A new survey has found the David and Victoria Beckham are the celebrities most school children would aspire to be, according to teachers.

A study by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found 53 per cent of teachers say their pupils modelled themselves on the La Galaxy footballer, with 30 per cent claiming school children aspire to be like his Spice Girl wife.

Sporting stars such as Beckham, Frank Lampard and Lewis Hamilton were seen as the celebrities most children aspire to be, while pop stars such as Posh Spice, the Sugababes and Leona Lewis viewed as role models.

However, teachers and lecturers professed to being troubled by the number of pupils who wish to be 'famous for being famous' - with one teacher quoting a pupil as saying she wanted 'to be a WAG', while 32 per cent of secondary school teachers said pupils aspired to be like Paris Hilton.

ATL general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, said she was "not surprised" by the impact of celebrity culture and reality TV on school children.

"It reflects the current media obsession with celebrity and the effect of celebrity culture on society as a whole," she added, though she admitted some celebrities can be positive role models for pupils.

"However, we are deeply concerned many pupils' believe celebrity status is available to everyone," Ms Bousted explained.

"They do not understand the hard work it takes to achieve such status and do not think it is important to be actively engaged in school work as education is not needed for a celebrity status.

"Celebrity culture can perpetuate the notion that celebrity status is the greatest achievement and reinforces the belief that other career options are not valuable."

Other celebrities believed to be admired by school children included Keira Knightley, David Tennant and Lily Allen.

14/03/2008 00:01:01