Hothouse flowers: Part 2

Dr. Ryde calls his methods 'accelerated learning'. Others call it hothousing. Call it what you like, but it is a growing trend in British education. These days the competition to get a child into a good school is so intense that parents are increasingly using private tutors to help their child survive the education system. Some well-off parents even employ private tutors for their three-year-olds. Hothousing is also a phenomenon of the state system these days. Whereas children used to start formal education at five, some now start at four, and increasing numbers of state pupils are taking GCSEs before they reach secondary school. In a Ryde world, all children would be able to take exams when they were ready, even to start degrees at 11. Some argue that such children are being deprived of their childhood and become less well-rounded adults as a result. Dr. Ryde dismisses such criticism. 'If you have a child that is gifted in ice skating or singing, then no- one comments if those children get extra training at a young age, he says. 'So why is it wrong to give children who have a passion for learning extra education when they are ready for it?'

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