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"Public School" Boys.

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"Public School" Boys.

Old 3rd Feb 2019, 07:40
  #61 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Ken Borough View Post
A question from a colonial who attended a "private school": Why are UK private schools known as "public schools" which are really the antithesis of what they really are. Here in Oz "public schools" are those operated by the Government of the various states and which are open to all, regardless of socio economic class.

Is there a rational explanation?
Yep, it's all to do with the semantics of the English language......that, an being British, we have to be different from the rest of the world anyway.
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 07:43
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Because originally, like Justice and The Ritz, they were open to all ...
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 08:46
  #63 (permalink)  
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"I know you're up to mischief Mac, though I can't prove it. So I'm just going to flog you on general principles"
Mac; Most interesting comment there! I attended a Boarding School in Adelaide South Australia from 1967 through to 1970 (incl) and although times had changed, we still heard the stories of what had happened in much earlier times.

However, in my early years there, there were still one or two Prefects who tried to behave as in much earlier times, such as you related in the above quote.

I can still remember one incident though, (kept very quiet for some reason) where one such Prefect attempted to perform the above quoted procedure only to find himself a fraction of a second later flat on his back, his ears ringing and a very severe pain in both his jaw and ribs! He was then abruptly hauled to his feet and quietly informed by the first year student he had attempted to discipline ( a 13 yr old who stood around 6 foot and weighed about 12 stone. A Farmer's Son) that if he ever tried that sort of stunt again he would never ever again walk without the aid of a stick, and would probably need to suck all his food through a straw for about the next six months.

Said Prefect was the model of discretion thereafter.

It was my experience that most of the boys who came from farms, either in the Mid North of SA or the Mallee could invariably be described as 'tough bastards!'
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 09:16
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...only to find himself a fraction of a second later flat on his back..,
In the state school I went to, that sort of treatment was reserved for the teachers,

Well, as far as I know it only happened once. Brutal teacher had been warned by the Head after a complaint from a boy's father. Boy had severe bruising after being hit with a heavy straightedge. A few days later, teacher calls same kid to front of the class on some pretext, to administer a 'crow peck'. Kid king hits teacher and drops him like a sack of spuds, then goes straight to Head. Teacher promptly moved on.
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 16:30
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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Though Atlanta, Georgia born and bred, I spent my formative years in West Hartford, Connecticut. (A Southern Cracker in King Arthur's Court?) I was a student at Kingswood Academy, an all-male private preparatory school patterned after an English country day educational institution of the same name, from 1961 through 1965. We had forms, not grades; masters, not teachers; old boys, not alumni. Masters addressed us as Mr. *****, we them as either Master or Professor *****. More than half of the latter held Ph.D. degrees; the remainder had attained Masters degrees. Total student population was ~ three hundred - class size averaged twelve students. Classes were held in four houses bordering a semicircular green which was controlled and usable by sixth formers only. Underclassmen who dared trespass upon the green (even if they were pushed) got "weenied" ties and or "pink bellies". We were on campus from 0745 to 1700 hours. Our adolescent crania were jammed with endless gouts of knowledge for the princely sum of $4,000/annum.

Just when I was nominated to be a Prefect, our family returned to Atlanta, where, having passed a rather rigorous entrance examination, I was admitted to Westminster Schools, a Christian (Presbyterian) preparatory school for boys and girls. The key word in the preceding sentence is girls, for whom I was having all sorts of un-Christian thoughts, having spent four years in an all-male konzentrazionschlager, where the only female was an extraordinarily ugly "thang" who worked in the kitchen serving up casseroles of botulinum toxin and salmonella salmon on Fridays. But I digress. Westminster was and is reputed to be the finest private school in the Southeastern United States and in the top five in the United States. Since its founding in 1951, 100% of its graduates have matriculated to college. Martin Luther King, who had children about my age, couldn't beg, borrow, or steal admission for them, for they were unable to pass the entrance examination. The tuition for a boarding student was $8,000/ annum. I met my future-ex-wife there. We both went off to Vanderbilt. That is another story for another time. Suffice to say that Vanderbilt calls itself "The Harvard of the South", but "Hahvahd" doesn't reciprocate by calling itself "The Vanderbilt of the North"...

Kingswood's basic tuition today is around $38,000, Westminster's is $46,000! I went on to earn a baccalaureate at Vanderbilt and a business degree from Georgia State University. That's sixteen years of education. I will tell you with no uncertainty that I learned more during my four years at Kingswood than in all the other years combined. I sent all three of my children to private or parochial school, simply because I believe the educational offerings are superior. One may be a snob or an a**hole no matter what one's education background might be. Private schoolers just do it better! Now where did I put my monocle?

- Ed

Last edited by cavuman1; 3rd Feb 2019 at 16:57. Reason: spelling
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 17:44
  #66 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ken Borough View Post
A question from a colonial who attended a "private school": Why are UK private schools known as "public schools" which are really the antithesis of what they really are. Here in Oz "public schools" are those operated by the Government of the various states and which are open to all, regardless of socio economic class.

Is there a rational explanation?
Yes, it is a very logical name for schools that were intended to educate boys for the public life, and of course making the contacts needed later. It has been said that the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. As Patrick MacNee once said while playing John Steed in the Avengers, after restraining a prisoner with his tie, "Nothing binds stronger than the old school tie."

For further details please watch any episode of "Yes Prime Minister."

Grammar schools, on the other and, were not for teaching English Grammar, but Latin!
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Old 3rd Feb 2019, 19:07
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ve3id,

Because many of them, in the 16thC and before, were founded by private donors and set up to provide schooling for the public.
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 01:04
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Although this thread is about public school boys I can shed some light on public school girls. I was sent to boarding school at the age of 10. That confidence people speak of comes from the fact that at a place like that you learn fast that you can show no weakness at any time.

It is wrong that only "posh" people go to these schools, we had girls from a huge variety of backgrounds, yes there were some titled gentry type girls but most of us had parents who worked very hard to buy us that education. Some girls were there because their parents were overseas as diplomats or airline pilots. Some were scholarship girls. The ones who were more looked up to were the ones who were good at things, such as games, music, drama or just having amazing hair, or at least one good looking older brother!

It wasn't nice being sneered at when we all had to meet at Victoria to get the train to school in uniform. None of us had had a choice of where or how we were going to be educated.

The difference between boarding school and state school kids in terms of being independent became very apparent when I went to college, those of us who'd boarded partied hard and had a ball at weekends while the others went home to Mum with a big bag of dirty washing. When you have boarded you learn to live without a comfort zone, there is nowhere to hide and no comforting arms to run to; you just have to make things work, that is where this "confidence" comes from.
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 02:49
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ve3id View Post
Yes, it is a very logical name for schools that were intended to educate boys for the public life, and of course making the contacts needed later. It has been said that the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. As Patrick MacNee once said while playing John Steed in the Avengers, after restraining a prisoner with his tie, "Nothing binds stronger than the old school tie."

For further details please watch any episode of "Yes Prime Minister."

Grammar schools, on the other and, were not for teaching English Grammar, but Latin!
Indeed, I still can conjugate a fair amount of Latin that I learnt by rote at my Grammar School (Colchester, founded in 1206, yes 1206). However I did manage to avoid learning Classical Greek, which was an option from year 3!
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 08:52
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My school, Chipping Campdem Grammar School, founded 1440, about the same time as Eton, had Latin as a compulsory subject in the 'A' stream.
This was because at that time O Level Latin was required to gain a scholarship to Oxford University.
My illustrious career came to a grinding halt when I ploughed it.


Had to fly aeroplanes instead.
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 09:28
  #71 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
Had to fly aeroplanes instead.
Per ardua ad Astra?

Or did you serve on 'sensible' sqns with English mottos?

Loved it on one of those quiz shows : who said, I came, I saw, I conquered? Among the choices was JC, no not that one or the other one.

She looked slightly puzzled: wasn't the original veni, vidi, vici? Before picking JC. The quiz master looked slightly abashed.
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 09:39
  #72 (permalink)  
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Jeremy Clarkson was "I came, I swore, I conquered".
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 12:42
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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An interesting Thread.


Having had the advantage of viewing all of this as an 'outsider' about a third of a century ago I found that the biggest 'snobbery' was 'inverted snobbery'; i.e. those who considered themselves not to be 'upper class' had the most disdainful things to say about the those that they perceived to be in those 'upper classes' whereas those 'upper class' people were nowhere near as 'snobbish' about those who were being 'inverted snobs'. (The advantage of being an 'outsider' was that I wasn't 'classified' as belonging to any group and therefore was able to mingle with all equally.) This is, of course, a generalisation and there will always be exceptions, as with all generalisations.


Over that third of a century I have struggled to see the huge 'class divide' that so many speak about here. The most spoken about is the 'Working Classes'. What are the working classes? People who work? I that case barristers, airline pilots and surgeons must all be 'working classes' because they work. (And it can be argued that they often work longer and more anti-social hours and do more high-pressure work than many unskilled workers.) In the modern world there is very little that will hold back anyone with 'get up and go' to do well, regardless of their 'social background' (whatever 'social background' is). I see 'badly behaved parents' as the biggest obstacle to people advancing themselves, and those parents can be found in all 'social backgrounds'.


About those "Public School" Boys: there are idiots in all groups in society and probably in roughly equal proportions. And as has been pointed out above, the vast majority are decent people, it's just that the idiots stand out and are noticed. About the schools: there are so many state schools that have dreadful problems with bullying, violence, etc., that it really would be difficult to point accusatorial fingers in any generalised direction. But there are good schools that will build up confidence and ability, as many have pointed out here, and these schools are out there in all 'flavours' ("public"or 'state'). Our offspring ('kids' for those of you who get uppity about such terms!) did very, very well with state schooling. I got chatting to a carpet layer, who had been recommended to me for his good workmanship, who went to the same school and he said that what was good about that school was that they found your abilities then worked on developing them and he had been very happy there. That is a good school.


A brief bit about the 'uselessness' of Latin: a (now fairly elderly) relative got into the computer industry in its very early days. He said that having learnt Latin at school gave him an immediate head-start as the rigid logic of computer programming was the same as the rigid logic of Latin grammar. (Latin grammar derives its strict logic from the Stoic philosophy that says that you cannot say what you mean accurately if you don't actually say it accurately; exactly the same as computer logic.) From that beginning he enjoyed a successful career in the computer industry. When our daughter heard this, she enrolled in an after-school Latin course and within not too many years she was running truly 'galactic' programmes on university supercomputers!


But then back to the 'class' situation. while it has mostly disappeared in Britain (other than in the minds of a few hard-liners), it is vitally important to British humour. And for that reason it provides so much enjoyment to so many of us, especially when we see 'class warriors' going off at a tangent showing everyone how their closed minds work (or don't work!). It's that inverted snobbery that provides the most humour!

(A final comment about Latin: would vidi vinci veni be seen as 'non-PC' these days?!)

Last edited by NoelEvans; 7th Feb 2019 at 12:04. Reason: Sp/typo -- the mistyped 'n' crossed out
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 12:56
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Noel, that's one of the soundest, most sensible and well written posts I've ever seen on this entire forum.
Well done and well said.
British snobbery these days is almost entirely inverted snobbery, an aberration almost exclusively restricted to those who flaunt "working class" credentials.
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 22:48
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Originally Posted by wowzz View Post
However I did manage to avoid learning Classical Greek, which was an option from year 3!
If we chose Greek we had to give up geography. I decided that geography was more useful.
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 23:30
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Excellent post Noel Evans

Just one thing to add about Latin. When I went to university in my 40s to study Russian, learning it from scratch, I found that my 25 year old O level Latin was a great help. Russian, like Latin, is a fully inflected language, with six cases for nouns and adjectives, and three genders, just like Latin. Accurate grammar is essential to convey meaning accurately, as word order is less important. I too was offered the chance to learn ancient Greek from the third year at grammar school, but this was as an alternative to German, which I chose instead.

TTN (Ultor in Umbris!)
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Old 6th Feb 2019, 03:07
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Originally Posted by Gertrude the Wombat View Post
If we chose Greek we had to give up geography. I decided that geography was more useful.
l managed to ditch Latin and took Spanish instead. Played havoc with the timetable, as at the time you were expected to do both. In retrospect, my 3 years of Latin were academically useful, but in the real world learning Spanish was invaluable, given that I ended up living in rural Spain for a number of years.
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Old 6th Feb 2019, 03:38
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From what the Headmaster told me, boys taken in at 13, "need to have the insolence beaten out of them", reducing them to humble and useful human beings, I suppose. One boy was beaten for 'dumb insolence' I remember for the look in his eye when he refused to answer the prefect back.

But what about public school girls, or am I off-topic?
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Old 6th Feb 2019, 07:26
  #79 (permalink)  
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Jhs, the Army does much the same thing with their initial training and I guess the same was true of the other Services too. The recent programme on the Paras illustrated this though the emphasis was that what the recruit wanted to achieve not what they were forced to do.
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Old 6th Feb 2019, 07:45
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TTN,

My wife, who still works part time as a translator from French into English, would totally agree with you. On the other hand, I gave up Latin and did carpentry instead when I found that French was sufficient for my proposed degree course. Since then I have found both to have been of much greater use than Latin - French, because I now live in France and carpentry because it has been so useful around the house and garden.

equus nam cursus
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