The headteacher of a £23,000-a-year private school has apologised over a “misguided” advert suggesting pupils could become rich enough to “buy their dad a Jaguar.”
The advert for Vinehall School, in East Sussex, shows a little boy eyeing up the headmaster’s Jaguar while sitting in his father’s Volvo Estate.
It was interpreted to suggest that the student could go on to buy his father a Jaguar if he attended the school.
The ad was run in a series of local magazines and sparked outcry on social media, with one Twitter user saying the school was “selling avarice, filial shame and crass arrogance to your children”.
Another described it as “the most cringeworthy school ad I’m ever likely to see”.
Headteacher Joff Powell has since apologised.
“I very deeply regret the widespread offence caused by the recent open day advertisement,” he said in a statement to the media.
“It was wholly misguided, and should never have seen the light of day. I must stress it is in no way a reflection of the ethos of our school and the worthwhile work we do here.”
Mr Powell added that Vinehall, which is a day and boarding school, prides itself on being an inclusive place where “the values of modesty and broad-mindedness are at the forefront of our guidance and teaching.”
The post sparked uproar online, with the novelist Judy Astley tweeting: “How very bizarre. Who’d want to send their child to a school where the core values are entirely about acquiring material crap?”
Mark Owen said: “Heartening to see Vinehall School taking some well-deserved stick on social media for this appalling, elitist and p***-poorly executed ad. If you’re the type to reckon someone’s worth by measure of their wealth, give your kid a chance to be a better human and send ’em elsewhere!”
Located a few miles from Robertsbridge and Battle, the school’s motto is: “To do our best for the benefit of others”.
Famous alumni include members of the band Keane – Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley and Richard Hughes.
Polar explorer Tom Avery and Conservative MP Dan Poulter also attended the school.
Vinehall was rated as “excellent in all areas” by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate earlier this year.
Fees are around £17,817 per year for day pupils and £23,208 for boarding pupils, according to the Good Schools Guide website.