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The next middle class

I spent a year observing pupils at an Ilford comprehensive and met the new generation of upwardly mobile Britons. Family values, hard work and religion are all back—but not politics

By Fran Abrams   October 2006

One day, sitting in their neat flat in Ilford, 11-year-old Ruhy and her mum are musing on what she will do when she grows up. Maybe she’ll be a designer, she thinks, but probably she’ll go to university. Which one should she choose?

Her mum has one question for me: “Which is the best university in England?”

“Oxford or Cambridge.”

“So,” she says, definite now. “There are two universities you could go to. Oxford or Cambridge.”

It is no idle dream. Ruhy, who spoke no English when she came here from Iran at the age of four, achieved some…

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