- Children between the ages of 11 and 13 are being forced
to grow up too soon, the leader of Britain's private prep schools said
- George Marsh, head of Dulwich College prep school in
London and new chairman of the Incorporated Association of Preparatory
Schools, said that "tweenagers" were bombarded with media-led
and sometimes parent-led hysteria to grow up.
- "In households where both parents work, they sometimes
look to children to take responsibility for themselves earlier than in
the past: children are expected to get themselves home and to buy their
- He told the association'sannual conference in Bristol
that schools had increasingly had to fill the gap left by parents. Pupils
who had taken on the physical form of teenagers but were still mentally
children needed the care prep schools gave.
- "They deserve a childhood," he said. "They
need our protection." When society was increasingly obsessed with
exams, it was important for schools to take a balanced view.
- He compared the examcentred lives of pupils in state
primary schools aged 10 and 11 with the broad curriculum offered in prep
schools. Unlike independent schools, state schools are compelled by law
to prepare pupils for national tests at 11 and their resultsappear in league
- "What sort of education are those children receiving
if their [state] primary schools are doing little in Year 6 except working
towards tests? Thank goodness our independence allows us to offer variety,
specialist teaching and academic challenges to our pupils."
- He added that independent schools, too, had to ask whether
children were being overloaded with exams, national tests, spelling tests,
verbal reasoning tests, IQ tests and extra maths tests. They prepared pupils
for the Common Entrance exam for senior independent schools, taken at age
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