Old boys banned from Gordonstoun

TWO former Gordonstoun pupils have been banned from the exclusive school over a controversial magazine article on the headmaster’s daughter.

Earlier this year, Sarah Pyper, 16, the daughter of the headmaster, Mark Pyper, admitted drinking on the grounds of the school near Elgin, Morayshire, where members of the Royal Family were educated.

Her father banned Sarah and a friend from taking part in all social activities for the following two weeks.

Now, two old boys have been brought to book for a front-page article in the unofficial magazine, Bireme, produced by former pupils social club, the Gordonstoun Association, and sent to 4,000 people around the world.

Mr Pyper was said to be furious at the article, which was headlined: "Pyper vs Pyper - head suspends own daughter in drunken scandal."

A story inside made references to Sarah’s drinking with comments about her being "RUM-bled" and hoping it would not be a "hang-over" affecting her future.

The school responded by banning Bruce Jacobs, the magazine’s editor, and Major Ian Dalzel Job, the chairman of the Gordonstoun Association, from the school grounds and all associated events.

Mr Jacobs, 28, a telecoms executive living in Surrey, said he did not intend to cause offence.

"The establishment at the school has reacted with fury and have banned both me and Major Dalzel-Job from the school," he said. "They haven’t given either of us an official reason but they did mention the article in the Bireme.

"The ironic thing is that the whole time I was at Gordonstoun I couldn’t wait to get away and now they’ve banned me 12 years after I left. This whole situation is just astonishing."

Mr Jacobs said he copied the story from newspaper reports and didn’t say anything new. He claimed there was no anti-Gordonstoun sentiment in the magazine or article.

Major Dalzel Job, 56, who was at Gordonstoun at the same time as the Prince of Wales in the 1960s, said: "This whole thing has come as a bit of a surprise. But I think the school is pretty angry about the front of the magazine and the story.

"I just want to get this sorted out as quickly as possible, but I have stood by the editor. Nevertheless, I was a bit shocked."

Both the major and Mr Jacobs are still waiting to speak to officials at the school because they have only been informed of their banned status by letter.

Both men have now launched a poll on the Gordonstoun Association website to gauge members’ opinions on the article. Major Dalzel Job, who lives in semi-retirement in Rosyth, Fife, after leaving the army, added: "Almost all of the responses have been positive. And I have written to the headmaster to try and get myself and Mr Jacobs reinstated."

Sir James Weatherhall, the chairman of the board of governors at Gordonstoun, expressed his unhappiness in a letter sent out to all 4,000 members of the association in which he emphasised it is an independent organisation.

He said: "This magazine may have been intended to be a humorous glance at school life or it may have come across as something different. Either way, it does not convey the views and policies of the school."

A spokesman for the headmaster refused to comment, but said the letter sent out by Sir James Weatherhall summed up the views of the school.

All of the royals who attended Gordonstoun are members of the Gordonstoun Association. This means the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were all sent a copy of the controversial edition of the Bireme.

Princess Anne’s children, Peter and Zara Phillips, will also have received a copy. Other FPs include Sir Sean Connery’s son, Jason, Balthazar Getty - grandson of billionaire John-Paul Getty - and Joe "Zowie Bowie" Jones, son of David Bowie.

Gordonstoun was famously described as "hell" and a "prison" by Prince Charles, who suffered from relentless bullying and cold-shower initiation ceremonies, the memories of which have haunted him ever since.

He said he was caged naked in a wicker fish-basket and left under a cold shower until he was rescued by a house-master.

Mark Pyper has come under fire for his leadership, and there were calls from parents for his resignation amid claims that he had condoned excessive drinking and swearing in a speech shortly after the 11 September attacks in the US.

The school has also had severe financial problems. In May 2000, it was forced to re-mortgage following a financial crisis - and it was said to be 1.7m in the red this July after losses of 540,000 in the previous year. It is also facing action from a former pupil over alleged anti-Yugoslavian racism after his expulsion.