On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

3rd May 2013 at 01:00

This week: Eton's 'ethos'

Eton College, near Windsor in England, is possibly the most famous school in the world, its alumni a veritable who's who in the worlds of politics, entertainment, science and literature.

Given its track record, perhaps lessons in humility are not the most important part of Eton's timetable. And it seems that Jesse Norman, a British politician and Old Etonian, could do with a few pointers.

This week, Mr Norman said the reason that so many of the school's former students have risen to the top of the political game - including UK prime minister David Cameron - is that Eton instils an ethos of "public service", which is lacking in other schools.

Mr Norman, recently installed as a policy adviser to the prime minister, did add that "of course, the pupils are highly privileged". But that didn't stop an onslaught of criticism from schools - state and private - keen to point out their own commitment to working in the community.

Teachers also argued that running the country isn't quite the same selfless commitment to public service as marking 13-year-olds' history homework.

He might view himself as a compassionate Conservative but Mr Norman isn't always as sensitive as he should be. So for that we send his talk of Eton's "ethos" to the naughty step.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today