School dubbed 'the Eton of the state sector' has the enthusiastic support of the Education Secretary
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Thursday 24 June 2010
Lennon Naked began with a splash – a late-period John in what appeared to be mint condition plunging into the pool of his stockbroker belt mansion to the sound of "Come Together". The device might have felt a little overfamiliar (how many times has the off-the-peg transcendence of an underwater shot been employed in such things?), but it was all but impossible to resist the jolt of that music – a cameo appearance by the real thing in a drama that was largely going to be a triumph of similitude. Even more reassuringly, Robert Jones's script instantly showed that it had got the weight of Lennon's wordplay. A jump cut deprived us of the final resolving cadence of the song and plunged us again, back to Beatlemania, as John and Brian Epstein made a scrambled getaway down a fire escape and John demonstrated the rasp of his wit. "Kiss 'im," he says as fans beg for contact. "'E's never been kissed by womankind... or unkind." And the joke scrapes close to unkindness itself, a teasing poke with just enough thrust in it to hurt, but not enough to make the malice deniable should things turn nasty.
Thursday 10 June 2010
Thursday 06 May 2010
The news that British independent schools are receiving a record influx of pupils from overseas is not surprising. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), fee-charging schools in the UK achieve the best results of any type of school in the world. If you examine the statistics, they account for nearly 40 per cent of students getting three A grades or better at A-level, yet only 7 per cent of pupils attend these schools. So, overseas parents are making a rational, if expensive, choice in deciding to send their offspring away to boarding school in a far-off land. And it really is the other side of the world in many cases. The largest international group within private schools comes from China and Hong Kong. The parents of such children must definitely think it is worth shelling out as much as £30,000 a year per child, plus the cost of air fares and a school uniform, to give their darlings a good start in life.
Wednesday 05 May 2010
The school inspection system is in danger of becoming "a nitpicker's paradise", the headmaster of Eton warned yesterday.
Saturday 27 March 2010
Thursday 18 February 2010
Alastair Stewart, the newscaster who presents the ITV News at 6.30pm, attended Madras College in St Andrews, Scotland, the Salesian College prep school in Farnborough, and St Augustine's Abbey School in Ramsgate. He went on to read economics and politics at Bristol University.
Friday 12 February 2010
Tuesday 12 January 2010
Sunday 06 December 2009
Trying to explain your home nation's cultural peculiarities to an outsider is the best way to gauge the degree of their absurdity, as I found out the other day when a French friend asked me what exactly Eton is. "Well, it's just a school really..." I began, before launching into a labyrinthine explanation of how it was actually much more than just a school. I covered tailcoats, rowing songs, Gothic architecture, 18 British PMs (not by name, obviously – I'm not that good) and a recipe involving broken meringues.
Sunday 06 December 2009
Cracks is set in a remote all-girl boarding school in the 1930s. One of the teachers, the chic and bohemian Eva Green is Miss Jean Brodie except with designer clothes, and more of a tendency to take them off in the open air. She's idolised by a clique of pupils led by Juno Temple and Imogen Poots (the actresses' names, not the characters', believe it or not) until the power balance is upset by the arrival of an aristocratic Spanish girl, Maria Valverde.
Friday 30 October 2009
I was 17 years old, faintly spotty and in love with Rupert Brooke. I had just been removed from my Home Counties boarding school, slap in the middle of the A-level course. My parents had become disillusioned with the academic goals of the institution after discovering that the entire school had been awarded a day's picnic to celebrate one girl's successful application to university. Instead, I was sent to a serious-minded London crammer. My EngLit tutor lived at the end of the Northern Line and twice a week I made the hour-long Tube journey to see her, using the anonymity of the carriage to refine my awkward attempts at presenting myself as an experienced smoker.
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