Older people should stop calling young people over-sensitive “snowflakes” because they have had to endure so many hardships, the high master of St Paul’s School was due to say today (Mon).

Sally-Anne Huang will tell the HMC virtual annual conference that the events of 2020 may create a divide between generations, The Guardian reports.

Huang, the new chair of the HMC, will say: “I for one am tired of hearing the young described as snowflakes. In this country I cannot think of a group of young people, out of war time, of whom more has been asked or from whom more has been taken than those in our nation’s schools in 2020.

“Anyone who, like me, was with 18-year-olds in March when they suddenly learnt that not just their chance to prove themselves in exams, but also all those joyous rites of passage at the end of their school days had been taken from them – anyone who saw them pick themselves up, move on, adapt, they would not call them snowflakes.

“Then they had the traumatic mess that was A-level results – and now they are being charged £9,000 a year for a university experience which will be remote at best, with the threat of being locked down in halls of residence when they have not had time to make friends or adjust to being away from home. It’s too much.

 “We need to heal these wounds for them – continue improving access to our schools, deliver a curriculum that suits their needs, and continue to question what’s going on in our exam system and in our universities.

“I know that HMC schools are already pulling in this direction – I know that I am pushing at an open door.

“But I feel the need now is urgent and that, rather than being the ivory tower we can sometimes be perceived to be – we are instead an essential life raft for liberal education, civilised debate about the future, respect for expertise and for the development of sport and of the arts.”