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Eddie Mair | 12:40 UK time, Friday, 8 February 2008

PA reports: "Children who are taught at home or in "alternative" schools achieve far better results than pupils in state education, research found today. Pupils in Steiner schools, home education, and the "democratic schools" movement spend less time in front of a computer or television and more time reading.

The study for the Cambridge-based Primary Review found these alternatives were becoming increasingly popular among parents who are unhappy with state education. The study, by James Conroy, Moira Hulme and Ian Menter from the University of Glasgow, forms part of the biggest inquiry into primary schooling for decades.

It said: "What appears to characterise virtually all alternatives is that children's academic success in them is markedly better than in mainstream schooling. When the results are examined, these better than average performances are not simply explained by economic advantage."

The most famous "democratic school" is Summerhill, a controversial establishment where children famously choose whether to attend lessons.

In Steiner schools, young pupils learn through play and creative activities - they tend not to start formal academic studies until the age of seven."

There is a link here where you can read more. And we'll discuss it tonight.


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