Education fit for a King?


“Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.”  Benjamin Disraeli

The wonderful movie The King’s English is a testament to an unlikely but crucial antipodean contribution, sans flattery, to the personal development of King George VI, enabling him to master a speech impediment at a time when the new royal voice needed to be heard as clearly, if not as fluently, as the voice of Adolf Hitler.

Education New Zealand, as part of a campaign to poach disgruntled British students, has just offered a New Zealand university education for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first born in a quarter-page advertisement in The Times* which lays it on with an anachronistic trowel.

“The colonies are aflutter with your wonderful news, and we wanted to be the first to send our best wishes with a gift,”  the advert fawned, before describing “a New Zealand education as fit for a king – or queen.”

Another advertisement encouraging English students to study in New Zealand ran in The Independent, alongside reports of thousands of students protesting against moves to treble a yearly fee cap of NZ$9900.

Education New Zealand spokeswoman Michelle Waitzman said it had never targeted the British market before but had seized recent opportunities.

Despite the mock forelock tugging  tone of the ads, ENZ, before it is  restructured (Split ENZ?),  has managed to get the timing of this campaign spot on. New Zealand has just been ranked fifth on an international scale of comparative prosperity, with its education system rating as the best in the world. The ratings have been published by Britain’s Legatum Institute* (not PullYourLegatum as some unkindly critics may aver). The institute has been attempting to produce different kinds of indices to mainstream economic scales to broaden the criteria.

If a royal child is duly born and ENZ is successful in its quest for royal business, then I can offer some help design the ermine curriculum. When I was teaching at Cashmere High School in the Sixties and Seventies the school used to attract a lot of distinguished visitors because the founding principal Terry (later Sir Terence) McCombs was a well-connected former Labour Minister of Education. UK visitors to my own classroom included Labour Secretary of Education Shirley Smith followed a little later by a rising Conservative star called Margaret Thatcher with the Opposition shadow portfolio of Education. (She proceeded to take over my lesson in a manner she perfected on a somewhat bigger stage some years later. I had to let her:  there was no alternative).

 We also had several royal visits. On one occasion, when Princess Anne was doing the honours, I got the obligatory every-seventh- person handshake and brief royal chat. The Princess asked me what I taught. I replied History and added conversationally (but not protocolly) that  my Form 7 class was currently studying English Constitutional History. She pondered this for a moment, said “A subject about which I know very little” and quickly moved down the line.

I thus feel modestly qualified to offer the following Kiwi curricular advice for a new generation of royals and their progeny.

Regal Courses for Horses

Kingston Early Childhood Centre  “Ensure your child gets off to a flier by building a head of self-esteem.”  Partial subsidies may be available, but don’t count on it.

Queenstown Primary  “Turning the Queen’s English into a genuine Southern Man drawl or your shilling back”. Staffed by authentic (looking) Southern Men*. Horses, sheep and brown drinking vessels provided. Guaranteed sheila free for those concerned about the feminization of education.

Crown Range Outdoor Education Centre (CREAC) Pedestrian and equestrian experience-based learning. “We guarantee any royal that never the Shania Twain shall meetnor any Simpsons”.  In association with Outward Bound participants also experience six months in a leaky boat* to prepare them for real life up the creek without a paddle.

Royal Auckland Crammer School “Why worry about qualifying for Oxbridge when you can get your Cambridge qualifications downunder- financed by Her Majesty’s Loyal Taxpayers.”  Less cognitively abled pupils have the option of NCEA/PA (National Certicate of Educational Achievement in Performing Arts).

In the antenatal meantime, we at Lukey Resources would be pleased to design, by Royal Appointment, some virtual learning classes for Will and Kate. Here is a draft curriculum:

Sexuality Education for Royals     Handling Common Problems. FAQs re gender orientation and lifestyle choices. Practical pre-matrimonial prerequisites and perquisites.

Regal Body Language  Royal silly walks, hand clasping, cuff-shooting, hand- shaking, gaffe-avoidance.  HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is the 2011 Virtual Visiting Fellow.

Class Classes  How to stop worrying about pedigrees and learn to love reruns of “Outrageous Fortune”. The faculty for this classical course is 100% Pure Westie with 50% impaired faculties. All tutors have been weeded in by a selection process of real substance which ensures there are  no bogus bogans.

Notional Standards For the upholding of, while at home or abroad, especially in the colonies.  Take advantage of some underutilized capacity available for an immediate start. No trial necessary.

Reciprocal Possibilities

There are also some few reciprocal possibilities with great franchise potential for the following UK educational institutes to set up downunder. We can help via our SmartNet network with any or all of the following:

The Prince Charles Society for the Protection of Plants and the Eradication of Architects
Post-earthquake Christchurch offers wonderful opportunities to recruit new members.

Crown Research Institute for Non-Government Enterprises (CRINGE)
A conservation campaign is urgently needed to protect endangered Kiwi businesses from extinction during a significant era of economic global cooling.

The David Beckham Institute of Non-Posh Elocution Accelerated action learning programmes for unlearning the Queen’s Speech. The chief tutor’s Maori tattoo proves that his kiwi connection is more than skin deep.

The Tony Blair Academy of Political Triangulation
Fully endorsed by the American Republican Party, the Tea Party, the G&T Party and the Holy See No Evil. Customised non-evidential maths instruction programmes are a timely offering for any Labour Party in any election year.


A  word of warning: the young Royals should pre-pay perinatally for the tuition of their impending progeny. The way things are going, by 2029, the ETA at university of their first child, tertiary education in New Zealand will cost a king’s ransom.

#Blinks  Speights Southern Man VID  Split Enz – Six Months In A Leaky Boat  VID

#Lyall Lukey 30 Jan 2011 My other (bit more serious) blog


One Response to “Education fit for a King?”

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