The week

Ed Dorrell & Michael Shaw

Dig out those miniature Union Jacks. Dust down Duran Duran's eponymous first album. It's 1981 all over again. It's yet to bubble to the surface, but it is only a matter of time before one of our fine mid-market tabloids reveals the "left-wing teachers who refuse to teach our children about the royal wedding" and then winds itself up into a state of explosive fury. Of course, there's one obvious solution - Michael Gove could stick it in his new primary curriculum. (To any Conservative policy-makers - that was a joke).

So the '80s revival - think Lady Di making eyes at Simon Le Bon - has also seen a resurgence of some good old-fashioned Tory values. What to do with those miscreants who clutter up pupil referral units? According to right-wing think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies, PRUs need a good dose of "vigorous values" - ideally from a stern sergeant major, a boxing instructor or a God-fearing Christian. We are not making this up. The CPS believes these vigorous values can best be found, apparently, in the military-backed Skill Force, the Boxing Academy and the Lighthouse Group, a Christian educational charity. Next step, the poorhouse? This return to muscular Christianity has Iain Duncan Smith's paw-prints all over it.

Earlier this week, before the Wedding of the Century was announced, the Daily Mail was minding its own business, doing its day-job of winding up the middle classes. And they would certainly have been upset to read a piece that began: "At least 50 private schools have folded and dozens more are struggling as the economic squeeze drives away cash-strapped parents". This was based on an ATL survey, which found that 24 per cent of schools had fewer pupils this year. But, as the article mentioned further down, it also found that 27 per cent had the same number and 45 per cent had seen an increase. So, it's not actually bad news, then.

One independent school that will not have to worry about applications is St Andrew's in Pangbourne, Berkshire, the prep school attended by Waity Katy. Presumably as soon as the journos stop phoning, calls from pushy parents around the world will start. Good luck with that.

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Ed Dorrell & Michael Shaw

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