MY IDEAL SCHOOL—WHERE CAN I FIND IT? [To the Editor
of the SPECTATOR.]
wonder if any of your readers can help a father per- plexed in choosing a school fora boy. I have seen or considered the various public and other large schools, but in every case one or other of what I consider to be essentials is missing ; surely there must be some school filling all requirements, or must I write myself down as a " crank ? What I look for are :— 1. Health.—Sunlight, ventilation, ample washing seem- modation, plain, well thought out diet, decently served ; but I find "jug and bowl" bedroom washing, sunless class rooms, dirty table-cloths, and the "tuck box" system, or ill- considered menu.
2. Instruction.—Not for its own sake, but to open a boy's mind to think for himself—I find exams, and scholarships to be the objective.
3. Beauty.—Some opening of a boy's mind to beauty, and with it an appreciation of the beautiful, the gentle, and the true, in addition to the virtues of courage, self-discipline, etc.
4. Religion.—Believing that religion and an appreciation of the " spiritual" is the only key to service, to happiness, and to a full, useful life, I look for a staff who are definitely spiritual men, not merely negatively "law-abiding," but positively " devout " and able to pass quietly to their boys' thoughts about the unseen and real, which they can digest and translate for themselves into their own lives. I find either denominational teaching, which may quite likely fail a thinking boy when he later faces a crisis, or else a mere lip service to meaningless creeds.
To my mind—and I am an Imperialist, Protectionist, Conservative Nonconformist—the Society of Friends have a clearer vision about education than any of the schools I have yet seen. - Fees are secondary. I am prepared to put everything into my boy's true education. Is there a school which fits my ideas, where a boy can live a happy, lively, hard life, without necessarily being forced to conform to tradition (or go through hell), and where the school aims at character rather than merely 'Success in business, and yet does not turn out prigs, cranks, or fanatics—or must I admit failure and pass him into a " good " school and see his latent powers forced into a mould Of custom and later have him turned out, good at gaines, reasonably well informed, a good "mixer," but without that secret place of personal religion which is to my mind the real result of true education?—! am, Sir, &c., BM/B02L.