Stuck in the middle;The week in view;Opinion

23rd July 1999 at 01:00
It's been a week of class war as David Blunkett and Tony Blair attacked "elitist" middle-class parents and researchers for criticising homework, tests and targets.

Presumably they would be equally disapproving of an unashamedly elitist new West Yorkshire housing estate where discerning middle-class couples and singles with 90 grand to spare can buy a "luxury cottage" safe in the knowledge that dogs and children (in that order) are banned.

There's little chance of running into children this summer anyway as armies of them will be packed off to one of 1,225 summer schools around the country. They include a US-style "fat camp" - sorry, "weight-loss camp" - run by Leeds Metropolitan University. Only 40 out of a possible 150 turned up for the start this week, the rest obviously preferring to stay in bed.

Which at Prestwich school in Manchester, is precisely what well-behaved pupils will be doing. If they look smart and turn up on time, they will be rewarded once a term with an extra hour and a half in bed.

Four million children in Britain live in poverty according to a new London School of Economics study. Children, we are told, have replaced pensioners as "the new poor".

Christ's Hospital, a public school in West Sussex, was set up by Edward VI in 1552 to educate the children of London's old poor. It was this week unmasked as Britain's richest school, with a share, stocks and property portfolio worth a staggering pound;218 million. But in fine egalitarian tradition the school does subsidise the pound;13,000 fees. In return the pupils wear a Tudor uniform, including natty bright yellow stockings.

Which would mean nothing to history students. A survey of universities by History Today magazine found students unfamiliar with any era pre-dating the 20th century.

And if all that wealth and class has left you a little confused, try the Daily Mail's helpful 'Two Jags Class Quiz'.

Apparently, if you send your kids to public school - bad or good - you are posh. If they go to the local comprehensive - bad or good - you are working class. But if you want to send them to the comp, only don't because it's too far awaybigcommon you are most definitely middle. Or one of Mr Blunkett's well-intentioned liberals.

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