Life in a Public School
Exercise 1 – Track 1
Host: Good evening and welcome to Tuesday’s Tea-Time Tittle Tattle. Here in the studio today we have Dr. Bill Witherspoon of the Outer London Education Council. Er, thanks for coming today Bill.
Bill: Oh, thank you for inviting me.
Host: A Mrs. Madge Bell has called in to ask which first type of school she should send her 13-year-old nephew to, and what information, if any, you can share with her. Actually, that call came all the way from Durban, South Africa about 5 minutes ago. Over to you Bill.
Bill: Well now, in Britain we have lots of very good schools, of which Eton near Windsor is my favourite. 119
Host: Now, Eton has a long history doesn’t it Bill?
Bill: Oh, yes. In 1440 Henry VI founded ‘The King’s College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor’ and, a year later, the college in Cambridge, which was to be supplied with scholars from Eton. The school was to be part of a large foundation which included a community of secular priests, 10 of whom were Fellows, a pilgrimage church, and an almshouse. Provision was made for 70 scholars to receive free education.
Host: So, how many boys are we talking about today?
Bill: At any one time there are almost 1300 boys in the School, almost all of whom joined the School at age 13.
Host: And do they live in dorms?
Bill: Every boy at Eton has his own study-bedroom. This is his own private zone that he can decorate as he pleases (within limits set by his House Master) and where he can entertain friends — or exclude them if he wants a bit of peace and quiet. But beware, the Boys’ Maid will be a great friend and ally if he plays his cards right, but will not take it kindly if his room is a perpetual tip.
Host: And holidays?
Bill: All boys have the normal school holidays but they can also go home or go out with their parents — with the House Master’s permission — whenever they are free from School or House commitments.
Host: I’ll stop you there Bill. It’s time for a commercial.