The reporter is Martin Samuel, four times the Sports Writer of the Year, who the Mail indulges once a week by allowing him to write a column in the serious pages in the middle of the paper. And Samuel makes a very good job of it.
In his latest column, he uses Whitgift as an outstanding example of how sports scholarships can be used to further the opportunities for disadvantaged youngsters.
Samuel writes: “The ladder has been pulled up on working-class youngsters thanks to the abolition of many grammar schools, but Whitgift now lights the way. Yes, the school gets something out of it, too. Prestige and no doubt the pick of the sporty boys whose parents can afford £13,731 a year, but what’s wrong with that? This path is open to the other private schools. Increasingly, it seems ethically wrong that they do not take it.”
The piece is well worth a read.
What is also interesting is what Samuel’s article omits to mention.
- Samuel fails to mention Whitgift’s most famous recent sporting graduate, Danny Cipriani, the wayward former Wasps fly-half who looks to be on the brink of being fired by his latest club, Melbourne Rebels, for enjoying the playboy lifestyle rather too much. An odd omission. We wonder why?
- Nor does he mention that the Whitgift schools foundation – which also includes Old Palace and Trinity – still manages to benefit from hefty tax benefits through special “charitable status”, one of the driving forces behind its scholarship schemes.
- Or mention that the school managed to spend the equivalent of an entire year’s school fees on purchasing a flock of flamingoes to grace the school’s expensive wildlife pond. Money well-spent, or a shocking indulgence?
- Nor does he mention that this week, Whitgift is subject to a visit from the independent schools’ inspector, who surely will not be at all influenced by a glowing puff piece about the school published in the Daily Mail.
Another item unmentioned by Martin Samuel is that next week sees Whitgift host its annual cricket festival, with the Surrey county roadshow in town for five days of top-class sport. We know where Insidemight be next week…
10.30am update: And the latest outstanding sporting talent out of Whitgift School, 18-year-old kicking machine Elliot Daly, has been named in England’s squad for the under-20s rugby World Cup, to be staged in Italy beginning next month.
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