Sunday, 6 December 2009

How the other half live.

This week Traveller was given the privilege of attending one of Britain's most prestigious schools and judging their annual science lecture competition. Now, as you may have guessed, Traveller is no scientist. However, she was there to judge the finalists on their English communication skills and their Head of Science was there to judge their scientific knowledge (phew!).

The school which Traveller visited is called Harrow School and it is a Secondary Boarding School on par in prestige to Eton (where the princes attended). The science competition happened in the evening from 9pm which meant that T was given the further privilege of being invited to join the two science teachers for dinner in the staff dining room. Now let's get one thing clear; this is no cheap, school dinner. Not even close.

There were pre-dinner appertifs, followed by the menu below:

Pumpkin Soup
with Crispy Chorizo
Duck Breast au Poivre
with red onion relish and jus
Herby new potatoes
grilled leeks with goat's cheese glaze
asparagus tips and baby corn mis
Vanilla Creme Brulee
Cheese and biscuits

All of these were accompanied by wine, from an extensive wine list.

Oh, and the dining room had a wall-to-wall view over the whole of London.

Traveller thought that she had died and gone to teacher heaven.

It would seem, however, that she would not be able to actually teach there, as most of their staff come from Oxford, Cambridge or an Ivy League school.

The children pay around £26, 000 a year to attend (they live there) and, by golly, they receive their money's worth. The school plays host to a golf course, a fishing pond, a museum and an actual farm, on top of regular world-class facilities like a sports centre, playing fields, and an art gallery on over 400 acres of land. This type of school needs a museum as it has old boy's among the likes other schools could only dream about. Churchill (one of the eight British Prime Ministers to have attended), Byron, Sheridan, King Hussein of Jordan are just a few of these.

There are many facts about the school that fascinate Traveller, here are just a few:

- The boys wear a morning suit every Sunday which includes; tails, striped trousers, a waistcoat and braces. The regular boys wear boaters and the monitors wear top hats. They wear this every Sunday. The head boy wears a white suit!

- The boys are required to wear their hats on the hill's (Harrow is located on a hill) high street. They are also required to tip their hat at any adult who walks past.

- While the school is steeped in tradition, they play host to many modern languages, such as; French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese and Italian.

One interesting anecdote the Head of Science (also a doctor, a previous student of Oxford and the Director of Studies at Harrow - yes, T was a little out of her depths in dinner conversation!) discussed at dinner was that the Arabic teacher was there upon insistence of the royal family that attend the school. The school pays for his teaching services, his travel and at times his accomodation, and he only teaches for nine hours during the week! He has 12 students.

The actual judging of the competition was really fun; the boys were lovely (in a British mumsy kind of way) and seemed to be very intelligent and eloquent. In all honesty, it was such a pleasure to be asked, and it was an experience that T will remember for a long time to come.

{T almost wished that she was a boy and could turn back the clock, just so that she could attend - honestly, you couldn't ask for a more interesting educational experience!}

photo via flickr

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...