25 APRIL 1931, Page 11



The Public School System has many critics. Most of these will be delighted by the decision of the head-master of Mill Hill School to allow his pupils, if they choose, to wear grey flannel shorts or trousers, with open-necked cricket shirts, instead of their ordinary clothes. Hygiene and enlightenment have raised the banner of sartorial unorthodoxy over one of the strongholds of conservatism, and social reformers are jubilant. Actually, they have small cause to be. The essence of their case against the Public Schools is that these institutions fail to equip a boy for the struggle of modern existence. They give him no technical training, and a false set of values. As a consequence, he goes out into the world unable, and probably reluctant, to do any useful work. He is a misfit in the world of industry and commerce. It is difficult to see how this state of affairs will be remedied by accustoming boys to a habit of dress in which practically nobody—unless he is a professional footballer —can hope to carry on the process of wage-earning. Whatever else may be said against our oldest public schools, they do at least acclimatize boys to the uncomfortable and often ridiculous clothes which the exigencies of civilized life impose. We cannot 'but feel that the unsuitability of the public schoolboy for a business career will become all the more painfully appar- ent when his first day in the office is also his first day in trousers.