Apple for teacher? Try jet use, Prada and jewellery
Teacher at exclusive fee-paying schools in Britain are being "bribed" by parents who hand over expensive end-of-term gifts including designer handbags, diamond necklaces and even the free use of a private jet, it has emerged.
Witnesses reported seeing "boxes and boxes of Prada and Chanel" outside the headteacher's office at one west London independent school, prompting new concerns that an influx of foreign pupils has led to a new and "un-British" culture of gift-giving which borders on corruption.
One teacher received a wad of cash as an end-of-term gift, while giving thousands of pounds in gift tokens has become normal, the June edition of 'Tatler' magazine reports.
The head of one unnamed prep school said: "These parents are doing something close to bribery."
Apart from £1,000 (€1,200) handbags, other presents handed to teachers at some fee-paying schools included cases of vintage wine, Savile Row suits, tablet computers and items from luxury brands such as Smythson or Fortnum &Mason.
One teacher reported being offered keys to the family villa by one set of parents, while another was invited to use a private jet free of charge.
A mother told the magazine that she invested in expensive gifts to ensure her son was "always on the teacher's radar".
"I expect him to come home and say he was well looked after," she said.
One unnamed teacher at a London school, whose pupils are the offspring of Russian oligarchs or hedge fund bosses, said the expensive personal presents are in addition to the "class gift" to which each parent is expected to contribute around £90.
Janette Wallis, of the Good Schools Guide, said the gifts were often given innocently by families from countries such as Russia, China and the Middle East, which are coming to dominate many fee-paying schools but have a different approach from traditional British families. Some schools have introduced a cap on presents.
John Ing, a former housemaster at Stowe, in Buckinghamshire, said the school adopted a gift register and any item worth more than £50 was put in a cupboard to be raffled. (© Daily Telegraph, London)