Can you imagine a school where Morris dancing, old-fashioned chivalry, Gregorian chanting and how to skin and cook a rabbit all feature on the curriculum? Ferdi McDermott can and he's risked his family's fortune of one and a half million pounds on achieving his dream by setting up an ultra-traditional English boarding school in the middle of rural France. Ferdi believes the way to solve Britain's educational crisis is to turn the clock back and teach subjects and values from a bygone age. As a result, boy scout war games, boxing and hunting are just some of the unusual activities on offer at Chavagnes International College near Nantes in France.
The Catholic school for boys aged 9 to 18 is a culture shock for all who arrive. As well as partaking in bizarre activities, the boys live, medieval-style, in community with teachers and are taught in a rigorously old fashioned way. TV, and private access to the internet are banned; CD players and iPods are confiscated on weekdays. As well as daily mass, prayers must be sung in Latin before and after each meal – and the boys make a weekly confession. Clearly such old fashioned discipline and compulsory worship appeals to some British parents – but despite the cheap prices Ferdi is charging – the idea of sending your children to a boarding school in another country, hundreds of miles from home, hasn't caught on as he hoped it might. Pupil numbers are dropping and his school may be forced to close.... Read more.