Notoriously elitist magazine Tatler selects its 'acceptable' state-run schools

Latest edition of posh people’s periodical contains list of acceptable state schools

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The Independent Online

Spare a thought for hard-pressed Tatler readers. Among the elite canape party photos and etiquette guide reviews, the latest edition of the posh people’s periodical contains a depressing sign of the times - a list of acceptable state schools.

The magazine more naturally obsessed with ranking the best fee-paying schools has published its second guide to what it considers to be the nation’s less terrifying comprehensives, advising its readers: “Put your wallet away. Sometimes, the best choice isn’t the most expensive one.”

In a further sign that in more straitened times the rich and powerful are switching from private to state, some 34 taxpayer-funded primary and secondary schools are deemed worthy of interest - an increase of four from its inaugural list last year.

Under a headline touting “freedom from feedom”, the high-society bible advises its readers that: “Cost doesn’t always mean value: sometimes, the right choice isn’t the most expensive one.”

With commendable fortitude it adds: “These days, the smuggest mummies aren’t those at the gates of the shiny preps - they’re the ones who’ve snagged a place at the best state primaries.”


Panicking devotees of the magazine can nonetheless rest easy that little Rupert or Hermione are not being asked to rough it in the playgrounds of Peckham or Slough.

The 12 primaries considered desirable include Fox Primary in London’s Notting Hill, which tops the list for the best SAT results in England, and Trinity Church of England Primary on the edge of Gloucestershire’s Badminton estate - described as being “in the heart of Beaufort Hunt country - what could be lovelier?”

Among the secondaries worth investing in some real estate to play catchment bingo for are the Grey Coat Hospital school in Westminster, where former education secretary Michael Gove sends his daughter and Prime Minister David Cameron will reportedly send one of his children.

For those concerned that the very best that the state sector can offer might not be quite up to snuff, Tatler has consoling words. Without a hint of condescension, it notes that its choices offer “superb heads, stupendously dedicated teachers, articulate, smartly turned-out pupils, top-notch academic results [and] sensational facilities”.