The first day of lessons at Yarnton Manor saw students hit the ground running, and face up to some of the more difficult questions and issues of their chosen subjects. For example, those on the Law School Preparation programme considered the weight and application of the thin skull rule.
The rule is a well-established legal doctrine that states that a defendant in a criminal or tort case must “take his victim as he finds them”; the example suggested by the name is of a defendant who hits a victim over the head, not knowing that their skull is thinner than usual and therefore more damaged by the blow. The thin skull rule takes into account social and economic factors that might make a victim more susceptible to injury, as well as physical ones.
When lessons were done for the day, our lucky students headed into Oxford for a tour of the city, visiting such sights as the Sheldonian Theatre, the various buildings of the Bodleian Library, and the Bridge of Sighs. The Radcliffe Camera, a free-standing reading room of the Bodleian in the centre of Radcliffe Square, drew particular interest; students learned that it was England’s first circular library, and that its benefactor John Radcliffe (c.1650 – 1714) matriculated at the University of Oxford at age thirteen, becoming a fellow at age 18―the age at which, nowadays, students start university.
Back at Yarnton Manor, it was time for students really to put their wits to the test as they competed in teams to answer the wide-ranging and in-depth questions of the ORA Quiz. Students were adept at naming the only woman to have won multiple Nobel Prizes (Marie Curie), the ship on which Charles Darwin travelled the coastline of South America (HMS Beagle), and the number of hearts of a single octopus (three).