Elite Education at Eton College

  On November 9, 2012, British Prime Minister Cameron announced on the well-known social network “Twitter” that Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, will serve as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, becoming the spirit of the 77 million Anglican believers. leader. Given that Welby attended Eton College in his youth, and Prime Minister Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Prince Charles and his sons all graduated from this prestigious school, Eton and Eton College were all at once. become the focus of many media attention. Some commentators even pointed out that when the Anglican Church, the British government, the British capital London, and even the future British king were all led by graduates of Eton College, the United Kingdom, a country traditionally ruled by elites, seemed to have entered the “Etonian rule”. era.
  In fact, Eton College and British politics have a long history. Since the establishment of the school in the 15th century, countless Etonian graduates have entered the British government and parliament at all levels to hold public office. Nineteen of them eventually rose to power and became prime ministers of the United Kingdom, including Walpole, the first prime minister who served for 21 years, Wellesley, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo during the Anglo-French War (i.e. Wellington). Duke), Aiden who launched the Suez Canal War, Macmillan who urged Britain to join the European Common Market, etc. Outside of politics, Eaton alumni are also well-known, such as the founder of macroeconomics Keynes, lyric poets Gray and Shelley, novelists Walpole (whose father was the first Prime Minister) and Orwell.
  The reason why Eton College has a large number of talents is closely related to the school’s respect for elite education. Etonian alumnus, British author Nick Fraser, in his “Etonian Values” published in 2006, summarized the characteristics of Etonians as independence, camaraderie, loyalty, dignity, bravery, tradition, gentleness, humor and a sense of mission. For more than 500 years, these qualities have been running through Eton College’s traditional and free and open education system. Generations of Eton students have grown from ignorant teenagers to refined and confident young talents after five years of immersion. After graduation, they have gradually become the mainstay of British politics, economy, culture and society. And their success has brought infinite glory to Eton College, making it among the top schools in the UK and even Europe.
  The history of public school
  In the UK, public schools are not public schools maintained and managed by the state, but the product of private education with early church education and donation education as the main body. The earliest church education in England appeared at the end of the 6th century. At that time, Roman missionaries headed by St. Augustine began to spread biblical teachings in monasteries in England. Since the scriptures were written in Latin, and the Roman Catholic Church wanted to train some clergy locally, the teaching of Latin by missionaries attracted young people from all walks of life in England to study. After the 7th century, the missionary activities of the church were no longer limited to monasteries and began to face society. Churches have successively opened some grammar schools, which in addition to teaching local parish priests, also provide free education for parish boys who only want to learn Latin but do not want to serve in the priesthood in the future. As an affiliate of the church, the principals and teachers of grammar schools are appointed by the bishop of the diocese. They have a monopoly on school education in the diocese and exercise the responsibility of educating the people and spreading the gospel on behalf of the bishop.
  It was not until the second half of the 14th century that the first independent schools not attached to religious institutions appeared in England. In 1382, the Archbishop of Winchester, William Wickham, established a boarding grammar school in his district, enrolling outstanding students and priests from all over England to study theology, doctrine and civil law. The school’s priorities for selecting students are relatives of the donor, boys in the Diocese of Winchester, and boys in parishes where the school has assets. Wickham asked the school to enroll about 10 noble and powerful children who paid tuition and board fees in addition to the 70 poor students who received free education. This grammar school was later called Winchester College, and its special way of running a school was imitated by the subsequent grammar schools. In 1440, King Henry VI of England founded Eton College with reference to the establishment of Winchester College. Its students are mainly boys from Eton’s parish, with preference given to choir members. Although Winchester and Eton are not affiliated with any church, they are still closely linked to the church. For example, Wickham once said that the purpose of its school is to express devotion to God, and Henry VI hoped that Eton students would pray for their ancestors and deceased Anglican believers.
  In the first half of the 16th century, the Reformation movement in England was in full swing, and the monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church were banned one after another, and grammar schools, which were affiliated institutions of the church, naturally closed down. After 1540, some grammar schools were restored and rebuilt, although their attachments had changed from the Catholic Church, controlled by the Pope, to the Anglican Church, allegiance to the King of England. With the development of secular society in the UK, private groups and charities formed by the emerging urban middle class also began to donate funds to set up grammar schools independent of the church system. These schools cultivate elite talents who meet the needs of all walks of life by recruiting the children of big industrialists, big businessmen, and squires. Most of these grammar schools later became known as public schools. In the 18th century, as public schools began to implement a fee system, and their tuition fees continued to rise as their prestige increased, the number of lower-class students in public schools decreased day by day, and public schools became a veritable aristocratic school. After nearly a hundred years of development, the British Parliament finally passed the Public Schools Act, which not only affirmed the unique status of public schools in the British education system, but also established a legal basis for the development of British public school education. The passage of the Act also marked the establishment of Winchester, Eton, St Paul’s, Shrewsbury, Westminster, Taylor Chamber of Commerce, Rugby College The official formation of the public school axis dominated by the “nine public schools”, including Harrow School, Harrow School and Charterhouse School.
  The elite education of Eton College
  Eton College is the first school founded by the king in British history. Its creation, development and the formulation of various programs have received the meticulous care of Henry VI. It is said that the reason why Henry VI chose the school site in Eton City, Windsor Town, west London, was to facilitate him to overlook Eton College across the Thames from Windsor Palace, so as to maintain close contact with the school. In order to build a greater school than Winchester, he gave Eton a great deal, including 158 acres, not only to make it superior in wealth and institutional superiority to all other in the kingdom A similar grammar school, but also in name (author’s note: he wanted to name it “The King’s University”) privileges over all other grammar schools. Henry VI also gave detailed instructions on the construction of the school building, thus ensuring that Eton College could have a more majestic building than Winchester College.
  According to the school regulations formulated by Henry VI, the basic establishment of Eton College consists of a chairman of the board, seventy poor students, ten priest directors, sixteen deacons, sixteen choir boy singers, one teacher, An assistant teacher and thirteen poor and infirm. In 1441, Eton College began to enroll students, forming its original size. In addition to poor sponsored students, the school has also begun to enroll a small number of self-supporting students from powerful families. The former live in the school’s dormitory, while the self-funded students live in comfortable apartments near the school. After the 17th century, Eton College gradually began to increase the number of self-funded students while maintaining 70 students: 280 in 1700, 430 in 1800, 930 in 1890, and 1200 in 1985. , after which the number of people basically stabilized.

  From the early days of its establishment to before the “World War II”, Eton’s school system management was very strict, and its teaching organization and curriculum were mainly developed around classical subjects such as Latin and Greek. The school is divided into 6 teaching divisions, namely Area A (Grade 6 and 5), Area B (Advanced Level 5), Area C (Intermediate Level 5), Area D (Elementary Level 5), Area E (Preparatory Class) ) and District F (4th and 3rd grades). Each district is further divided into several classes, and the number of each class ranges from twenty to thirty-nine. However, Eaton’s class-based teaching is not the traditional fast-slow class teaching, but divides students into different classes under the corresponding subjects according to their grades in each subject. Typically, larger subjects such as English, mathematics, and French are divided into 14 classes, and smaller subjects are divided into correspondingly fewer classes. If they are placed in class 1, it means that the students have high talent and ability in the subject, and the teacher will give the students sufficient opportunities for independent learning. If they are assigned to class 14, it means that the students have poor talent and ability in the subject, and teachers will focus on the cultivation of students’ self-learning ability, and even need to provide individual tutoring. For a single student, he might be placed in class 14 in math and class 1 in English. Such class-based education will make students pay attention to their own strengths and weaknesses and promote all-round development; at the same time, it will also help students learn from each other’s strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses, and enhance friendship through mutual promotion.
  Because test scores determine placement and promotion, students place extra emphasis on semester and year exams. In order to move from one division to another, they must pass the Latin and Mathematics exams, and pass the Classics overall and in each subject. In addition, the school also clearly stipulates the age of self-funded students: the age of admission is 12 to 14 years old, and the number of students in the school is determined by the entrance examination; those who have not been promoted to the fourth grade before the age of 14, and have not been promoted to the preparatory class before the age of 15, Self-funded students who have not been promoted to the fifth grade before the age of 16, have not been promoted to the intermediate group before the age of 17, or have not been promoted to the senior group before the age of 18 are not allowed to continue to study in the school in principle; In principle, self-funded students who have reached the age of 19 on or before August 5 are not allowed to return to school after that.
  After the “World War II”, Eton College canceled the original area A, which used classical subjects as the main teaching content, and began to set up courses mainly based on modern subjects. Now, the school conducts teaching according to 5 divisions, from low to high, they are F, E, D, C and B. Generally, students study in each zone for one year, and move to a higher zone in September of the following year. In the first two divisions, students mainly take English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, French, Latin, Greek, theology, history, physical education and other relatively consistent broad courses, and with the help of teachers, develop comprehensive courses suitable for themselves. Develop a learning plan. Students at this stage are called non-professional students. They will form independent study habits within two years and continuously improve their awareness of social, moral, and sanitary aspects. After being promoted to District D, the students’ study subjects are further expanded, and subjects such as German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, geography, and ancient Greek and Roman civilization are all included in the curriculum planning. In addition to the broad courses mentioned above, students also take some practical and creative subjects in the first three divisions, such as Design and Technology, Design and Drafting, Design and Operation, Information Technology, English Writing, Fine Arts, Music, Drama and Performance technology, etc.
  For non-major students, an important measure of academic performance in the first three divisions is the ability to achieve high marks in the GCSE exams covering the subjects studied. Only with grades B to A+ in GCSE examinations in at least 5 subjects are they eligible to be promoted to Zone C to become professional students, and they can choose the corresponding subjects for further study according to their interests and talents. In the latter two divisions, students are also required to study around 7 to 9 main subjects, taking GCSE Advanced Supplementary Level and Advanced Level examinations in the respective subjects. In addition, in order to further broaden students’ horizons, the school has also introduced a series of new elective subjects, including ancient history, economics, government and political science, art history, music technology and advanced supplementary level sports studies. After two years of professional study, most Eaton students can make clear plans for their future career development, and at the same time meet the comprehensive assessment standards in terms of professionalism, practicality and creativity, which are valued by top universities in the UK such as Oxford and Cambridge. According to statistics, from 1992 to 2001, about 250 students graduated from Eton College each year. Among them, about 30% of students enter Oxford and Cambridge, and about 65% of students enter other prestigious schools in the UK or foreign universities. After entering the new century, Eton College still maintains a university entrance rate far ahead of other public schools of its kind, and its unique education system continues to attract outstanding students from the UK and around the world.
  Chinese students at Eton
  As Eton gradually opens its doors to the world, Chinese students also begin to appear on Eton’s ancient campus. Judging from the information currently available to the author, the first Chinese student in Eaton’s history was Hua Tian who entered Eaton in 2003. Although it is reported that seven Chinese students have come to Eaton to study so far, only four of them have been able to confirm their names, namely Hua Tian, ​​Hua Ming, Wu Yujiang and Wu Bi. Due to space limitations, the following will focus on the process of the well-known Hua Tian and Wu Bi enrolling in Eaton.
  Hua Tian and Wu Bi are both from Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. Hua Tian was born in Scotland in 1989 and is of mixed Chinese and British blood (mother is British); Wu Bi was born in Guangzhou in 1996 and is of complete Chinese blood. Huatian is familiar to domestic readers, not directly from his Eaton background, but because of his participation in two major sports events in China in recent years: first, representing the Chinese equestrian team during the 2008 Beijing Olympics; second, In 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games served as the image ambassador. Wu Bi is famous because he became the first Chinese student to receive a scholarship in the 2009 Eaton entrance examination. With the help of the wide spread of the media, the outstanding performance of these two Chinese teenagers has greatly aroused people’s strong interest in Eton College, and people began to think about what their educational history can provide for the rising craze of overseas students studying abroad. and revelation.
  Generally, to enter Eton College, students must go through four stages: admission application, IQ test, pre-selection test and entrance test. For a long time, Eaton has adopted the practice of “early booking” in admission applications: British noble families apply to Eaton shortly after the birth of the boy, so that the boy’s name will appear on the “long list” of Eaton, to ensure that they have the opportunity to get the entrance examination at the age of 13. Because Huatian’s mother is of British noble blood, Huatian’s admission application naturally follows the tradition of “booking in advance”. Wu Bi applied much later. He didn’t hear his mother’s friend talking about Eton until he was 9 years old, and when he was 10 years old, he completed a series of tedious application procedures with the help of his mother.
  In the three stages after the admission application, Hua Tian and Wu Bi have basically similar development paths. At the age of 10, Eton College asked their primary school to issue a report on their IQ. After passing the IQ test, they were soon required to take an Eaton pre-selection test. The pre-selection test is divided into two parts: written test and interview. The written test lasts for one hour and focuses on examining students’ logical thinking ability and spatial imagination. The question types are mainly graphics, mathematics and logic. Students answer questions on the computer, and the system will randomly give questions. Each question has a fixed answering time, ranging from 6 seconds to 30 seconds. This requires students to answer as many questions as possible within a limited time, but also to achieve a higher rate of correctness. The interview lasts 15 to 20 minutes, and there will be a one-on-one test by specialized teachers, usually through question-and-answer methods to examine students’ language application ability and independent thinking ability. After passing the preliminaries, Eton College suggested that Hua Tian and Wu Bi go to a local private primary school in the UK accompanied by their parents. At the age of 13, they officially took the Eaton entrance examination. Hua Tian was admitted to Eaton with a perfect score in Latin, and Wu Bi was awarded the King Scholarship with an excellent score of fifth overall.
  After five years of Eton’s experience, Huatian has grown into an excellent knight in the top international equestrian events. In 2009, he was elected as the first best rider in the history of the International Equestrian Federation at the age of 21, and was successfully selected into the “Notable Eaton Alumni” list. In 2010, he was elected ambassador of the International Equestrian Federation. In 2012, he became the only Chinese equestrian to qualify for the equestrian event of the London Olympics, and he also began to serve as the ambassador for VisitBritain’s new marketing campaign. For Wu Bi, who has just entered the stage of Eaton’s professional study, he needs to continue to maintain the same courage and perseverance as Huatian, and strive to grow into another key node in the history of Eaton’s relationship with China.

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