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Carbon footprint – the total set of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event or product.
3. Read the following text about ‘hothousing’, a growing trend in British education. Some phrases have been left out of the text. Choose from phrases A-K below to complete the gaps. There is one phrase you do not need.
TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG?
It’s 10 am on a bright Saturday morning, but, in a classroom in Hertfordshire, a group of four-year-olds are starting what is, for them, a school day like any other. They start to tap at the keyboards, producing a database of all their toys. Half an hour later they write up the theory that they have just put into practice. Welcome to Ryde College, the place where you are never too young to start.
Ryde College opened in 1982 and has become famous for the precocious success of its students. Most of its pupils attend regular state primary or secondary schools during the day, and then have classes at Ryde in the evening and on Saturdays. Pupils come here to (1) ……………. . You can put a child into a ‘technology for toddlers’ class before it has reached its second birthday, or enter your seven-year-old for a GCSE.
100 per cent of Ryde GCSE students pass their exams, even though they (2) …………… in nine months. Most secondary schools cover the same syllabus in two years. Last year the college’s (3) …………… included a six-year-old who passed a GCSE in Information Technology, and a 10-year-old who passed an A-level in computing. Dr Ryde, the college’s 71-year-old founder, believes that the ethos of the college is one:
‘When a child is young, their brains are like sponges, they absorb everything you give them,’ he says. ‘By the time they are in their late teens, their ability to learn has lessened. They are the OAPs of the academic world.’
Dr Ryde calls his methods ‘accelerated learning’. Others call it hothousing. Call it what you like, but it is a growing trend in British education. These days the competition to get a child into a good school is so intense that parents are increasingly using private tutors to help their child (4) …………… . Some well-off parents even employ private tutors for their three-year-olds.
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Hothousing is also a phenomenon of the state system these days. While children used to start formal education at five, some now start at four, and (5) …………… of state pupils are taking GCSEs before they (6) …………… . In a Ryde world, all children would be able to take exams when they were ready, even to (7) …………… at 11.
Some argue that such children are being deprived of their childhood and become less well-rounded adults as a result. Dr Ryde dismisses such criticism. ‘If you have a child that is gifted in ice-skating or singing, then no-one comments if those (8) ……………at a young age,’ he says. ‘So why is it wrong to give children who have a passion for learning extra education when they are ready for it?’
- Lucy Elkins
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