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Ladies' College principal attacks reality TV

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: August 25, 2009

Bea Hamill and Vicky Tuck

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THE principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College says she hopes reality television shows like Big Brother will soon be a thing of the past.
Writing exclusively in the Gloucestershire Echo newspaper today Vicky Tuck made her comments after the eviction of Bea Hamill from the Big Brother household.
Bea, 24, a psychology graduate, is a former Cheltenham Ladies' College student.
Ms Tuck writes in her column: "In a world of uncertainties, one thing that is guaranteed is that I shall never enter the Big Brother household.
"Of course, an invitation is unlikely to be forthcoming, but I cannot comprehend what motivates someone to want to surrender their privacy in such a way and be subjected to the scrutiny and the opprobrium of the television public
"Doubtless my antipathy is just a reflection of the generation I belong to, as it is said that today’s young have no concept of privacy, growing up, as they do, in a culture of cyber self-expression.
"I am not sure what awaits Bea following her eviction from Big Brother since, after the character assassination that seems integral to the programme, it is difficult to imagine a media career of any substance or an easy return to whatever passed previously for normality.
"I hope reality television has almost run its course but one cannot but fear that there are rather too many people recovering from the experience of their transient ‘fame’. "If the motivation to appear on television was to gain a stronger sense of self then surely this is indicative of a deep-rooted social malaise."
You can read the full column - "A matter of principal" - today and every Tuesday, exclusively in The Gloucestershire Echo.

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    hello, nowhere  |  October 15 2009, 10:20AM

    no one likes mrs tuck

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    Josephus, Cheltenham  |  August 26 2009, 4:22PM

    Nice to see my inoffensive comment about "Ms Tuck" was pulled by the site. So glad this comments area is biased towards column authors. Fail Echo, Fail.

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    Bored, Glos  |  August 26 2009, 12:06PM

    i find it funny that alot of the people comenting negativly don't watch the show or have only watched it once so how can you have an opinion on something you dont watch. unfortunatly you'll have to find something else to moan about after last year. They have anounced today that next years BB will be the last.

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    flash, glos  |  August 26 2009, 11:31AM

    For me big brother is a platform for people who are desperate for attention and are prepared to stand in front of the nation looking and behaving like total idiots. Through their desperation to become famous they do not realise they are messing with a double edged sword by being in the media.

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    Someone who can do sums..., Cheltenham  |  August 26 2009, 9:58AM

    Sam, For the record, both my primary and secondary education took place in Cheltenham in state schools. Fortunately, my teachers taught me how to do maths. I am sorry for you if you feel that sports and the arts are elitist, and I am also sorry that you completely missed the point that those examples, being at the end of my post, are minor compared to the main economic benefits of the schools in question. A more important point was that if, for example, St. Edward's was to close, there would be several hundred pupils in Charlton Kings looking for schools, but there would be no more money from the LEA to pay for them (since the vast majority of parents are already paying Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Council Tax and UK Income Tax). This could only damage good state schools such as Balcarras as they struggled to fit in more pupils with no extra funding. If, instead, you "nationalised" St. Edwards and kept the school, but turned it into a state school, there wouldn't be the space pressure on Balcarras but the resources would have to come from somewhere as parents no longer would pay fees - and they would inevitably come from other schools (as the LEA couldn't afford to increase spending by anything like enough to pay for the extra pupils), so Balcarras would lose funding. Parents sending their kids to private schools are massively subsidising Balcarras by contributing to its costs through taxation whilst not taking the places at the school that they are paying for and then paying a second time for education at a private school. As I pointed out before, this huge subsidy far outweighs any financial benefits that the parents get by the private schools being treated as a charity, and hugely benefits the kids in the state sector (such as myself) who get more resources per child from taxation than they otherwise would. The other side benefits that I mentioned are just that. Side benefits. However, the provision of extra arts and sports facilities in the town are a benefit to everyone - and many people from all classes go to the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, as well as attend cultural events. Another example, was that when Leisure@ was closed for more than a year, more than one local school used the pool at Dean Close enabling the kids to continue with their swimming lessons. I just picked three examples at random, there are many, many more. Of course, the facilities are primarily built for the benefit of the schools, but to pretend that the local community can't or doesn't get benefit from the presence of these facilities that are often used by local community groups is to close your eyes to the obvious. As for the benefits to the local ecomomy, I suggest you ask the local businesses. The ones I know are grateful for the presence of the schools and derive some income from them. Of course, they also derive income from the other sources you mention, but none of my acquantainces wish to give up any source of income, particularly at the moment when many are struggling for their business lives.

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    Ali .F, Cheltenham  |  August 26 2009, 7:38AM

    Bored, Glos.Theres nothing wrong with my life,Thankyou. I have an off button on my telly when C-@p like big brother is on, and I don't listen to radio 4, I too busy going out and socialising in the real world, with real people, not desperado's who have to ridicule themselves on TV, in hopes it gets them noticed.

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    Sam, Cheltenham  |  August 26 2009, 6:19AM

    "Someone-who-can-do-sums-" Your claim that the Bacon theatre, Cricket festival and Parabola arts Centre being some of the best reasons you could come up with to defend the elitist, clique schools that are Dean close, CLC and the gentlemens college, are completely idiotic. Whilst I defend the right of anyone with enough money to choose what to do with it and spend it as they wish, these arts centres, cricket festivals and theatres are there primarily to serve the schools that they are situated at. There are many state schools in Cheltenham which hold events that are just as deserving of the press's attention (midsummer music-Balcarras, being just one), these events are organised, funded and put on by Teachers, pupils and parents, who want to see their children achieving something for themselves in the real world. Cheltenham is a spa town, with a booming tourist industry, world renound race course and festivals. The fee paying schools may line the wallets of those who hold a stake in them, but hardly benefit Cheltenham as a whole... Mrs Tuck- Big Brother is fatuous at best, but I doubt whether you will be invited to appear on the show anyway, so I wouldn't get too hot under the collar about it.

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    Chris, Gloucester  |  August 25 2009, 10:33PM

    In my view if you are a fan of "big brother" you need to get a life of your own. I watched one episode and quickly concluded it was complete rubbish. There is more interest and/or entertainment in watching paint dry. And where do they find these people? They hardly appear the most "balanced" examples of society? Is this "care in the community" in the 21st century?

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    Someone who can do sums.., Cheltenham  |  August 25 2009, 10:04PM

    Tom, you really need to brush up on your maths. Many of the people you resent are paying towards state schools through their taxes whilst not using the places their taxes provide (the majority of parents of private school kids are UK taxpayers). However, as they are sending their kids to private school they are subsidising state schools since they are in effect paying twice for education. If you banned private education (or limited it further by forcing prices even higher so that even fewer people can afford it) the effect would be to bring more children into the state sector, but there would be no more money following them. Result: more overcrowded schools OR higher taxes for everyone to pay for the extra places needed in the state sector. Anyone with a basic education and a calculator ought to be able to work out that the benefit to the pupils in the state sector of their schools receiving the taxes of people whose kids are at private schools and hence not using state-funded places far outweighs any tax advantages that the private schools get by being treated as charities. Locally, if the local day kids from schools such as Dean Close, the Ladies' College, St. Edward's, Cheltenham College, Rendcomb and Wycliffe all entered the local state schools, the extra pressure on the state schools would only hurt the kids already there, especially as there would be no extra money available for teachers, facilities or buildings. Of course, some of the private pupils are foreign pupils (and so aren't paying UK tax), but the money they bring to the town is of great benefit to local business and directly or indirectly supports local jobs. Removing that money from the local economy would hurt local people. Again, these facts are obvious to anyone who can count. Finally, without Cheltenham's private schools we would have far fewer facilities that benefit many people in the town. For example, many people go to productions at the Bacon Theatre at Dean Close, the new Parabola Arts Centre of the Ladies' College will benefit people in the wider community as local community groups will be using it, and there wouldn't be any first class cricket in Cheltenham if the College didn't have the facilities to put it on etc. etc. Finally, I am aware that many of these local private schools raise a good deal of money for local and national charities and many of the kids (of course with some obnoxious exceptions) are well aware of their obligations to society.

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    Tom, Local  |  August 25 2009, 9:24PM

    Clarissa, Didn't understand a word but what the hell! BB is cr@p! It's good viewing for giro numpties and sociologists. Spot the difference, I can't. This t@art does not deserve the attention she is getting. What is important is the profile being created by Ms Tuck. It is a diversion from the fact that public schools are under pressure to lose their charity status. This means that school fees will no longer be tax-free. Do we agree that the rich should be subsidised by the rest of society through the taxation system? Forget this person and go for the principle, the public school system is wrong!