Jocelin Slingsby Winthrop-Young

6th April 2012 at 01:00
One of the first Gordonstoun pupils, who founded the Round Square and left behind legacies

Jocelin Winthrop-Young, who died recently at the age of 92, prided himself on being one of the first six boys at Gordonstoun. He sailed with the Duke of Edinburgh at the outset of the Gordonstoun coastguards service; was a keen musician and flautist; a respected educationalist; a naval officer who saw action at D-Day in Normandy, later serving in the Far East; a one-time officer in the Foreign Office; a disciple of Kurt Hahn; and a chess player with an interest in travel, politics and democracy.

It was his father, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young - a mountaineer, educationalist and HM Inspector of Schools - who persuaded Kurt Hahn to start the first British Salem School at Gordonstoun in Moray, when Hahn had to leave Germany.

Educated at Salem in Germany from 1931-33 and then Gordonstoun (1933-38), Jocelin was, however, no elitist but an educationalist with a concern to ensure the offering of scholarships by schools, a lifelong promoter to all of the Gordonstoun ethic, the philosophy of Hahn and the Plus est en vous (the Gordonstoun motto).

In 1949, he was persuaded by Hahn to run the Anavryta School near Athens, set up following the ideals and guidelines of Salem and Gordonstoun. While it was a fee-paying school, a sliding fee scale prevailed, including full bursaries for poor but able boys from across Greece. He was described by one former colleague as "an inspiring leader and as a man of tact, diplomacy and enthusiasm".

With the fall of the monarchy, the Greek school closed in its original form and many of the buildings have fallen into disrepair. After Anavryta, Jocelin became head of the middle school at Salem for a while. He then settled at Schloss Salem, establishing the Kurt Hahn archives there in 1965.

Jocelin then became second master at Salem (1964-72). In 1966, on the 70th birthday of Kurt Hahn, he founded what was to be the most lasting of his legacies, the Round Square (initially the Hahn Schools' Conference), from which educationalists across the world have learnt and continue to learn much. He was a man who believed in the importance of discussion as much as Hahn did persuasion. Round Square is a worldwide association of schools that share a commitment beyond academic excellence to personal development and responsibility.

While Hahn believed students of different nations co-operating in acts of service would help remove prejudice, Jocelin believed schools also needed to encourage the understanding of students' differences in order to gain enrichment from their varied cultures and mentality.

Getting Hahn's ideals into practice - and on a scale he might never have imagined - was achieved by Jocelin with his colleagues in Round Square, United World Colleges, Outward Bound and Duke of Edinburgh Award.

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