A new initiative from the Dept of Children, Schools and Familes will see parents notified by letter if their children are considered to be at risk of growing into working class adults. The controversial intervention follows a series of concerns about children eating unhealthy diets, not being encouraged to read at home, being allowed out late at night, breaking the law and generally appearing a bit unkempt or failing to wear a single item from Mini Boden.
Professor Sir Piers Cockburn (Oxon) warned that ‘unless steps are taken now, large numbers of our pupils could leave school unable to sustain a dinner party conversation about the Tuscan countryside or the benefits of organic vegetables. If pupils show a preference for chips over hummus in the school canteen, if children opt to watch television during wet play rather than form a book club and discuss Jane Austen, if they don’t know the rules of Rugby Union, then the parents will be notified by post’ said the government advisor. ‘And the only circumstances in which children should be out late at night is if they are queuing up to buy the latest Harry Potter book dressed as a wizard,’ he added.
However the idea has been slammed as ‘nanny-state intervention gone mad’ by some educationalists who fear that schools will become stigmatized for not doing enough to encourage pupils to listen to The Archers or browse around antique shops in Richmond. ‘Children are all different and we should accept that some children may get the bus to school rather than be driven in a large people carrier listening to storybook tapes.’ said one teacher. ‘Children mustn’t be made to feel second class, just because they are going to be poor and exploited for the rest of their lives.’
The government has also revealed that it may publish league tables detailing the percentage of proletarian children in each school, so that parents can make informed choices before sending their children into an environment with kids who ‘may have had fizzy drinks at breakfast’. But Ministers have admitted that writing to working class parents may not be that effective in the short term. ‘We accept that they are unlikely to read any letters we send them anyway. We are thinking of putting a big warning on the side of a packet of crisps.’
When questioned, Ministers confirmed that they would be writing warning letters to the families of their own builders and cleaners; ‘As soon as they got someone to translate the letters into Polish.’
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