I went to a mixed comprehensive school before going to KEGS in 6th form. Many of the stories about students and parties are similar enough to things experienced at my mixed comp school, so unfortunately this is a much broader issue than just KEGS. However I think the real problem is with the adults in the school whose responsibility is supposed to be to shape students into responsible and successful adults.
When everyone in a school is gifted, there can be an amount of laziness from the teachers and I think they forget that duty to shape responsible adults. I have friends who are teachers elsewhere and, for them, this is the most important thing above the grades received. There should definitely be a stronger focus on teaching the boys respect for all others, whether that be based on differences in gender, sexuality, race, ability, religion or anything else. When we leave school and go to the real world grades are far less important than social skills, but that is definitely not a perspective taught at Kegs. My brother went to Kegs for all of secondary school and I know that he would be too shy to be one to harass girls, but instead he had such poor social skills that he struggled to function at university and work despite despite his good grades.
Some of the boys do have a certain amount of arrogance, which I think the teachers mistake for confidence but really just makes them twats. This arrogance comes from being at a high performing school, being segregated from girls, and there also being a lot of wealth in the school. There is some diversity in wealth but nothing like my prior comp school. Having a very narrow demographic in terms of gender, socio-economic status and privilege makes it a difficult place to develop empathy or humility, and so even more responsibility should be put on the teachers. The benefit I’ve taken from this is knowing better how to understand and work with arrogant twats when I come across them at work, but it’s also disturbing that Kegs is developing them and enabling them to enter some of the top professions in the UK.
We’ve already mentioned the slave auction and transvestite netball which must have been supported by adult staff. Another example is in the old sixth form centre where they had a ‘dick wall’ where they drew all different shaped dicks. They then drew a huge vagina in the middle and labelled it with my friends name. There is no way that teachers couldn’t have seen this, yet it wasn’t commented on so there is no development of accountability and social awareness.
More than 10 years on from leaving Kegs some of the boys in my year are still good friends which is great. What is weird though is their obsession with talking about school, to the extent that in lockdown they set up a regular kegs quiz including questions about kegs couples, old rumours, and other students based on what they’ve found out about them on LinkedIn or Facebook. I personally feel really uncomfortable knowing they do that and it’s another demonstration of lack of empathy or social skills. We’re in our 30s now and this unhealthy obsession with the school does make it quite cult like.
Overall, this definitely isn’t the behaviour of all boys in kegs and it also isn’t unique to kegs. However there is definitely a toxic combination of gender segregation, privilege and lazy teachers that minimises the development of empathy and appropriate social functionality. I do wonder how that manifests in later life.