Some friends of mine whose child starts school this September, recalled the moment they decided to opt out of state education. They have instead chosen to spend a large amount of money that they can't really afford and will involve them making some real sacrifices.
They were being given a tour round a primary school and the teacher proudly indicated the complete absence of desks. She then enthusiastically announced that all learning was done 'through play' and every child would learn at their own pace, without any pressure. 'Happy children' was their goal.
My friends' hearts sank as they realised they were listening to an imbecile. Unfortunately this was their third and final possible school and they had heard very similar words twice before. (Peppered with phrases such as 'Child-centric', 'non-divisive', 'unpressured learning environment', 'happiness-focussed', understanding the individual', 'emphasising creativity and self expression' etc until they were about to scream).
They are intelligent people and realise that their child would probably thoroughly enjoy his time at any of the three schools. However they also realise that unfortunately, all children learn to do through play is, funnily enough- to play.