A PRIVATE school accused of “everyday sexism” has defended an advert which shows a boy pupil aiming to be a lawyer and a girl hoping to be a singer.

Ardingly College, a £34,400-a-year boarding school near Haywards Heath, has faced criticism on Twitter for its advert.

But the headteacher told The Argus the labels were the personal ambitions of the students pictured in the billboard and that other adverts in the campaign showed different preferences.

The advert, which has been running on Sussex buses for more than a month, is headlined “World Ready” and shows a male pupil with the labels “politician”, “lawyer”, swimmer” while his female counterpart is labelled “vocalist” “actor”, “writer”.

One Twitter user asked “is this not entry level sexism?” while another said: “Really disappointed at your advert. Wouldn’t send my daughters here.”

Tanya Taylor tweeted a picture of the advert and wrote: “#everydaysexism shame on you Ardingly College.”

Brighton and Hove city councillor Emma Daniel said her friends had been outraged, adding: “I am sure not intentional but as a politician with a law degree I do find it a little cliche.”

Student Joely McEwan said she and her friend were disgusted by the advert.

However the college is concerned casual observers may have misinterpreted its campaign.

Headteacher Ben Figgis said: “The key point about our ads is that the children themselves have chosen the career ambitions that feature alongside them. As a school we have not put words into their mouths, nor would we want to.

“We have featured girls aspiring to become scientists and surgeons as well as boys becoming writers and linguists.

“Among our girls, one is the head of our engineering project Ardingly Solar, while another recently became a finalist in the UK Space Design competition.

"But we also celebrate girls succeeding as artists, musicians and any other ambition they pursue.”

Fees at the college are £11,470 a term for sixth form boarders and £11,135 for boarders in lower years. Day student fees below sixth form are £7,665 per term.