My schooldays: Will Young, singer

‘The great thing is that I was taught manners’


Will Young, the singer who hit the headlines in 2002 by winning the inaugural ‘Pop Idol’ TV talent show attended Horris Hill prep school, Wellington College and d’Overbroeck’s tutorial college. He went on to read politics at the University of Exeter, graduating with a 2:2 Honours.

I remember when I started working at Sony publishing, before I went to Pop Idol, that I got the piss taken out of me for being a public-school boy, and I remember feeling ashamed. There’s definitely that public-school guilt. I’m the posh boy in the office and people are commenting on my loafers, or whatever. I think that if you’re from that background, there’s this notion that you’re privileged and people think you’re up yourself and that everything’s been given to you on a plate.

It was taught in independent schools that you are privileged, but this was also tinged with a hint of snobbery. I remember writing a letter at prep school that read: “I must pass common entrance to take me to public school, otherwise I’ll be going to state school and everyone will be very disappointed.” State school wasn’t an option. It would have been devastating for me. There was a fear of state schools that came perhaps from a sense of feeling better than others. What was instilled in you was the sense that people were more unruly in state schools and not as lucky as we were.

I’m talking about prep schools here, at the age when you didn’t know any different, and I think it did go on in public school as well because we would have fights with the schools in town. That was a regular thing actually. They’ve gone on for years, fights between the private school and local comprehensive.

One benefit [of a state school] would have been not boarding. I’d have liked to have been at home a bit more. I think I would have learnt a bit more about life. There’s a difference between being 16 and hanging out with your friends in the local town and drinking cider, and being 16 having to be in bed on a Saturday night by 10pm and drinking half a bottle of red wine. I think I’d have developed a lot more, and my mind would have been a bit broader if I’d gone to state school.

If I hadn’t been at a boarding school I’d probably have become sexual earlier on, but because I was at a predominantly-boys school, luckily some sense of self-preservation kicked in. I thought to myself: it’s not the time to be announcing you’re gay.

People will probably get the impression that I didn’t like boarding school, but I actually had a great time there. One of the things I was grateful for is that we got to do a lot of activities at school. We had our own sports centre, a massive pool, double gymnasium, two basketball courts and a squash court. Wellington also had very beautiful grounds and buildings. From a very young age I appreciated that.

What was great about private school for me is that we were taught the importance of manners, and that is something that has never left me (hopefully). I am not implying that state schools don’t teach manners but traditional values and basic decency were definitely promoted – and that has been invaluable to me as an adult.

Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Education Recruitment Consultant- Learning Support

£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...

Supply Teachers Needed in Bungay

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...

Year 6 Teacher

£111 - £163 per day + £111 - £163 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: The posi...

Experienced Creche Assistant - Lambeth - September 2014

£64 - £69 per day + Competitive London rates of pay : Randstad Education Group...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star