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As the school mediates between the aspiring rich and the deserving poor, a third group fights for survival: old “Eton” families who have been sending boys to the school for generations.
This group dominated the Eton I attended in the 1980s, when the school was still a barely-selective rite of passage for the descendants of Britain’s Edwardian upper and upper-middle classes – complacent, snobby and full of surnames recognisable from the inter-war diaries of Harold Nicolson. The percentage of pupils at the school with an No elite connives in its own dethroning, however, and Eton is a living illustration of the oft-forgotten truth that social mobility cuts both ways.
They’re among the reasons new parents send their sons here, along with the belief that the school will coax and push and cajole the best out of the boy – that Eton is, as the headmaster puts it, “unashamed in its pursuit of excellence”.
The school aims to educate the elite, as it always has, but it has reshaped itself in order to accommodate a new elite defined by money, brains and ambition, not pedigree, titles and acres.
OLIVER Proudlock is a TV personality and fashion entrepreneur who came to fame on the reality show Made In Chelsea.
He’s always on hand to give his best pal Jamie Laing advice and now he is back for series 15...
After appearing in the first ten seasons, he took a short gap before returning in 2016.
The latest “exciting and strictly limited opportunity” is the chance to have your name inscribed on a stone around School Yard, costing £10,000 spread over four consecutive tax years.Joining Melissa Tattam in series 15 is another new face Ben Darby – who is Mimi Bouchard's beau.The world’s most famous school aspires to become an agent of social change; but, as old boy Christopher de Bellaigue learns when he goes back, it is also an increasingly effective way for the global elite to give its offspring an expensive leg up in life The world’s most famous school aspires to become an agent of social change; but, as old boy Christopher de Bellaigue learns when he goes back, it is also an increasingly effective way for the global elite to give its offspring an expensive leg up in life ne of Simon Henderson’s first decisions after taking over last summer as headmaster of Eton College was to move his office out of the labyrinthine, late-medieval centre of the school and into a corporate bunker that has been appended (“insensitively”, as an architectural historian might say) to a Victorian teaching block.Eton’s rich and poor coalesce and become each other’s raison d’être in the context of the school’s ambition to be “needs-blind” in the manner of Harvard – that is to say, able to offer a boy a place regardless of his parents’ ability to pay.Eton’s big plan was evoked succinctly by William Waldegrave, the provost (head of the governing body), when he told me, “what I hope is that this school will continue to produce the prime minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and entrepreneurs of all sorts, but that three-quarters of them will have been here on bursaries.” Waldegrave and Henderson may be the latest advocates of Eton’s transformation, but the process began a generation ago.