Becks is too posh, says Estelle

28th February 2003 at 00:00
David Beckham's lavish lifestyle is giving children higher expectations, adding to the pressures on teachers, Estelle Morris believes.

The former Education Secretary told teachers of her concerns about the impact of the internationally-renowned footballer on their working lives at a conference held this week by schools in Norwood, south London.

The Birmingham MP said working-class children had higher expectations than ever of what they could earn and what they could buy.

While these aspirations were excellent, she said, they meant that families were putting pressure on teachers to provide an even better education.

"It's something to do with the media, which thrusts in your face what money can buy, and the way the money is made." she said. "The working-class hero now is David Beckham, who earns a fortune.

"What money can buy is now known to everyone, not just those who hope to earn much, and that creates another pressure."

Ms Morris added that Beckham's earnings were in stark contrast to those of working-class heroes of yesteryear such as the 1950s footballer Stanley Matthews.

Beckham has earned more than pound;15 million in sponsorship deals over the past two years, on top of his annual salary of pound;3.5 million from Manchester United.

Other pressures on teachers Ms Morris listed included greater expectations from parents - who took the performance of schools more seriously since the creation of league-tables - and the growing difficulties school-leavers could face finding a decent job.

"We have always told pupils that it was impossible to get a job without a good education," she said.

"It's never been true. Teachers have lied to students for generations. But now when teachers say it, it is increasingly becoming true."

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