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Two leading independent schools allow teenage pupils to drink alcohol at on-site nightclubs, it has emerged.
Rugby School and Ampleforth College, a Catholic school with an adjoining monastery in North Yorkshire, both allow students to drink at the venues from the age of 16.
They hope that by teaching the teenagers how to drink in moderation and under supervision, they will foster sensible habits and prevent them from going off the rails, according to The Times.

This was going on 35 years ago. I know damn well it was too, I used to run the damn bar.

41 thoughts on “And?”

  1. Yah 6th formers at my old school had a bar when I was there early 90s. Were allowed 2 or 3 beers I think.

  2. Yeah. And Eton had Tap: you could drink from the age of 16, provided you were in Lower or Upper Sixth (C or B block). But you were (theoretically) limited to two beers in a session.

    They are private members clubs. Big deal.


  3. Yeah, so what? The legal drinking age at home with adult supervision is five. These are boarding schools, therefore “home” with the school legally their parents while they are there.

  4. Beer at Sunday lunch at Winchester in the ’70s (and an onsite brewery in times gone by, now a library). Sounds like Telegraph writers and editors didn’t go to “leading independent schools”.

  5. Wellington College also had the same deal when I was there in the 90s. Upper VI only, one evening a week IIRC, no more than 2 beers.

    Don’t know if it’s still done.

  6. Devil’s Kitchen: Eton had Tap

    and Queen’s Eyot which was more relaxed both as to age and the amount that could be imbibed.

  7. The rule at my boarding school was that you could go to town pubs once in the 6th Form (so from 16, if the landlord would let you), but smoking was frowned on regardless of whether you were legal or not.

    Of course, when I say “rule”, nothing was ever said officially.

  8. And many years before, at Charterhouse, the under-age Robert Graves could have a servant bring him drinks.

    As I never tire of pointing out, children grow up much more slowly these days. “Goodbye To All That” is possibly the definitive proof.

  9. When I was at Ampleforth (’70’s) sixth formers could drink a bottle of beer with their lunch at the weekend and where free to visit pubs. In addition – Oh, what free and happy days – they were allowed to smoke in their rooms.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    When I joined the Army as at 15 we were allowed to drink under age when supervised but not the NAAFI until 18.

    There was a well known pub in Harrogate which everyone knew served under age squaddies, the civilian and military police kept a close eye on it and any trouble was quickly stopped. At the time most towns had at least one pub that was known to serve under age but the landlord usually had a reputation for being strict about how much alcohol he would serve, and wouldn’t stand for drunk and rowdy behaviour. It was usually tolerated by the police as long as nothing happened.

    Everyone understood It was a way of bringing young men in to the real world whilst at the same time keeping an eye on them.

  11. Ellesmere (minor public school in Shropshire) had a 6th form bar when I attended in the 80s.

    We got so trolleyed they had to introduce a quota system with tokens. IIRC 5 pints per night Sat and Sun, def not Fri as this might affect sporting performance on Sat. A good academy for the more serious drinking (and for me less serious rugby) to be enjoyed at university.

  12. jgh,

    It’s not that law they’re using. The licensing act allows 16 year olds to be served beer, wine or cider if they are bought it by an adult and having a meal with it. This is completely legal, so the press can fuck off.

    I’ve been offering my kids wine since they were teenagers. All sorts of stuff, from pinots to chardonnays. It’s about normalisation, that wine is a normal thing to have. The worst boozers I knew as teenagers were the kids who saw it as a rebellious thing to do.

  13. Wonderful! Practically the entire cast of the Tim Worstall Right-wing Minstrels out themselves as public-school twits . Their State school co-conspirators on here (to bring down the British post-war state) must be so proud!!

  14. “Twits” is a bit harsh, given that children don’t actually make these choices.

    Of course, in my day it was the Grammar schools that had the cache. A few, such as Eton and Harrow, were something else, but that was a different planet entirely.

    The reborn private school sector owes a massive debt of gratitude to Labour. Public schoolchildren can even be PM these days.

  15. @ DBC Reed
    Even in my day, boys had to pass an exam to get into a Public School. Twits didn’t.
    In my school, the top half of each year took ‘O’ levels at 15 (except for the top scholar who took them at 14, except in my year he took them at 13) a year younger than boys in Grammar School. The bottom half matched Grammar School ages but averaged better results.
    If you weren’t such a twit, you might think before asking for a put-down.

  16. If the government would only print more money, everyone could go to public school. The inflationary risk, though imaginary, could be negated via an LVT.

  17. Those of us that we’re allowed to drink from 15/16 occasionally and under supervision, I count the turned blind eye to a local that served underage as long as sensible as a form of supervision, usually turned out to be much more sensible about drinking than those that werent allowed a drop until 18

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    DBC Reed – “Wonderful! Practically the entire cast of the Tim Worstall Right-wing Minstrels out themselves as public-school twits . Their State school co-conspirators on here (to bring down the British post-war state) must be so proud!!”

    Well I not only went to a State-run school [1], I went to a State-run Comprehensive school. Which, if nothing else, taught me 1. not everyone who goes to a public school is a twit, 2. not every twit goes to a public school, and 3. the sooner the state-run system is dismantled the better.

    It wasn’t a bad school and it was not run by bad people. It was just very boring.

    However all that misses the point. This is a blog where the typical poster is a wealthy ex-pat. Successful people (and me). They went to public schools because the state schools are betraying bright young children and denying them the chance to have a decent life. Your comment is a condemnation of schools like mine.

    [1] or a minimum security Day Care centre to be more accurate.

  19. And for those of us who missed out on the joys or otherwise of public schooling there was drinking in the local pub. Rather ironically the only time I was asked for ID in there was when I popped in for a drink with a friend during Easter break from uni.

  20. DBC,

    > Practically the entire cast…

    Many of us didn’t feel the need to contribute since we didn’t attend boarding school. In statistical terms it’s called self-selection bias. But you don’t let statistics get in the way of your argument. Ergo you must be a Guardian journalist or a politician.

  21. Comprehensive school all the way for me, it wasn’t bad in fairness and we had some good teachers.
    One thing about drinking is that different places have different normals, an Irish friend in college had a totally different view of what constitutes a quiet drink to most people.

  22. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew M – “But you don’t let statistics get in the way of your argument. Ergo you must be a Guardian journalist or a politician.”

    Speaking of which, it seems Guru Josh has just killed himself. So I am thinking. A would-be musician, born in the Channel Islands. Drug-addled. Confused thinking.

    Anyone seen Arnald lately?

    Although in fairness to the Guru, he did have one pretty good hit. A sort of low-alcohol alcopop of the pop world. Nice saxaphone. So probably not Arnald. A bit sad it turned out not to be the time for the Guru though.

  23. At Cranleigh in the 80’s we had the Buttery. It was supervised but if you were crafty you could still get bladdered. Once you turned 18 you got your ’18 card’ which meant you were OK to visit a few local places that had an agreement with the school to keep an eye on you and make sure you didn’t act like too much of a tit. Of course the surreptitious sneaking out to illicit speakeasies also went on (Guildford was fairly near on the bus and none of the landlords gave a fuck how old you were. Got plastered on Greene King IPA one night aged 15 and had to sneak back in, avoiding prowling housemaster.)

    We had a gang of American high school kids over on an exchange trip once, so we took them to the Buttery and got them sorted. The idea that you could drink not only before 21 but at school was so completely stunning to them that I thought several were going to suffer an aneurysm.

    Reed, do you have to be a chippy socially inadequate cunt the whole time? No-one cares if anyone went to public school or not, so why do you?

  24. I was at a catholic church school – but I think the state was footing most of the bill. But, anyways, fuck all you private-school-toffs and comprehensive-scum-heathens.

    Our sixth-form christmas parties were legendary, and the booze flowed liberally. They were off-site, and not officially organised by the school, but most of the younger element of the teaching staff would be there.

  25. I attended a grammar school survivor of the comprehensive destruction of the state education system.

    Not much drinking at school that I recall, but my parents started me drinking small amounts of home-brew wine with meals from before I can remember.

  26. @J77
    Many a twit did pass Common Entrance as failure was an “exceptional “event (see Wikipedia).There was no common marking scheme and schools passed all they liked. ( I don’t know why I’m putting this in past tense but it seems like a bygone custom).
    On a personal note I am surprised to learn you had a public school “education”: you seem so much better informed in comparison with the rest of the right-wing rabble!
    Remember: 90% of them think that banks creating money is a nasty rumour(like sex to Victorian maidens) and that LVT is definitively left-wing.
    BTW Liam Halligan has come out in the Telegraph in favour of a state controlled land development corporation to deal with the UK land supply problem inflating house prices. This is well to the left of LVT! (I support this Telegraph renegade of course)

  27. @ DBC Reed
    Since I knew several boys who failed Common Entrance, I am of the opinion that, while relatively unusual, in that boys were not usually entered for exams that they were expected to fail (well, except Scripture aka “Religious Knowledge” ‘O’ level), it was not “exceptional”. Some of these were capable of Grammar School.
    Your ignorance is comparable to your arrogance.
    Oh, on reading Wikipedia I see that it makes my point! So your claim that twits pass CE is not down to ignorance but to selective misinterpretation.
    FYI there were a very small number of kids at my prep school who were not very bright – so they didn’t go to Public School. There were some private sector fee-paying schools which didn’t require kids to pass Common Entrance but the least intelligent went therefrom into the state system which had no bottom level of ability.
    “Schools passed all they liked” – either that is a tautology in thaty the school accepted the ones it liked best or a piece of left-wing idiocy. No school could pass more candidates than it had places for. Duh!

  28. @J 77
    “Selective misinterpretation?” Wikipedia in fact says ” In practice the CE only rarely determines admission and failure should be an exceptional event”.
    “There is no standardisation in marking and every senior school has its own mark scheme and own ‘pass’ threshold”.

  29. @ DBC Reed
    Yes, the remainder of the paragraph is “It is in the interests of neither the schools nor the pupil for a candidate to either be admitted to a ‘too-demanding’ school, or to fail an exam. Prep schools should be able to assess and report their candidates’ prospects accurately. Parents should be rightly disappointed if a prep school advises that a pupil can attempt Common Entrance to an inappropriate school, or if a public school allows an excessive number of candidates to sit the exam.”
    The Common Entrance exam is a means of objectively checking the claims that the child is sufficiently academically able to cope with the Public School that his parents have chosen for him/her.

    Since each school marks its own papers, of course every Public School (where they get “senior school” from?) has is own marks system – that 99+% of them are identical for the maths. Latin and French papers and 90+% are identical for English, History, Geography etc … doesn’t stop it being the choice of the school. I suppose the Monbiot/Reed Academy for politically correct young persons of unspecified gender could give marks for getting sums wrong, but the most frequent difference is between marking for style and substance.
    Each school sets its own pass mark because the lower threshold for a school like Winchester or Westminster or St Paul’s Girls was higher than St. Bees which had higher demands for physical hardiness – one needed to be well above-average to keep up with the D stream in Winchester and accepting a boy with an IQ of 110 would be an utter waste of time and money. [OK I don’t know what the pass marks are or were and I never took CE but I *do* understand the common sense behind common entrance.]

  30. “Each school sets its own pass mark because the lower threshold for a school like Winchester.….” Winchester has never used Common Entrance, but has its own much harder exams and an even harder scholarship exam. Scholars were expected to pass a few O-levels in their first term and the rest at the end of the first year. My contemporaries in my boarding house include a few Oxbridge and Ivy league professors, a dozen or so Cambridge firsts in Maths, a smattering of QC’s and judges, partners in leading law and accounting firms and the governor of the Falkland Islands. And those are just the ones I know about. Hardly idiots. Well, apart from Seumas Milne.

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