Thinking Back to Charles' Education Has Raised Questions about Self-Discipline; Yousay IN YOUR OPINION

Article excerpt

YOUR more elderly readers will remember that, when the Prince of Wales was a boy, there was discussion among newspapers and common folk about the decision of his father, Prince Philip, to send him to Gordonstoun School in Scotland, which was notable for a curriculum aimed at developing character in children.

Some discussion strayed to boarding schools and the emotional consequences of early separation from one's family, but mostly it centred upon the influence of "the great outdoors", "self-reliance", "team spirit" and such phrases, and whether this particular child would benefit from these experiences which his father presumably valued.

The discussion at the time, as I remember, never seemed to concern itself with the concept itself, as an educational tool for all children, which might deliver proven results, or benefit from some further research. It only talked of one boy.

In recent years I have attempted to engage some of my elderly friends, who must recollect that past debate, to ask them if they believe that outdoor activities are a valuable educational tool which might develop character in all our children (most especially when some of my friends insist that modern children are lacking in that department).

To my astonishment, my friends have no interest whatsoever in discussing the matter. Not a word.

The culture has changed: where ordinary citizens used to discuss in normal conversation matters outside the scope of their own lives, that is now unusual. …