A contentious open day advertisement paid for by Vinehall School in East Sussex triggered a public backlash on Twitter. The promo, published in the local magazine Wealden Advertiser, depicted a prospective student visiting one of the school's open days in the family's "Volvo Estate."
In the advertisement, an imaginary pupil wishes his father owned a Jaguar. According to the ad, the student attends the school and becomes a successful businessman, eventually buying a Jaguar for his father when the latter retires.
High five to Vinehall School for the most cringeworthy school ad I'm ever likely to see.— Tom (@tommo_tv) 7 сентября 2018 г.
'Your mug of a dad drives a Volvo *smug muttering*… but our head drives a Jaaaaag. You might buy your pathetic Dad a Jaaag one day… come to our school"
Truly Weird.@VinehallSchool pic.twitter.com/rHaKOh1NSU
Internet users have described the ad as "hideous," with some people voicing outrage that the school would send such a message to its pupils.
Hideous as it is to anyone with a half-decent set of values, perhaps they simply know their target audience…— Words Inspire (@wordsinspireuk) 9 сентября 2018 г.
Cringe. Not only awfully conceived but hideously written. Surely no copywriter involved here. Just someone who went to public school and now teaches at one.— NickScribbler (@NickScribbler) 9 сентября 2018 г.
Are we now teaching children that the meaning of success is material wealth?? Good grief we have a long way to go and a lot better must be done to teach the important things in life. Success is more than material.— GT (@GTrapani1) 10 сентября 2018 г.
It's not even that that bothers me. Teaching a load of 8 year old to sneer at their parents who have probably sacrificed a lot to pay the fees seems awful.— Susan (filthy remoaner)🍑🍒🍌🇪🇺 (@shushitssusan) 10 сентября 2018 г.
How wonderfully tone deaf! A school is chosen for quality of education, pupil experience, school environment, subject choice, location and possibly Ofsted rating. The car the headmaster supposedly drives is utterly irrelevant.— (((Snigdha))) (@snigskitchen) 9 сентября 2018 г.
This is vile. I'm so glad I'm not teaching there!— John Bowen (@JohnBow84232339) 9 сентября 2018 г.
The Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), which unites around 670, mostly UK-based, preparatory schools, also condemned the advert. "We understand that the school deeply regrets the advert and has apologized to the parents," an IAPS spokesman said, as cited by The Telegraph.
Joff Powis, the school's headmaster, apologized for the advertisement, which he said "should have never seen the light of the day." "I must stress it is in no way a reflection of the ethos of our school and the worthwhile work we do here."
The message has been removed from the online publication of Wealden Advertiser. The school website now opens with a pop-up apology from the headmaster.
Vinehall School is an independent day and boarding school near the town of Robertsbridge, East Sussex, which caters to children aged between two and 13 and charges fees of up to 23,000 pounds (almost $30,000).