London, July 1 : Britain's education policy is leading to the "cultural and intellectual impoverishment" of a generation of school going kids, says a leading headmistress.
Bernice McCabe, head of the independent North London Collegiate School, said that the introduction of new-style courses - teaching children how to use English and mathematics in the work place - has been at the expense of academic rigour.
She said that in recent years children's enjoyment of subjects at school had taken a back seat as ministers use education as a vehicle to boost their basic skills.
McCabe condemned the "woolliness" of the present system in which subjects were "relegated to the bottom of the pile".
She made the comments at an annual summer school for teachers - staged by a charity founded by the Prince of Wales.
The Prince's Teaching Institute was established in 2002 to encourage staff to rediscover their passion for subjects, such as English, history, geography and science.
McCabe, the course director, said it was "not always easy" for teachers to focus on academic subjects because of political interference.
"I believe strongly that academic standards are also improved by offering more ambitious and challenging lessons, rather than those that are merely 'relevant' and accessible," the Telegraph quoted her, as saying.