Man & Boy

Giles Coren on fa­thers (him) and sons (Sam, aged four). This month: two schools of thought

Esquire (UK) - - Man & Boy -

My daugh­ter goes to a great lit­tle school. Low build­ings barely a mile from our home are scat­tered around lush park­land whose trees are be­decked with coloured rib­bons to in­di­cate the per­mis­si­ble ceil­ing of as­cent for climb­ing en­thu­si­asts, ac­cord­ing to their age. There are oth­er­wise no rules at all. The chil­dren self-po­lice in ev­ery re­spect and have done since the school’s in­cep­tion in 1897. The school is non-se­lec­tive and non-com­pet­i­tive. There is no home­work be­fore the age of 11, nor ex­ams be­fore 16. The school is co­ed­u­ca­tional and there is no uni­form. It is OK to be late. It is OK to bunk a cou­ple of days to get cheaper re­turn flights from your halfterm beach hol­i­day. In both cases you just email the head teacher and say, “Sorry, Peter,” and he emails back, “Don’t apol­o­gise, life is for liv­ing.”

The kids all call him by his first name, too. There are no de­ten­tions or rus­ti­ca­tions. No school mon­i­tors or pre­fects. No head boy or girl. They don’t play cricket or wor­ship God or

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