Prime Minister David Cameron, once a pupil at Britain’s most famous fee-paying school for boys, said he will send his eldest daughter Nancy to a state-run high school, citing improvements in London’s educational record.
The premier, who was educated at Eton College, which counts Prince William, second in line to the throne and 18 other British prime ministers among its alumni, is under political pressure not to appear elitist as he cuts public services to tackle the nation’s budget deficit.
“In London there’s a real improvement taking place,” Cameron was cited as telling The House magazine, which is distributed to lawmakers. “There’s a big culture change in our schools and that’s taking place in London.”
Nancy, now age 9, will switch to high school when she’s 11. Last summer she made headlines when Cameron revealed he mistakenly left her in a pub by herself when he and his wife Samantha left in separate cars, each assuming she was with the other.
“There was no finger-wagging afterwards and Nancy has promised not to brief against me -- she actually used that term, she is learning fast,” Cameron was quoted as telling the Mail on Sunday tabloid on June 23.
In class-conscious Britain, the decision whether to send children to a fee-paying school is politically charged. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was criticized by some lawmakers when he was in office for sending his three eldest children to a state-funded school that selected applicants for entry.
One of Cameron’s own lawmakers, Nadine Dorries, called Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who was also privately educated, “arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of milk.”
“The House” magazine also cited the prime minister as saying he will consider looking at what welfare payments migrants from other EU countries should be entitled to.
“It’s worth looking at the current rules and regulations, what other countries do, what could we do,” Cameron said. “We should just be generally impatient and enthusiastic for getting the relationship right, and there may be some things you can do under existing rules that that other countries do we could have a proper good look at.”
Cameron also promised to promote more women in government. He ruled out the leader of the U.K. Independence Party appearing in televised debates in the run-up to the 2015 elections and revealed his talents for home improvement, putting together Ikea furniture in a “very successful” fashion and pulling down a shed.