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Primary Education News
News What am I bid for a week's work at Coutts? - the Westminster school auction
Nick Clegg's old school invites parents to pay for internships for their children
Persuading wealthy supporters to stump up thousands of pounds to secure their kids internships at City firms got the Tories into hot water at a party fundraiser a couple of years ago. But despite reports suggesting that David Cameron would ban this type of prize, it seems that private schools still have a taste for it.
Westminster school, whose former alumni include Nick Clegg, Martin Amis and Helena Bonham Carter, is offering open bids on internships at a range of companies in lucrative job sectors. Fancy a career in the law? A mini-pupillage with a criminal barrister can be Freddie's for offers over £650. Want to try working in (private) education? A cheque for anything over £550 could – as long as someone richer doesn't outbid you – get Tamsin an internship in Dubai with Holland Park Tuition and Education Consultants. Oscar's more on the creative side? Currently, offers of more than £202 will provide "a unique chance for a student interested in a career in finance to gain an inside look at the world of private equity". A week "behind the scenes at master jewellers Fabergé" is still a snip at £76, so with any luck you won't have to pawn the pearls.
Of course lots of PTAs run auctions, but the kind of prize state school parents tend to offer isn't going to get you past security at Coutts (offers over £301, at the time of going to press).
Nevertheless, state school auctions can still raise surprising sums. At Hollymount primary school in south-west London, mum Lucy Hatley says she was "weeping on the stage saying thank you to everyone" when the auction raised £14,000. The school used the money to rebuild a school playground that the council couldn't afford to pay for. There weren't any internships on offer – the closest thing to work experience was "being headmistress for a day" (£260 bid). A "home-cooked Indian meal for four" went for £45, as did a "personalised poem, written especially for you".
Mr Hatley, it turns out, will be servicing a family's bikes for the sum of £140. An hour and a half of bouncy-castle playtime went for £90. The highest bid was £1,600 for a week in a cottage in Brittany. Don't suppose anyone will get a foot on the career ladder or any juicy contacts from the Hollymount auction, but their prizes sound a lot more fun than paying top whack to spend a week traipsing round after a banker in your half-term holiday.