A few months ago, I spoke to Tony Little about his teaching career and his experiences at the helm of Eton College. Arguably the most interesting part of this interview is where we discuss what it is that makes Eton’s boys so successful. Eton has produced an extraordinary number of the great and good of this country, including 19 Prime Ministers, Princes William and Harry, Boris Johnson, John Maynard Keynes and Ranulph Fiennes to name a few. For Tony, himself an Old Etonian, self-reliance, an ability to get things done, the sense of being part of a great institution, and a passion for excellence, are four reasons why Etonians are high achievers.
“You have young men, in the main, who are the kind of people who roll up their sleeves and get things done, with an attitude that “I can change the world”. Sometimes they think too much that they can change the world. But it is a good starting point. I would sum it up by saying this: schools should enable young people to have a true sense of self worth, because if they have that, then they can start being of use both to themselves and to society.”