Episode # 6 – Nigel Talbot Rice, Headmaster of Summer Fields (1975-1997)

In Episode 6 of my Education podcast, I interview the famous Summer Fields Headmaster Nigel Talbot Rice. Listen on Soundcloud – Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Or on YouTube – Part 1 here (and below) or Part 2 here. Or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes here. Nigel joined prep school teaching upon leaving Oxford. He started his […]

Podcast Episode #4 – Paul Dean

In Episode 4 of my series interviewing teaching greats from the recent past, I interview Paul Dean. Download the podcast or listen online here: https://soundcloud.com/willorrewing/paul-dean or watch on YouTube below. Paul read English at Manchester 1971-9. His first teaching post was in Manchester. He was then Head of English at Portsmouth Grammar School 1986-99, Dragon 2000-8, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Exam Results and League Tables

UK independent schools are in a bit of a bind when it comes to exam results and league tables. They know that their parents are in one sense “customers” who like to know what they’re “buying”, but they also know that it is the most important aspects of a good education that are the hardest to measure. […]

Oundle Trivium

I recently came across this initiative from Oundle School, and was so heartened that I think Mr Gunson‘s words need quoting in full! What a wonderful example of a school actually enacting that well-worn phrase: “education for its own sake”. Will follow with interest… It is vital that pupils do not equate all learning with assessment. Trivium has […]

Eton – after a socialist revolution

I’ve quite enjoyed racing through News from Nowhere, William Morris’ account of England a generation after a socialist revolution. I’m sure everyone was worrying… “but what would happen to Eton?” “Up yonder are some beautiful old buildings, which were built for a great college or teaching-place by one of the mediaeval kings – Edward the Sixth, […]

Private Schools – Inflation of Fees

Last month, I wrote about about the affordability of independent schools. I am often asked how much private schools fees have risen in the past few decades. I have been looking for a good account for a while, and just recently came across this one in Dominic Carman’s Heads Up: Comparing 1971 incomes with today […]

Mini-Essay: Why Boarding?

The symptoms of what we call being a Boarding School Survivor are varied and complex. They include difficulties in relationships and parenting, workaholism, inability to relax, isolation, being experienced as a bully, substance abuse, a sense of failure, as well as physical, sleep, and sexual problems… (http://www.boardingschoolsurvivors.co.uk) Such is the trauma allegedly caused by attending […]