Secondary school: Eton College (2005-2010)
University destination: Edinburgh University, Fine Art (Art and History of Art) MA (2010-2015)
Getting lost! Eton is located in a small town, with school classrooms dispersed across a wide area. When I started, the biggest challenge was to find where your lesson was taking place before it started.
It’s not a specific memory, but I really enjoyed the stimulating classroom discussions that we had, particularly in the sixth form. There were so many fantastically able students at the school and it was brilliant to be in an environment that valued learning.
I’d like to change the way that the school is written about in the media, which feeds into the public perception of the place as snobbish and exclusive. There is no stereotypical Etonian. My cohort was remarkably diverse, with students from all over the world and from a variety of economic backgrounds.
Where do I start! The uniform is a relic of the 19th century. There are special names for everything from teachers, known as ‘beaks’, to classes, which we called ‘divisions.’ Engaging with these traditions reminds you of the rich history of the school, which dates back to the 15th century.
As long as you worked hard and did your best, teachers were prepared to help in any way they could. A lot is expected of you academically. I remember being exceptionally busy with schoolwork every day of the week.
Yes, I guess it would be described as such. Though we grumbled about it at the time, I think the experience of attending church services on a regular basis has imbued me with respect for faiths of all kinds.
At Eton, I discovered a passion for painting and drawing during the first year of my GCSEs. This guided the rest of my time at the school. I’d spend all of my free time in the art room painting oversized oil paintings. Towards the end of my time at the school, we organised an exhibition of 6th form work, which was really well attended.
It was certainly true that prospective applicants to Oxford and Cambridge were offered extra support over and above their ‘A’ Level studies. However, whatever we hoped to go on to do after school, I found teachers were helpful and supportive. The course I ended up studying at University, Art and History of Art, isn’t offered by Oxford or Cambridge, but my art teacher went out of his way to help me with my portfolio and personal statement.
The OEA (Old Etonian Association) sends out regular newsletters. Throughout the school year, there’s also the opportunity to play sports fixtures against current pupils.
No! I was never even late for a class!
Eton is a boarding school. Your House Master and Dame (the equivalent of a Matron) act like your parents, on hand to support you both academically and emotionally throughout your time at the school. That said, there are roughly 50 boys in each house. The House Master and Dame can’t be everywhere at once, so you need to be independent and resourceful from the outset. You are also assigned a personal tutor, who isn’t part of your boarding house.
Inspiring, Intellectually Challenging and Confidence Building