Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Westminster's Paving Is School Auction Top Lot

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Westminster's Paving Is School Auction Top Lot

Article excerpt

THE great Westminster School auction is drawing to a close, with parents and alumni still frantically bidding on everything from school signet rings at [pounds sterling]221 to a holiday in Uruguay for [pounds sterling]12,000.

The annual fundraising auction has already created controversy because 22 unpaid internships were among the lots. Nick Clegg announced two years ago that he wanted to stop young people from managing to get internships just because their parents had "whispered in the ear" of the right person. But at Clegg's alma mater you don't have to do any whispering at all -- you just need to donate to the school.

Among the internships, a week's work with a criminal barrister is currently the most competitive at [pounds sterling]800, although several placements have quietly disappeared.

Westminster's head, Dr Stephen Spurr, explains that "awkwardly for us, a very small minority of our donors, with the very best of intentions, have made offers that were later found to be in conflict with their organisations' rules and have subsequently had to ask for them to be withdrawn". …

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