London, May 3: Parents are increasingly putting their daughters young at private school in a bid to protect them from a growing 'WAG culture' that scorns academic achievement, according to a report.
Rising numbers of girls as young as two are being enrolled for a traditional education at fee-paying prep schools as parents seek to counter the belief that ignorance is attractive.
Private school leaders reported that new parents are voicing concern over the influences their daughters are exposed to - including celebrity culture and its obsession with diets and airbrushing.
They are worried their daughters will grow up believing their appearance is a route to success rather than intelligence and ambition.
Meanwhile soap opera plotlines leave girls believing it is normal to 'lurch from one drama to another'.
The Independent Association of Prep Schools reported a 1.1 per cent rise in the number of girls admitted to its schools between 2011 and 2012 - mainly at the ages of four and seven.
The intake of boys grew more modestly, at 0.4 per cent.
Across all private schools, which educate pupils up to age 18, there was a rise in the number of boys over the past year - while girls stayed steady.
But IAPS, which represents 600 fee-paying schools educating younger children, said its figures bucked the trend.
David Hanson, chief executive of the association, said parents were increasingly recognising that the culture influencing their daughters involves little more than diets, fame and soap opera lifestyles.
"There are certain environments and social circles where it is cool to be a fool, but parents are now seeing the things their daughters are exposed to, which do not necessarily affect their sons in the same way," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
"These are things like the huge quantities of perfectly air-brushed celebrities, the mass of attention given to the wives and girlfriends of footballers, and soaps where characters are celebrated for their ability to lurch from one drama to another.
"This can add up to the inference that intelligence in women is not necessary for success and parents obviously want to counter this.
"They want to make sure their girls are given all the tools they need to be confident in life and a prep school education gives them the best possible start to gain real aspiration and success.
"The women who girls at prep schools admire are high-performing teachers who are clearly attractive because they have achieved, are confident and engaging. These are the kind of role models we want for our children," Hanson added.
The figures for pupil intake confirm what schools and parents have told him, Hanson said.
He added that nearly a third of pupils - 31.4 per cent - received some financial help with fees.
"These are normal families with average incomes who believe that giving children the best possible start in life with a prep school education is the most important priority for them. Parents make enormous sacrifices to provide this for their children," Hanson said.
The number of girls in prep schools rose to 89,556 in January 2012, but boys still make up the majority of pupils, numbering 113,617. (ANI)