Watching Britain’s Olympic rowers haul in the medals, it should be obvious why so many of the athletes in Team GB were privately educated. After all, the purpose-built lake they’re competing on – Eton Dorney – is owned by Eton College, the most famous public school in the world.
What comprehensive can hope to rival a sports facility of that quality? The Eton Rowing Centre took 10 years to build and cost £17 million. You can stick up a new secondary school for less than that. And remember, Eton doesn’t just have a rowing lake. It has playing fields, astro-turf pitches, an athletics centre… you name it.
Eton isn’t unusual in this respect, either. The first time I ever set foot in a public school was to visit the boathouse at St Paul’s Boys in Hammersmith. The thing that struck me most was the sheer size of it. I’m not exaggerating when I say the boathouse took up more space than the whole of my inner-city comprehensive. (To read more, click here.)