Party Lines

Our columnist listens in on the Great Education Debate

Daisy Waugh

Of course you’re quite right. Get them into a decent state school — 


Alright, get them into a state school and if they can string a sentence together, every university in the country will be begging for them. 

Sophie’s planning to pull Orlando out of Eton for his final year. Pop him in the local comp — metal detectors, everything.

Brave girl! 

Clever girl…Mind you…

He’ll get slaughtered.

But he’ll get into Oxford, won’t he! There’s a faith school in the Midlands, apparently — got twenty-five kids into Oxbridge this year! 

That’s ridiculous… 

Outrageous. When you think how much the rest of us are shelling out… 

…Twenty-five kids? 

Maybe it was twenty. I’ve no idea. But it was more than they managed at Charlie’s school. At £29,000 per year after tax and not including the games kit. If you please! 

It’s all about the quotas, though, isn’t it?  Nowadays. Those poor kids get themselves into Oxbridge. They probably can’t even read!

Ooh, miaow!  

I’m not joking, Ciss. Wish I was! Seriously. It’s terrible this — sort of social apartheid. Whatever you want to call it. 

Educational apartheid.

I feel very strongly about that.

Oh! Me too.

I’d love nothing more than to send my kids to the local school. For a sense of perspective…


…Encourage them to see the bigger picture.  Diversity and everything. Whatever it’s called. Equal opportunities. I’m all for it! 

Aren’t we all! 

Give me a “decent” state school in my area — and I swear I’d have my kids in there in a flash. Wouldn’t you?

Are you crazy? OF COURSE I WOULD!

Because — do think…morally speaking. As a civilised people we have a responsibility…to try and bridge this unbridgeable gap…bridge this sort of quote-unquote “class divide”. 

That’s a lovely way of putting it. But as you know — David’s Jewish. So it’s impossible. 

And Andrew’s vehemently anti-Catholic. God knows why…So you know… 

Cof E?

Well — but there aren’t any. Not near us. 

How about the Free Schools? Have you thought about them?

The what?

…You know. Michael Gove…I don’t really know much about them.  Parent power…Or something. 

Parent power?  Crikey!

It’s the big new Tory thing…Decent Education for all…

I don’t understand. Can anyone go to them? 

I think so. And there’s this big emphasis on academic subjects…

Are you sure?

Nonselective. Highly academic. Free. And coming soon to a street near you! 

Oh for crying out loud, Ciss, do shut up. 

Sound good?

They sound absolutely bloody ghastly.

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"