Pushy parents stress out children, Eton head says

BBC News, 18.05.15, there has been a rise in the number of parents "living their lives through their ambitions for their children", the head teacher of Eton has said. Features HMC member Tony Little, head of Eton College.

Tony Little, who is leaving the school, said most parents had been "supportive" but there were now "more pressures on young people than ever before".

And if his pupils failed to conform to parents' "outcome template", it could "add to the stresses" in their life.

Eton employs a full-time psychologist to promote "good mental health".

"For some it feels like a bereavement when something goes unexpectedly wrong, and others recalibrate and pretend things just don't happen as they have," Mr Little told the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference's Insight magazine.

Sarah Welch, who will chair the Independent Schools Association, said the parents at Gosfield School, in Essex, where she is principal, were worried about the amount of stress their children were under from exams, social networking and peer pressure.

"Children don't learn unless they are happy," she said.

More independent schools were employing counsellors and using techniques such as mindfulness, she said.

"Pastoral care is a focus for us, and we are looking a lot more at how we support our young people at school."

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