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Ronseal spreads

21 Jul 09 | Re: An ad campaign with stamina

Wow, those Ronseal ads have now permeated the public consciousness to the point where people can’t seemingly remember where the phrase “It does exactly what it says on the tin” even came from, or how it is meant to be used.

The story so far: the Charity Commission is getting tough on independent (private) schools who claim charitable status without really doing much to benefit anyone who doesn’t pay for the privilege. They warned all the schools to start helping the needy a while ago, and now they’ve started checking to see if they’re actually doing it. Schools had understood that they could either comply by sharing facilities and collaborating with state schools, or by offering bursaries to impoverished urchins, but now it seems that the Commission is breaking its word: they want to see hordes of pasty-faced urchins filling the corridors, and no amount of collaborative outreach will compensate if they aren’t there.

The Times Educational Supplement will now take up the story...

‘Independent school leaders have condemned the reports [of schools being clamped down on for a lack of bursaries]. David Lyscom, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, pointed out that many independent schools have established partnerships with nearby comprehensives, sharing teacher expertise and facilities.

‘“The commission has been saying all along that it will be looking at means-tested bursaries, but also at schools’ interaction with local communities,” he said. “They’re not doing what they said on the tin.”’

I wonder if Ronseal even dreamed, when they came up with that slogan, that it would one day be misused by the chief executive of the Independent Schools Council. Life can be funny at times.

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