I did my A levels at a technical college. No one knew whether anyone there had ever gone to Oxford. When I read about Hertford’s scheme for state schools I wrote seeking guidance. Neil Tanner personally took the trouble to send an encouraging reply. I will never forget waiting on a stone staircase for the interviews to begin, with no idea what to expect. The PPE tutors John Torrance, Roger Van Noorden and Richard Malpas saw something in this anxious schoolboy in a borrowed suit, and opened the door to a world of intellectual adventure, sleepless nights of study, and the sheer joy of learning. A decade later I returned to Hertford to teach Politics. Old tutors became new colleagues. It was a privilege to work with them, especially during admissions, the miracle of birth, the wheel turning full circle. After working in diplomacy and energy I now teach in Southeast Asia. Education here is traditionally passive, rote and deferential – a world apart from the Oxford tutorial. So now we learn to reason, argue, explore questions together. There is no greater joy than seeing young minds light up, especially the least privileged ones. It all began with the Tanner Scheme, on that chilly staircase, when the switch-points of my life shifted forever. It has made all the difference.