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IT'S SKOOL; Playground chic is in - so let us guide.

Byline: BY OUR REPORTER JENNIE BIBBINGS

IT'S time to get back to school - and that's not just kids either.

Playground chic is the latest look to hit the high street, and skool is currently the epitome of cool.

The new season's must-haves are stripy ties, long socks and pleated miniskirts - dig out your old ones, buy 'em new, or nick 'em from the kids.

Tart it all up St Trinian's-style with bunches and fishnets, and you're ready for a sneaky snog round the back of the bike sheds.

The trend for all things academic has spilled over onto the internet with friendsreunited. co. uk, a massively popular website where you can access messages posted by all your exschoolmates and find out if they've become more successful than you since.

Club nights like schooldisco. com in London's Hammersmith are all the rage, with thousands of clubbers in blazers and caps lining up to bop to fave 1980s tunes.

Celebs have been going mad for classroom cool, with former Baby Spice Emma Bunton turning up at a pal's fancy dress bash last week in a saucy schoolma'am costume complete with cane and mortarboard.

And chart-topping sexpots Atomic Kitten posed for this month's Maxim magazine in revealing uniforms and cheek-skimming skirts.

We got gorgeous model Sarah Burge to show us what look's top of the class this autumn . . .

A model education OUR 'playground chic'model, fiery redhead Sarah Burge says she can't remember spending much time in class at school - she was too busy playing football for Wales.

The 19-year-old business student, from Llanishen, was on the Welsh women's squad for two years.

"I played netball for county level for about six years, and one day when I was about 13 a scout came to watch me play, and they asked me if I'd be interested in playing football, " she says.

"We lost against England which was absolutely gutting - but the girls were a lot bigger than us!

"After about two years of just getting beaten I decided to quit and went back to netball.

"Looking back, I used to have such a laugh in school. It's not the same now."

And stunning Sarah reckons St Trinian's chic scores top marks.

"I love the skirts - skirts are the way forward. And I really like the cheerleading outfit.

"I've worn stuff like this before. On my 19th birthday we all dressed up for a night on the town. There was about 20 girls, half dressed as policewomen, half as St Trinian's girls and me any my best friend went as cheerleaders.

"I didn't think we'd get the biggest reaction but we really did as cheerleaders. Everyone all night was trying to nick our pompoms!"

Reunited we stand LOG onto friendsreunited. co. uk and you're one of three million people a day who go on the website to have a peek at what their old school pals are up to.

Launched in October last year, it's even caught on with celebs and the likes of Liz Hurley and Dale Winton have added their names to the database of more than a million users.

According to msn. co. uk it's the most searched-for site on the web at the mo.

So with a due sense of dread and curiosity, and hoping I wouldn't come away feeling like a sad under-achiever, I popped on to see what my old chums from Caerleon Comprehensive are up to today.

Caerleon Comp, when I left in 1993, was chock-full of Benetton-clad blondes who spent their lunchtimes nibbling lettuce and tossing their hair about.

They didn't like me and I didn't like them, so I'm not sure why I'd want to know what kind of six-figure salary they're all earning today.

After all, if you wanted to bother with these people you wouldn't have lost touch in the first place, would you?

I think I was secretly hoping they'd all had babies at 16 and were living in council accommodation until their hubbies got out of prison.

Horribly, if you want to view other people's messages you have to leave one of your own, and be warned - the urge to lie is very strong.

In fact one girl from my school said she was "training to be an astronaught (sic) and hoping to solve the Omega equation in my spare time".

And sure enough, everyone from my year at school had done sickeningly well.

Most of them lived in London and had job titles like "media marketing account subdirector".

Note to self: if Caerleon Comp ever holds a reunion party, hire stretch limo, massive diamonds and stunning male escort . . .
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 2, 2001
Words:767
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