Education: Dusting Off the Old School Ties

Behind its ancient walls, Eton, at 550, slips into the modern age

Forget the 18 Prime Ministers, Wellingtons, Pitts and Walpoles: any school that is the ostensible alma mater of James Bond, Tarzan and Lord Peter Wimsey has clearly made a contribution to the world. And the quirkiness of Eton College ensures that it still seems to belong less to life than to Lewis Carroll fiction. The boys wear coats with tails, the teachers are called beaks, and both parties greet one another on the street by simply raising a single index finger. The prefects who sweep into classrooms, gowns billowing, to summon boys to see the headmaster are known as praepostors (as...

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