowed to administer caning were the Head Master and the Lower Master.[81]

"After Lupton's time nothing important was built until about 1670, when Provost Allestree gave a range to close the west side of School Yard between Lower School and Chapel".[37] This was remodelled later and completed 1694 by Matthew Bankes, Master Carpenter of the Royal Works. The last important addition to the central college buildings was the College Library, in the south range of the cloister, 1725–29, by Thomas Rowland. It has a very important collection of books and manuscripts.

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The drama department is headed by Hailz-Emily Osborne and several other teachers; Simon Dormandy was on the staff until late 2012. The School offers GCSE drama as well as A-level "English with Theatre Studies."

“While league tables show one important feature of a school – the examination results – they do not demonstrate the quality of the all-round education. And they tend not to take into account the academic profile of the intake and so do not usually demonstrate the progress made by pupils,” he explains.

Eton /iːtən/ is a town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Berkshire, but within the historic boundaries of Buckinghamshire, lying on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor and connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The parish also includes the large village of Eton Wick, two miles west of the town, and has a population of 4,980.[1] Since 1998 it has been part of the unitary authority of Windsor and Maidenhead.

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When Henry VI founded the school, he granted it a large number of endowments, including much valuable land. The group of feoffees appointed by the king to receive forfeited lands of the Alien Priories for the endowment of Eton were as follows:[30]

Between 1983 and 1997, the town was part of the UK Parliamentary constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead which was continuously held by the Conservative Party during this period.

Simon Henderson replaced Tony Little as headmaster  Photo: Andrew Crowley

Eton is served by two bus companies. First operates daily buses on the Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5) – Datchet – Slough – Eton – Eton Wick route (bus 60/61). Redline Buses operates the Slough – Eton – Eton Wick – Dorney – Maidenhead route on Tuesdays and Fridays (bus 63/68).[7]

In September 2014 Eton College helped establish Holyport College, a state-funded free school with boarding facilities. The school is located in Holyport, Berkshire and Eton College acts as the main educational sponsor of the school.[128]

Eton College /iːtən/[1] is a private boarding school for boys in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor. It educates over 1,300 pupils, aged 13 to 18 years. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor",[2] making it the 18th oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) school.

In addition to the House Master, each house has a House Captain and a House Captain of Games. Some Houses have more than one. House prefects were once elected from the oldest year, but this no longer happens. The old term, Library, survives in the name of the room set aside for the oldest year's use, where boys have their own kitchen. Similarly, boys in their penultimate year have a room known as Debate.

Stories of alleged unsavoury high jinks on the part of OEs in various exclusive Oxford university clubs such as the Bullingdon and the Piers Gaveston have created an impression that it exists in a parallel universe with rules of its own.

“I’m not getting rid of the uniform this week,” he replies with an expression that suggests “watch this space”. He has perfected the knack of embodying the spirit of change, without actually promising anything concrete.

“In building further on the partnerships with state schools that Eton already has we will have as much to learn, if not more, than we have to give. But I’m struck by what a forward‑thinking place Eton is trying to be.”

Eton College occupies the whole of Eton north of Barnes Pool bridge and was founded by King Henry VI in 1440 and is second only to Winchester as the oldest public school in England. Unfortunately Eton College is not open to the public but you may be able to catch a glance through the entrance way of a statue of the founder by Francis Bird (1719) in the cobbled court of School Yard.