The school for the super-rich

Avenues: The World School has opened a campus in London for the offspring of the world's wealthiest parents.


Actress Katie Holmes: fostering the next generation of elite globetrotters

An expensive new school will shortly be springing up in the middle of London a school for the children of the so-called "global elite". Savills is on the case, tasked with finding a location close enough to the centre of London for "the moneyed set" that will be the school's clientele, according to Will Pavia in The Times.

But if we don't know the location yet, we know all about the ethos. The blueprint has been up and running for three years in New York. Avenues: The World School was founded by a group of entrepreneurs, including a former president of Yale and a former publisher of Esquire. Fired by the idea of creating an establishment that would turn out responsible "global citizens", they raised $75m through private equity and, says Pavia, "hired an army of academics and consultants to redesign a school almost from scratch".

The resulting establishment, in New York's Chelsea district, is a modern educationalist's dream. The warehouse that houses it was refitted by a design studio that specialises in boutiques for trendy fashion labels, there's a rooftop playground and there are inspiring slogans all over the place, such as "You Miss 100 Percent Of The Shots You Never Take", which is in the gym. Classroom doors open in the middle of the room, not at the front or back, "to challenge the teacher-student hierarchy"; small cameras allow pupils to teleconference with other continents; nursery children, aged four and upwards, have classes in Mandarin or Spanish for "total immersion" and get taken round modern art galleries in Manhattan.

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And the children of the hedgies, tech tycoons and Hollywood actresses who go to Avenues are not only coached about how to get on in the world by a "success team", but are also taught humility, or, as the school's mission statement puts it, to be "humble about their gifts and generous of spirit". The founders want to give their pupils the best that money can buy, says Pavia, without fostering the "imperious arrogance" that can go hand in hand with a costly education.

Given the idea is to foster "global citizenry", a "World Course" has been designed by academics at Harvard. There's a practical reason for this: when the London school opens it won't be a separate outfit, but a "campus" eventually, it is hoped, one of several round the world stretching from Bejing to So Paulo. So if you're a globetrotting member of the elite, you'll be able to transfer your children from one to another. Thus the actress Katie Holmes, who has a child at the school in New York, "could do a season in the West End and install her daughter... in London".

The fees in New York are $43,500 a year, which sounds competitive. I wouldn't want to run the place: all those demanding, fussy mothers arriving in chauffeur-driven limos fretting about whether the canteen has enough zucchini bread or seaweed. But it seems to work, and it will probably work here too.


Tabloid money: "The upside? She'll never ask for more money"

"So let's get this right," says Carole Malone in the Sunday Mirror. "This government has set aside £58m to pay lawyers to hound and persecute British soldiers who served in Iraq. More than 1,500 soldiers [] are currently being pursued by ambulance-chasing legal firms here and by agents in Iraq with the sole intention of branding them murderers or criminals.What kind of country does that to men who have fought for it and been prepared to die for it?"

"The grand European dream of free, uncontrolled movement of people has turned into a living nightmare," says Tony Parsons in The Sun. "The countries that believed in the dream most deeply chronically liberal Sweden and endlessly generous Germany are only now realising the insanity of bringing down their borders. When the Third World was marching to Chancellor Merkel's door last summer, we heard a lot about what an enormous economic benefit the migrants would bring with them.

This turns out to be a little optimistic. In Sweden which received 163,000 asylum seekers last year in a population of just nine million it now takes an average of seven years for a newcomer to find a job. Why does Merkel imagine that Germany will do any better?"

Lightning (above) is the latest supermodel to promote designer brand Louis Vuitton, says Jane Moore in The Sun. "But unlike Cara, Gisele, Naomi, et al, she's not real: she's a virtual' model made from a cluster of pixels. The upside? She'll never ask for more money" or be pictured "falling out of nightclubs The downside? Where will Leonardo DiCaprio find his next girlfriend?"