We should celebrate, not mourn, the cancellation of exams

“Surely now is the golden opportunity for schools, untrammelled by all that gruesome nomenclature of ‘exam specification’, ‘assessment objective’, ‘rubrics’ and so on, to set their pupils’ ‘love of learning’ truly ablaze.” Full piece published on Medium here.

Private Education & Public Benefit

Institutions inextricably bound up with their localities. National treasures with long histories of public service. Sites of collective memory and ritual, loyalty and love. What’s a communitarian not to love about private schools? Regrettably all too much. Read the full piece at The Critic.

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 […]

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, […]