Top head attacks private school parents over fear of failure

The Times is reporting that a leading head has warned that parents at Britain’s leading private schools are terrified of their children’s failure and how it will reflect on themselves…

The report says that Clarissa Farr, head of St Paul’s Girls’ School in west London, made a series of outspoken comments including accusing high-achieving parents of “affluent neglect”, where she claims children are not shown enough attention in the evenings.

She also suggested many parents refuse to accept their child coming second and warned that children were growing up unable to cope with failure as a result.

The report quotes Mrs Farr as saying: “Parents have very high aspirations — they have a kind of ticking, frenetic anxiety — even the ones who are delightful to deal with are on edge because they haven’t really got enough time to have the conversation they’re trying to have with you.

“Anything that might result in success not happening for their son or daughter, in however small an arena, they’re very frightened of.”

More at: Top head attacks parents (subscription may be required)


Thoughts on the impact of these kinds of parental attitudes and how they can be tackled? And is this just a private school issue or do you see similar attitudes on the state sector too? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Parenting and Private Schools.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Parents who pay £30k per year are entitled to expect favourable results, but delusional results may be what this HT means

  2. The_little_pea

    SchoolsImprove I bet most parents dislike the homework set which takes up evenings but accept it’s necessary. My son expected to do his

  3. The_little_pea

    SchoolsImprove a good form of learning discipline but show me someone who likes homework. Parents don’t choose what work kids do. Necessary

  4. FionaTipper

    SchoolsImprove what a massive generalisation! I am sure that there are a few parents in every school that feel this kind of stress.

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