THE choice of schools made by Foreign Secretary David Miliband for his primary aged school son was dragged back into the news by the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. Again the puzzle was over why he didn’t plump for Primrose Hill Primary School, which is within spitting distance of his house.
We’ve read that before – but the Daily Tel took it on by reminding Miliband that he himself had gone to Primrose Hill with a rosy-cheeked picture of his old 1971 class, which included Notes On A Scandal writer Zoe Heller and film maker Sam Mendes. I wonder what happened to the other 25 kids who didn’t get a sub-editor’s bubble around their head on Saturday. Also, what kind of shock did Zoe and Sam have when they saw their little kid selves staring out of the Telegraph. You can see the picture at the newspaper’s website.
Then enters Stanley Johnson, father to Mayor of London Boris who is also reported here to have gone to the school. Having sent Boris and daughter Rachel there, Stanley obviously feels qualified to deliver the sweeping judgement: “My recollection is that it was a totally admirable school. It was good enough for Johnson but not good enough for Miliband.”
Primrose Hill of course is a totally admirable school, rated as ‘outstanding’ by government inspectors, but it’s interesting to think about how Stanley reached his opinion. If you read Andrew Gimson’s brilliant biography of Boris Johnson, Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson, it appears the Mayor’s attendance at the school was only fleeting.
It reveals before heading to Eton, Johnson went to a few schools – not just Primrose Hill. As the clan moved around, he went to one in Winsford, another in Uccle in Brussels. Sadly, Gimson has no stories of the London Mayor and the Foreign Secretary competing in the Princess Road playground and it’s not clear their paths ever crossed at that tender age.
“He has recalled with pride how he was able to eat the disgusting food which was served in one of his early primary schools,” Gimson wrote. Surely that wasn’t Primrose Hill then, you can hear the school cooks chanting.