The stress of Sats is driving parents away

Having fun in the geography-art class at AKS

Having fun in the geography-art class at AKS

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The chaos surrounding this year’s Sats test has been driving parents out of 
state-run schools say Lancashire heads.

Private schools across the area have seen an increase in the number of people turning up to open days with many looking for an alternative to the demands of mainstream school.

Bucking the national and regional trend, AKS in Lytham has seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of new starters for September.

That is 12 per cent up on last year in a falling market.

Headteacher Mike Walton said: “I believe this growth is due to the holistic, high quality education that is valued by our community.

“Hence the focus on our three core values of academic ambition, individual pathways and success and value.

“The Independent Schools Inspectorate summarised recently: ‘The quality of curricular and extra-curricular provision is excellent’.”

The Steiner School in Lancaster is having to take on extra staff to cope with a surge in demanded for places.

Staff said most of the new interest was from parents of primary-aged children already in mainstream school.

This was a departure from the usual pattern, where children join the kindergarten .

Trustee Mike Eyre said: “Parents are very worried by the Government’s new testing regime for young children.

“Visitors have expressed concern that their children are under increasing pressure which is impacting on their self-esteem and innate love of learning.

“Some parents have told us that their children regularly come home from school in a state of distress.

“Steiner education allows kids to be kids, creating an environment where their innate love of learning can come to the fore, and where they can develop as well-rounded individuals with good self-esteem and social skills.

“We have never seen such a dramatic increase in interest and are in the process of recruiting new staff in order to ensure that we don’t have to turn prospective pupils away.”