Poetry and Memory

Somewhat stating the obvious but good to read nonetheless: The emerging findings point strongly towards memorised poetry being a resource with the potential to enrich lives in different ways over many years. Knowing a poem by heart appears to support a very distinctive quality of attention and connection which in turn fosters a rich and […]

Don’t blame “factory education”

[P]hrases like “the industrial model of education,” “the factory model of education,” and “the Prussian model of education” are used as a “rhetorical foil” in order make a particular political point – not so much to explain the history of education, as to try to shape its future. Much enjoyed this revisionist piece on the […]

History of Prep Education Podcast # 3 – Interview with Mark Johnson

In Episode 3 of my History of Prep Education project, I interview Mark Johnson. Mark (known to all his pupils as MRJ) attended prep boarding school himself aged 6 (!). As a teacher, he taught at Summer Fields for 17 years, becoming Deputy Headmaster, before becoming Headmaster of Cheam in 1998 – a post he […]

My visit to Michaela Community School (MCS Brent)

Given the criticism that the school has received from many quarters (such that staff have even received death threats), I was fortunate enough to be allowed to visit Michaela at the end of the summer term. I spent a remarkable few hours there, and sent the following email to the headmistress, Katharine Birbalsingh afterwards: Dear […]

History of Prep Education # 2 – Interview with Rory Darling

In my second interview of my Captain Raindrop project, I interview Rory Darling. Rory taught Maths and History at many of the top boarding boys preparatory schools in the country, including Summer Fields, Cothill, Ludgrove, Aysgarth and Elstree. You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/willorrewing/will-orr-ewing-interviews-rory-darling Or I have embedded the YouTube link below. Please bear with me as […]

The Great Conversation (I’m looking for a pupil!)

I am looking for a school-age student who has the time and inclination to read a Great Book with me online via Skype. Please leave a comment or email me if of interest. The idea is expanded in this link, which begins as follows… “The Good Books are food for a wholesome imagination. They are well-written. […]

History of Prep Education #1 – Interview with Rhidian Llewellyn

Last week I began a part-time project to interview retired prep school teachers about their teaching methods. My first subject was Rhidian Llewellyn. Rhidian began his teaching career at Heatherdown. From 1980-1984 he was Head of History and English at Arnold House School in St John’s Wood, London. In 1986 he became Senior Housemaster at […]

Paddy Leigh Fermor’s historical imagination

I have previously quoted Arnold Toynbee, whose immersive reading of History allowed him to ‘see’ – through what Iain McGilchrist would call the world’s “semi-transparently” – historical incidents taking place as it were before his eyes. In a similar vein, I love this excerpt from one of Paddy Leigh Fermor’s letters, which I heard quoted by […]

Heritage School

Today I visited the wonderful Heritage School in Cambridge. There’s so much I’d like to say about the school, had we but world enough and time, but will limit myself to these select quotations from their website for now. The school is a tremendous example of how it is possible to be original and innovative without necessarily feeling the need to […]

The Pedagogy of Perception

Last Friday, I attended a fascinating forum on Liberal Education put on by Benedictus at Blackfriars in Oxford. Its title was The Liberal Arts -Education and Society. Every guest was invited to offer a 5 minute reflection on one aspect of Liberal Education. Anthony Radice, for instance, offer these thoughts on Memory and Liberal Education. I […]