Has austerity reached new depths? Tatler magazine publishes guide to UK's best state schools

High society mag explains that private education is becoming too expensive even for its red-trousered readership

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The Independent Online

If Mummy and Daddy read Tatler, the state school system is perhaps a vague concept: a faraway land where the students fight in the corridors , can’t conjugate a Latin verb and think escargot is a character from Harry Potter. Until now, that is.

The glossy, high society magazine has published its first guide to state schools, explaining that private education is becoming too expensive even for its red-trousered readership.

Breaking the mould of a decade of guides to the best public schools, the February issue of the magazine offers an insight into “the crème de la crème of the British state system”.

But the magazine is not blind to the irony of the article.

“We are not idiots. We know that Tatler is the last place you might expect to find a guide to state schools,” it says.

“But consider this: to put two children through the private system costs around £600,000 - that's £1.2 million before tax. And is private really superior? Not always, not any more.”

But this is not a case of sending the apple of your eye to the bog-standard comprehensive on the sink estate down the road. The recommended schools are notable for their “spanking-new buildings, strong discipline, sporting rigour and academic ambition”.

And it might be rather fun – a little project, perhaps -  to forgo the boarding school that your family has attended since time began.

“Your child gets a better preparation for the real world, the one where not everything is handed to them on a sterling-silver platter, where there is a cosmopolitan mix, where you will have to fight to get to the top.

“And best of all, when you do finally get into the Cabinet, everyone will love you because you didn't go to Eton.”

Well, obviously darling.

The guide lists 10 primary schools and 20 secondary schools. The primary schools include St Mary Abbots School in London (the “alma mater of the little Camerons”), Meysey Hampton Primary School in Gloucestershire (“deliciously old-fashioned”) and Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh (“pronounced ‘Sheens’, but of course you knew that”).

All intelligent toffs are advised to “do everything you can to get your children a place at one of these schools – you will not regret it.”

And, of course, one ought to schmooze with the other parents, get to know the local vicar and send the little ones to every extra-curricular club on offer.

This whole state school malarkey could really catch on…