03/05/2012 06:43 BST | Updated 03/05/2012 09:56 BST

Parents Sending Daughters To Private Schools 'To Fight Against WAG Culture'

Parents are sending their daughters to private schools to protect them from the materialistic WAG culture, according to an independent education chief.

David Hanson, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, said: “There are certain environments and social circles where it is cool to be a fool but parents are now seeing the things their daughters are exposed to, which do not necessarily affect their sons in the same way."

The claim coincides with figures published by the association on Thursday showing a surge in the number of girls at private preparatory or "prep" schools, which educate two to 16-year-olds.

The statistics reveal the number of girls at such schools rise by 1.1% within a year, apparently due to the fight against "misguided girls thinking it's attractive to be ignorant".

Hanson continued: "These are things like the huge quantities of perfectly air-brushed celebrities and the mass of attention given to the wives and girlfriends of footballers.

"Parents obviously want to counter this."

He added the factors contributed to the view intelligence in women is not necessary for success.

"The women who girls at prep schools admire are high-performing teachers who are clearly attractive because they have achieved, are confident and engaging. These are the kind of role models we want for our children."

The association added at a time when "many young girls' ambitions can include marrying a footballer", parents want to ensure their daughters grow up with "real aspiration" and have role models with substance.


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But Robert McCartney QC, chairman of the National Grammar Schools Association, said the claims were "nebulous" in nature and a "very large generalisation".

"Some parents think that in a number of state schools there is an unhealthy emphasis by the pupils on celebrity culture," he told The Huffington Post UK. "Although this has been recognised as a problem, there is no evidence to say the private sector does not face the same issues."

McCartney continued: "[Hanson's] observations are highly exaggerated. There may be something in them but the extent to which it is a core cause of parents selecting private schools over state schools is far from proved.

"Most parents choose the private sector because there is a smaller ratio of teachers to children, however there are a number of reasons."

In April, it was revealed families facing financial difficulties are still prioritising sending their children to private schools. Despite a bleak economic background, fee-charging schools have continued to grow.