LETTER : School lesson

IF THE addressee of your letter to a new boy at Eton saw your advice, he should treat it with healthy scepticism ("An open letter to William", Real Life, 3 September). Your writer's schooldays ended, we are told, in the early 1980s. I fear that they should have lasted rather longer.

Credit where it is due. He was clearly taught geography at school, judging correctly the distance from Eton to Gordonstoun. Otherwise, I am at a loss to know what else he learnt - not architecture, Gordonstoun bears no resemblance to Colditz.

Nor is there evidence that he studied something practical, and certainly not plumbing. The showers at Gordonstoun are as hot as may be required and taken after a variety of pursuits, but not compulsory morning runs. Likewise general knowledge - had he a smidgen of this he would know that the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme has as much to do with service to the community and the development of skill and care as with outdoor pursuits.Despite these shortcomings he has flourished - presumably because he went to an excellent school which, in common with Gordonstoun, is genuinely international in outlook and gives opportunities for young people to develop as individuals.

Finally, two principles that I offer to those at Gordonstoun. The first is train your mind to tell the difference between what is sense and what is not. To do that you must get the facts straight. The second is to have the courage of your convictions and say what you believe in openly. I warmly invite your anonymous writer to visit us. He would be impressed.

Mark Pyper

Headmaster, Gordonstoun School, Elgin, Moray