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King's School, Gloucester

1072 Abbot Serlo arrives to shake up a declining community first founded in 1068
1541 the Commissioners of Henry VIII reorganise what is now the King's School
1969-80 Jon and I do not leave the school unchanged, either

It's all thanks to my Aunt Ethel, who was disappointed in love and took to business instead. It rankles to this day that she left the bulk of her estate to the Christian Scientists, not because of the money but because if she hadn't clung to their peculiar tenets and refused to consult a doctor she might well have lived longer. Water under the bridge, I suppose. Anyway, she did leave each of us a small legacy; my parents added theirs and mine together and sent me to King's.

Don't start telling me it's unfair a decent education now seems something out of the ordinary. I don't feel any superiority because of the accident of where I went to school, either, just profoundly grateful for the chance. Small classes, a good mix of people – boys whose parents were abroad with the Armed Forces, boys whose parents had farms or businesses locally, Asians from East African families – and enthusiastic teachers. No sign, so far as I can remember, of Hooray Henries in the making or 'unhealthy' particular friendships in the boarding-houses.

My time at King's changed me in two very visible ways: that was where I started playing the recorder again, chivvied into it by the music master when the school was involved in a performance of Noyes Fludde, and that was where I started dancing. And it's probably thanks to my (continuing) friendship with Rod Warwick that I ever had the idea of getting a motor-bike. Invisible changes would obviously be harder to detect, but a good general education is an inestimable benefit to any child. Accepting differences without either ignoring them or elaborating on them is also an approach worth handing on.

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