Not so middle class, Mr Blair

22nd January 1999 at 00:00
Do schools fit into the PM's vision of society? Sarah Cassidy and Shaoni Bhattacharya asked them

The new meritocratic middle class includes millions of families who were once considered working class, Tony Blair told a left-wing think-tank last week. Almost half of Britain's families are now classified as middle class, up from one in three when Margaret Thatcher came to power 20 years ago.

But while the statistics back the Prime Minister, this social revolution has passed many schools by. Social polarisation means that many struggling schools now have even fewer middle-class pupils.

An influx of middle-class pupils would have an impact on standards and raise a school's local standing, say headteachers. But this is unlikely as middle-class parents send their children elsewhere.

Many schools serve communities where parents can only aspire to be working class. In families where three generations are out of work, a parent's great hope is that their child will one day find a job.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today