Sharing some of the facilities of private schools may salve liberal consciences, but it's difficult to dispel an uncomfortable aura of forelock- tugging

I'm looking forward to parental reaction to the Invasion of the Oicks into public schools, particularly if this - from sources close to my brother-in-law - is anything to go by. "Jolly good idea - teach 'em hunting, shooting and fishing - some of the bloody townies might see what hunting's all about. What about riding lessons - I believe they don't have them in those, what do they call 'em, basin schools. Put 'em on horseback - with luck a few of the buggers might fall off and break their necks."

Of course, sharing some of the facilities may salve a few liberal consciences, but it's difficult to dispel an uncomfortable aura of forelock-tugging. Particularly offensive is the unspoken notion that teaching, rather than facilities and financing - is necessarily superior in private schools. Of course, there are bad teachers in both sectors, but I suspect the really inspired and devoted teachers are to be found in the state system. There are certainly plenty of mediocre teachers in private schools who know they couldn't hack it in the local comprehensive because they don't have the skills to deal with a range of abilities and behaviour.

Nevertheless, there must be mileage in bringing in some old boys to lead a few lessons. Eton could offer Lord Spencer for personal and social development, and Darius Guppy on business ethics ...

The Rugby schoolboy who ran off to Barbados is hardly a role model for the public school system, yet he has been championed by the right-wing press. Suspicions that he was a complete prat were confirmed not only by his choice of shirts but also by the fact that, when he finally agreed to speak to the press, he insisted it could only be to The Daily Telegraph. So he was right about one thing - he did need to broaden his outlook on life.

It's common knowledge that pupils from some of the most pressured, academically successful schools crack up when they get to university, and find there's nobody there to turn the pages of their textbooks for them. But if you survive that hurdle there's still the parental trauma of school quiz nights to overcome. This is where all the deepest insecurities emerge. I was told by one parent that she wasn't coming because she had heard I was snooty about people who did well in the soap operas round. Absolutely not true. This was the only subject on which I might have made a decent show, but they had dropped it this year in favour of "emotions on the Net". The question-setter - who failed the 11-plus but is clearly massively more intelligent and better educated than any of us who went to private school - was obviously trying to prove something. The staff table were happy, though, to come a respectable third. Mr Brooker was gloating the next day about their performance in the poetry and literature round - though you can bet it was his wife, not him, who knew that all the women in The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock were talking about Michelangelo.

I put down sex as the answer, but this is what happens when you read too many women's magazines.

Flu is particularly dangerous in our household - not that we have old people to worry about, it's the 11-year old hypochondriac who's vulnerable. Some idiot - me, I think - had told him that if your temperature reaches 105 you die, so he lay in bed on Saturday taking his temperature every five minutes instead of sleeping it off. 102 degrees confirmed his self- diagnosis of meningitis, and when it hit 103.8 his wails could be heard all down the street: "only 12 more points and I'm dead."

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

    Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

    Early Years Educator

    £68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

    Nursery Nurse

    £69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

    Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam