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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 08:05 GMT
Pupils learn which cutlery to use
Brighton College
Teenagers are being taught which cutlery to use at dinner
Pupils are being taught which cutlery to use and whether to remove their jackets at dinner at an independent school in Brighton.

Brighton College introduced the classes in etiquette after a survey of company directors said graduates displayed impoliteness and poor table manners.

Headmaster Richard Cairns said exams were "only part" of preparation for adult life.

He said pupils also needed to know how they were meant to conduct themselves.

The classes offer year nine boys and girls at the fee-paying school instruction on practical matters to equip them for civilised society, he added.

Richard Cairns
They should know how to reply to a formal invitation
Richard Cairns

The 13 to 14-year-olds are invited each week to lunch or dinner in the headmaster's house where subjects include how to deal with food they dislike.

The course was introduced this term at the 140-pupil college where boarders pay more than 24,000 a year.

Other lessons include how to iron a shirt, lay a table, reply to an invitation, tie a bow tie and how to waltz.

Mr Cairns said: "Our role is to equip our pupils for all aspects of adult life.

"Exams are only a part of that preparation.

"Just as important, in my view, is whether a young person has a grasp of basic etiquette.

"They should know how to reply to a formal invitation and they should understand how they are meant to conduct themselves."

The survey last month by the Institute of Directors said a quarter of company directors believed recent graduates showed impoliteness and poor table manners which could project an unprofessional image.

Classes in basic etiquette are taught at Brighton College

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