As others see us
More than 600,000 children will start primary school this week. Nothing unusual in that. Yet, when one particular little boy - his name's George - will start school, the event will be front page news all over the world.
How do we know this?
Last week, the people who follow such things woke up to fact that 4 year old Prince George was about to set his first polished Startrite over the threshold of Thomas's School in south west London and that this school - like more than 1200 others - has a review in the famously independent and forthright Good Schools Guide.
Prince George goes to school
Coverage included newspaper articles and online discussions - of varying degrees of accuracy/speculation/fantasy everywhere. In fact, if you put "Prince George goes to school" in your browser, you are rewarded with 9,460,000 results - though not all, admittedly, from last week.
Good Schools Guide review
What interested - and, occasionally, appalled - those of us who review schools for The Good Schools Guide - was the way folk chose to read - and interpret - our review.
For a start, our carefully worded review didn't actually say that George is having the best education money can buy - although several of the headlines, including The Daily Mail, attributed this comment to us. Others, see, for example: People magazine, do the same .
The "best" English education
Perhaps the most picked-over paragraph in our 915 word review was this one:
A big, busy, slightly chaotic school for cosmopolitan parents who want their children to have the best English education money can buy. That is what they want and, to a large degree, that is what they get. Plenty of opportunities for pupils to excel but withdrawn types might find it all somewhat overwhelming.
Chaotic was the word chosen for most headlines, see for example, The Daily Telegraph.
A US-based website called Celebrity Dirty Laundry chose to comment:
There’s a chance that Kate Middleton’s decision to send Prince George to a posh pre-school in London might be messing up the young royal already. New reports indicate that many parents have left negative reviews about Thomas’s Battersea in London as being a busy, but slightly chaotic school for post students.
Mysteriously, another opines:
As noted above, The Good Schools' assessment calls Thomas's "slightly chaotic." Sounds like the young prince will fit in just fine. See Town and Country magazine.
Elle website is, however, reassuring:
Now, having spotted Prince George wearing a bathrobe to greet the former president of the US Barack Obama to his home, squishing his face against a glass window at Buckingham Palace and making faces on the palace's balcony, we have a feeling the little tyke won't be 'withdrawn' when it comes to mingling with his classmates. See: Elle magazine online .
Trolls have a field day with this, of course. We wouldn't dream of quoting them but, suffice it to say that some people have clearly learned nothing from the hounding of the 4-year-old's grandmother, whose death, 20 years ago this week, we also remember.
You may like to read the review which caused all the fuss. You can do so, free, by clicking here:
We wish George - and all 4-year-olds who start school this week - happy and stimulating schooldays with friends, fun and fulfillment. And that's our last word on the subject.