Prime minister, mayor of London and now, with Bishop of Durham Justin Welby about to be appointed, Archbishop of Canterbury: Etonians occupy the Holy Trinity of establishment positions
Prime minister, mayor of London and now, with Bishop of Durham Justin Welby about to be appointed, Archbishop of Canterbury: Etonians occupy the Holy Trinity of establishment positions.
What makes Welby's success all the more interesting is that first he was a high-powered oil executive and became a priest in 1992 after an epiphany, so he has risen to the top in two fields about as different as can be.
Whether you find that reassuring or revolting, it’s fair to question what makes the 550-year old institution avant-garde enough to fit the modern world.
Much has been written about exam results – the fifth best for boys – and former students – from David Cameron to the Duke of Cambridge – so we’ll look at culture.
‘While we don’t teach boys about nineteen prime ministers and all that,’ headmaster Anthony Little has told Spear's, ‘if you grow up in a place where so many people have gone on to achieve so many extraordinary things then it begs the questions why not you too? We teach young men here to believe that they can do pretty much anything.’
That is done by developing independence, in part through giving boys their own rooms from day one, and in part through atmosphere. At Eton, if your child says and does things with total belief then they will thrive as, unlike other schools, the top jobs are elected by boys not beaks: the subsequent disregard for hierarchy explains why so many OEs – like Cameron, Johnson and Welby – go on to extreme careers in later life.
What next? X-Factor judge?