(David Montgomery/Getty Images)

Fair cop

When he gave you a punishment he’d ask if you agreed it was fair

Sir Eric Anderson KT 1936-2020

Sir Eric Anderson was Head Master of Eton 1980-1994, then Provost, and teacher of three prime ministers. Guy Walters recalls a stern and awe-inspiring figure while Graham Stewart asked colleagues, friends and former pupils, including Tony Blair, for their memories of a hugely influential educator


As a schoolboy, I was a bit spirited, so got to know the Head Master well. The quote from him that I always remember is, “Pockney, you’re naughty but you’re not malicious.” He understood.

And he knew where the line was. When he gave you a punishment he’d ask you if you agreed that it was fair. He gave the boy the chance to defend himself. Eric always saw both sides of the story. I remember not so much negotiating with him but fighting my corner. As a result, he reduced the sentence. He wanted to see what the boy was made of and how the boy perceived the situation. I will be forever grateful to him. He was a top man.

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