2 + 2 = 5

Last week was quite a week at Tutors International, with the world’s press reporting on Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s search for a tutor with Tutors International.  Reports in many newspapers, including established and reliable ones, proclaimed as fact something which appears to have started in The Sun, a UK tabloid.  Radio 5 Live and The One Show were both in touch to verify the story.  LBC called too and I was invited to join a live broadcast on Friday 3rd June.  The Tutor recruitment site received a huge rush of applications from Oxbridge educated classicists, many of whom spoke several languages and played multiple instruments as well as being keen sportsmen and women.  All very impressive.

The position they were all looking at can be seen at this link https://www.tutors-international.net/for_tutors/advert_details.php?jobno=158  It had the designation LON 0211, which one would have thought would have given most Oxbridge types pause for thought, especially if they’d looked at other jobs and seen that one was GEN 0311, another PUT 0411.  A pattern?  In the numbers? 0211, 0311, 0411…  What could it mean?  Could it be…wait for it…a timeline…some indication of date perhaps?  No!!  If that were the case then it would mean that the LON 0211 job was first posted in February 2011, long before Gwyneth and Chris revealed their plans to the press last week.  How could that be…  It would mean….no, not possible, the story was in the Daily Telegraph and the The Times, as well as being all over the web…that the press was wrong.  But so many of them wrong?  Yes!  All of them?  Yes.  All of them.

Indeed, were Tutors International recruiting a Tutor for this family we would not have revealed this to anyone.  We never reveal this kind of information, except in person at interview once confidentiality documents have been signed.  And even then only with the Client’s permission.  Discretion.  Yes, of course we have been appointed by some celebrities, some heads of state, royal families, and others in the public eye.  Our Clients can be assured that their identities will not be exposed by Tutors International.   Had we been asked to confirm the story we would have denied it (unless, I suppose, we had been instructed by the Client to the contrary, and even then I would have resisted such a stance).  It would have been counterproductive to share such information ahead of a recruitment like this.  It would have generated applications from people more interested in who they might be working for than the role they are there for.

I cannot tell you how many starry-eyed classics graduate’s applications I received in response to the hullabaloo.  Or rather, I won’t tell you.  Suffice to say, it was lots.  Among them have been applications from people keen to show me how pretty they are — if they are photographed out and about with Mrs Martin’s children they’ll look good for the media, they point out.  Among them have been applications from people who want a foot in the door for their own acting or music careers – when Mr Martin hears how well I play ukulele with Apple he’s sure to introduce me to a record producer…  I’m sure some applications were from genuine educators who didn’t care about who they were working for — or didn’t see or hear all the fuss — but then again why did none of these apply when we ran the advertisement in the Times Educational Supplement between February and May…?

So, where did the story come from, and what really is going on?  My guess is this…  My guess is that Gwyneth and Chris mentioned to someone that they are looking for a Tutor or or more than usually well-educated nanny, and want someone educated and smart, someone who will play intelligent games with Apple and Moses, someone who will help them explore their own ideas in a way that a very good child-care Nanny might not be able to.

At Tutors International we’re asked for this kind of person all the time, so that sounds plausible.

Someone close to the family may have mentioned this idea to someone else in the presence of some eavesdropping paparazzi who went, cap in hand, to the press.  Then some reporter, keen to try to substantiate an otherwise silly announcement, went online digging for the kind of company that might be able to find such a remarkable person for this kind of a role.  There’s not a lot of choice.  When they  found a listing on our web site that looked like it might fit, they printed the job description, which was real but for a different family, and set off a chain reaction across the web that, quite honestly, was amazing.  At its apogee there were some 588,000 sites carrying the story… (according to Google).

The thing is, whoever did this in the first place put 2 and 2 together to get 5.

Let’s hope that if they are looking for someone to work with Apple and Moses they get someone who does not make the elementary miscalculation.


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