Manners maketh man. And also, apparently, children. In order to ensure that today's youth, accustomed to TV dinners and monosyllabic text-speak, are equipped for adult society, Sean Davoren, head butler at the Lanesborough hotel, in London, is running etiquette lessons for youngsters.
Aimed at five to 13-year-olds, the two-hour, pound;45 course teaches participants how to reply to an invitation, lay a table for a multi-course meal and how to eat peas.
Mr Davoren said: "I'm not a traditionalist, I like to see children having fun. But basic good manners don't change. They are something that people are expected to know automatically."
Demand is high for the 15-pupil sessions and there are waiting lists of up to four months. More classes, hosted with the English School of Butlering, will be launched in September.
A spokeswoman for the National Union of Teachers said: "I'm sure the cleaning staff will appreciate a canteen full of children who know how to eat peas properly."