The Old Boys The Decline and Rise of the Public School David Turner

Publication date:
01 Mar 2016
Yale University Press
352 pages: 197 x 127mm
32 b-w illus.
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To many in the United Kingdom, the British public school remains the disliked and mistrusted embodiment of privilege and elitism. They have educated many of the country’s top bankers and politicians over the centuries right up to the present, including the present Prime Minister. David Turner’s vibrant history of Great Britain’s public schools, from the foundation of Winchester College in 1382 to the modern day, offers a fresh reappraisal of the controversial educational system. Turner argues that public schools are, in fact, good for the nation and are presently enjoying their true “Golden Age,” countering the long-held belief that these institutions achieved their greatest glory during Great Britain’s Victorian Era. Turner’s engrossing and enlightening work is rife with colorful stories of schoolboy revolts, eccentric heads, shocking corruption, and financial collapse. His thoughtful appreciation of these learning establishments follows the progression of public schools from their sometimes brutal and inglorious pasts through their present incarnations as vital contributors to the economic, scientific, and political future of the country.

David Turner is the former education correspondent for the Financial Times.

‘Turner tells an engrossing and well-researched story of how these schools rose from their beginnings in the 14th century, declined (twice) and rose (twice) again.’—Peter Wilby, the New Statesman.

‘David Turner’s brisk and balanced history of public schools is about change, controversies and paradoxes.’—Lawrence James, the Times.

‘Turner strikes a good balance between the fun of school life in these places, and (at their best) their high academic standards.’—A.N. Wilson, the Sunday Times.

‘Turner combines a good eye for an anecdote with the impressive knowledge of facts and figures that you might expect of a former education correspondent of the Financial Times.’—Eric Anderson, the Spectator.

“… well-researched [and] pleasingly written … The long-run story that Turner tells is a fascinating one and, I suspect, surprisingly little known.”—David Kynaston, The Observer.

‘David Turner has written a fascinating and insightful account of how these schools came about, their surprisingly precarious low points and their dominant status today.’—Robert Uloth, Country Life.

‘We have waited a long time for an excellent book on public schools. The wait is over.’ - Sir Anthony Seldon, Master, Wellington College