Harrow County School for Boys

Power with Pain

A traditional lecture.

On your first day at school your form-master tells you that everything will be all right provided that you play by the rules.

The rules for first-formers are quite simple "Be kind and considerate to all above you!"  Just because, on the very first day, someone tripped you up, accused you of bumping into him, and later handed out 100 lines, do not go up to him three days later and say "Yarboosucks, I know you're only a wet third-former and therefore not empowered to give lines."  This is not tactful.  "Do not become 'known'!"  Being known is not recommended in the first year.  the solution involves not being form captain as they are charged with all the offences of the form and become marked for life.  It is generally advisable either to hide or to be a doormat for seniors.  "Never go into the Inner Quad!"  Since this tarmac desert has only one exit it provides a chance for the sadists to block the door and massacre you.  "Never tell a fifth-former that you were first in the Tuck Shop queue."  This is absolutely essential as you may be unable to extricate yourself from the pile of dustbins and broken chairs into which you will be thrown.

In the second year it is vitally necessary to become "known."  Be top of your form, form captain, and a Scout.  State, preferably in front of a biology class, that becoming a cadet is against your principles.  Also, faint in morning assembly, almost drown in the swimming-pool, and get in with the mob-leaders of the year ahead.  These regrettable specimens will one day run the school, and it is better to know them now than run into them when they hold anything more than physical power.

In the third year consolidate your position.  Go to camps in order to learn how to make bombs and torture people.  Specialise in the Arts whilst maintaining a cynical friendship with the scientists.  Moreover join all possible societies and take an active part in them.  Be bottom of the highest form.

The next year it is desirable to get into the "C" stream.  Here you can still be in the top sets for the subjects at which you excel, while remaining somewhat of a dilettante in all others.  In this way you will not be forced into a state of nervous exhaustion at the thought of ten G.C.E.s at the grand old age of 14, and you will in contrast have the advantage of learning all the excuses necessary for the evasion of homework.

The fifth-form is the time for the status-seeker not only to cover himself with academic glory by attempting as many G.C.E.s as possible, but also to participate in the extra-mural activities of the school.  Those who accuse you of crawling are likely to leave within a year.  It is undoubtedly the hardest year for anyone, but should you survive your year of penance, mob-riots and prefect-baiting and enter the Sixth, the change is remarkable.

The Lower Sixth is a riot of people looking for culture and sophistication, mostly in the Library.  It should be noted that although this is virtually an exam-free year it is advisable to pass all remaining "O" Levels, as the lack of these in the busy Advanced Sixth year is embarrassing.  By now you are lectured rather than taught.  Minor eccentricities in dress are overlooked.  You become a sergeant, a senior patrol leader, and at last, a prefect, or even a senior prefect.  But this is not quite all.  The final step requires courage.  Fail one of your "A" Levels, for this means that you are halted just enough for the others in your year to leave.  Next term you are the only senior prefect left, and as the new boys arrive you think, "Congratulations - Head Boy."

                                                                                    R. Garratt.

from Gaytonian 1963

return HOME