The Prince of Wales has made his first visit to a school since his controversial remarks last week on "fashionable" teaching methods.
The Prince's trip to Moor Park School in Preston, Lancashire, was not billed as a school visit but rather as attending a seminar organised by Business in the Community, of which he is president. This, however, allowed him a half-hour meeting with staff and pupils of the school - the only educational visit in his official diary, despite his evident interest in the subject.
His interview with Sir David Frost on television 12 days ago attracted a storm of publicity when Prince Charles described the education system as "somewhat failed". He advocated a return to traditional teaching methods. Neither this, nor other areas of possible controversy, were broached during chats with Moor Park's head and pupils.
The 430-pupil comprehensive is in an ethnically diverse and socially deprived area where unemployment is twice the national average. It has established links with more than 20 local and national companies and offers industrial placements on enterprise schemes. The Prince took a great interest in pupils who have set up two companies selling dried flower arrangements.
The school's strong business links, praised by inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education, have enabled it to offer pupils a national vocational qualification in engineering, run with a nearby British Nuclear Fuels plant.
"We couldn't afford to do that or to staff it without their help," said the deputy head, Richard Ogden. "The pupils have got an experience that they otherwise wouldn't have had. It's a tremendous honour for us to have the Prince visit the school and to be able to show the links we have made with business. "
The school has attracted Pounds 184,000 from business to fund a bid for technology college status in October.