Former Eton headmaster Tony Little says ex-pupils Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Jacob Rees-Mogg are giving the respected school ‘a bad name’
- Former head Tony Little said it was ‘unfortunate’ that the trio are all Eton alumni
- He said ‘we’d be better served as a nation’ if they hadn’t gone to the same school’
- Johnson is the 20th prime minister to be educated at Eton, Cameron was 19th
- Rees-Mogg, five years younger than the Prime Minister, followed them to Eton
- Asked at Henley Festival if they were giving Eton ‘a bad name’ he replied: ‘Yes’
With alumni in the highest echelons of government, business and society, you would think it’s reputation was unshakeable.
But a former Eton head master said Boris Johnson, alongside the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Cameron, are giving the school ‘a bad name’.
Tony Little, who led the school for 13 years, said it was ‘unfortunate’ that the trio are all Eton alumni, and admitted ‘we’d be better served as a nation’ if they hadn’t all gone to the same school.
Tony Little (pictured), who led the school for 13 years, said it was ‘unfortunate’ that the trio are all Eton alumni
Mr Johnson is the 20th prime minister to be educated at the school, with Mr Cameron being the 19th.
Mr Rees-Mogg, five years younger than the Prime Minister, followed them into the school.
Asked at Henley Literary Festival if the three Conservative MPs were giving Eton ‘a bad name’, Mr Little replied: ‘Yes.’
Later expanding on his remark in a discussion about the place of private schools in society, he said: ‘Speaking personally, I think it is unfortunate at the moment and we’d all be better served as a nation if this particular clutch of people hadn’t been educated at the same school.
‘But you can over-egg that pudding, you can overstate it. I make no apologies at all for the quality of the education that Eton gives its young people, but what they choose to do with it of course is a different matter.’
He explained that while the behaviour of some of its famous alma-matter may attract more attention, Eton has many ‘unsung’ former students who go on to positively represent the school.
Mr Johnson is the 20th prime minister to be educated at the school, with Mr Cameron being the 19th. Mr Rees-Mogg, five years younger than the Prime Minister, followed them into the school (pictured)
‘What is striking about the independent sector is the vast bulk of independent schools are serving a local community, very often with a skill or a track within the school that offers an education better than the state can provide’, he said.
‘And those are names people haven’t heard of.
‘The guy who founded Amnesty International for example, Friends of the Earth, these are old Etonians, unsung old Etonians. There is a particular focus on a certain bunch of people.’
Defending private schools in the wake of attacks from the likes of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, he said the independent sector was ‘the solution’ to educational inequality.
‘You have to ask the question, ‘would the country be better served without having these schools’ – which are seen as beacons of excellence around the world’, he said.
‘I chair a multi-academy trust in the Manchester area, a pretty disadvantaged set of circumstances.
‘What makes that trust sing where the 9,000 children in those schools have a whole set of opportunities has come through the independent sector and through making opportunities available. Independent schools are part of the solution.’
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