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Ardingly College private school that charges £36,000-a-year and counts Jon Snow and Ian Hislop as alumni is slammed for 'sexist' advert calling boys aspiring lawyers and girls writers

  • Ardingly College is the £36,000-a-year boarding school near Haywards Heath 
  • The senior school advert, which has been displayed on Sussex buses for more than a month, is headlined 'World Ready' and is aimed at lauding the college 
  • It shows a boy aspiring to be a lawyer and the girl counterpart as a vocalist
  • But the school's headteacher Ben Figgis said the criticism was wide of the mark and 'casual observers' had 'misinterpreted' the advertising campaign 

A top private school has been accused of sexism for an advert which shows a boy pupil aiming to be a rich lawyer and a girl setting her sights as an Adele wannabe or an Eastenders soap star.

Ardingly College is the £36,000-a-year boarding school near Haywards Heath, Sussex, where Have I Got News for You TV star Ian Hislop was head boy and where news presenter Jon Snow was a pupil.

The advert, which has been displayed on Sussex buses for more than a month, is headlined 'World Ready' and is aimed at lauding the college.

But it has been labelled politically incorrect after showing a boy pupil with labels showing he aspires to be a politician, lawyer or swimmer, while a girl counterpart has the tags 'vocalist', 'actor', 'writer'.

The advert, which has been displayed on Sussex buses for more than a month, is headlined 'World Ready' and is aimed at lauding the college

The advert, which has been displayed on Sussex buses for more than a month, is headlined 'World Ready' and is aimed at lauding the college

Ardingly College is the £36,000-a-year boarding school near Haywards Heath, Sussex, where Have I Got News for You TV star Ian Hislop was head boy and where news presenter Jon Snow was a pupil

Ardingly College is the £36,000-a-year boarding school near Haywards Heath, Sussex, where Have I Got News for You TV star Ian Hislop was head boy and where news presenter Jon Snow was a pupil

One Twitter user asked 'is this not entry level sexism?' while another said 'really disappointed at your advert. Wouldn't send my daughters here.'

Tanya Taylor tweeted a picture of the advert and wrote '#everydaysexism shame on you Ardingly College'.

Brighton and Hove city councillor Emma Daniel said she and her friends had been outraged, adding 'I am sure not intentional but as a politician with a law degree I do find it a little cliche.'

Student Joely McEwan said she and her friends were 'disgusted' by the advert.

But headteacher Ben Figgis said the criticism was wide of the mark and 'casual observers' had 'misinterpreted' the advertising campaign.

He said the tags attached to the boy and girl pupils were 'the personal ambitions of the students pictured in the billboard' and that other adverts in the campaign showed different preferences.

Headteacher Ben Figgis said the criticism was wide of the mark and 'casual observers' had 'misinterpreted' the advertising campaign

Headteacher Ben Figgis said the criticism was wide of the mark and 'casual observers' had 'misinterpreted' the advertising campaign

'The key point about our ads is that the children themselves have chosen the career ambitions that feature alongside them. As a school we have not put words into their mouths, nor would we want to.

'We have featured girls aspiring to become scientists and surgeons as well as boys becoming writers and linguists.

'Among our girls, one is the head of our engineering project Ardingly Solar, while another recently became a finalist in the UK Space Design competition.

'But we also celebrate girls succeeding as artists, musicians and any other ambition they pursue.'

On social media, Maxwell's Ghost posted 'If you were paying 36k a year you would hope your kids would have more ambition than being a pop star or a fat, lazy, useless Sussex MP.

'What an uninspiring advert. Save your cash and spend it on a house for your kid and put them in a good state school.'

But Humbersupersnipe wrote 'Depends on your value judgments, and how you value each career.

'Money, happiness, with plasterers earning 10% more than architects as a broad average – career options are a minefield.' 

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