On the naughty step conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: parents who give bribes

For most teachers, parental attitudes generally fall on a spectrum ranging from the depressingly apathetic to a little bit pugnacious.

But spare a thought for those working in some of the most prestigious - and therefore eye-wateringly expensive - institutions in the country. These staff have to contend with an entirely different parent altogether: the briber.

According to high society's favourite glossy, Tatler, teachers in some of the UK's richest schools are being handed gifts including the free use of a private jet or a couple of weeks at the family holiday home. Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern millionaires and Chinese business people are said to be among the worst offenders.

The practice has led some headteachers to accuse wealthy parents of attempting to bribe staff in order to ensure that their offspring is always "looked after" and "on the teacher's radar".

Other gifts featuring in the end-of-term gift bonanza are pound;1,000 designer handbags, diamond necklaces, Savile Row suits and cases of vintage wine. And these are on top of the collective "class present" that all parents are expected to chip in to as a way of saying thank you.

Such cynical attempts at buying special treatment must be condemned, so it is off to the naughty step for those corrupt and moneyed parents. But if any of them would like to shower such largesse on teachers in the state sector, exceptions may be considered.

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