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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Beckham 'still a role model'
By Justin Parkinson
BBC News Online education staff, in Bournemouth

David and Victoria Beckham
David Beckham is seen as a family man
England football captain David Beckham remains a "good role model" for working-class boys, a teachers' union leader says.

Mary Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the Real Madrid player was not afraid to show his "caring side". He was also a model of hard work and achievement.

Dr Bousted's comments come after a newspaper published reports about the footballer's private life.

Speaking ahead of the ATL's annual conference in Bournemouth, she said: "David Beckham shows boys that it's OK not to be tough all the time.


"He shows we can have two sides. He plays hard on the football pitch and then goes out in a sarong."

Dr Bousted added: "David also shows that we should strive in excellence in everything we do.

"You look at some of the role models about in football who are not as savoury. David Beckham is not at all like them."

On Sunday, the News of the World published allegations about Mr Beckham's private life.

The player has described the claims as "ludicrous".

Dr Bousted acknowledged a lot of children would ask their teachers about the meaning of the allegations when they returned from the Easter holidays.

But, she added: "That might make a good item to discuss for the citizenship curriculum."

The ATL conference is scheduled to run until Thursday.

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