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Inside the state school offering a £30,000-a-year standard of education

In an old Ministry of Justice building by St James’s Park station, I’m taking part in an educational experiment. Only it doesn’t feel much like one. It feels like a discussion of English literature in which I am barely keeping my head above water. A small class of a dozen 16- and 17-year-old girls and boys are talking about temptation in WH Auden’s Horae Canonicae, in a detailed and difficult manner. Their teacher, Charlotte Fox, keeps a gentle hand on the tiller, but mainly they are arguing among themselves. The debate is at a level that would have held its own in my university English classes at Cambridge.

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