Parents who allow their children to dress in provocative clothing, wear make-up and high heels have lost their sense of traditional values, according to a leading school headmistress.

Some parents have been so deprived in their own lives of education and values, that they no longer know right from wrong, said Helen Wright, headmistress of St Mary's Calne, a private girls' boarding school in Wiltshire.

They are as a result, unwittingly 'indulging' children in some parallel universe where it is acceptable to let young children wear make-up and provocative clothing.

The 41-year-old -- who is also president of the Girls' Schools Association -- said that if parents can't see anything wrong in allowing their children to wear make-up, high heels and mini-me sexy clothing, then something is intensely wrong in our society.

Her comments, to an educational conference on Monday, come as Britain prepares to clamp down on the use of sexualised imagery in music videos and advertising campaigns.

The mother of three young children criticised television talent shows such as the X Factor where contestants are catapulted into a spotlight which can be far too much for them and said she was shocked by the sexual imagery used by advertisers in magazines for very young children.

What hope have we got of safeguarding our children's sacred childhood if they are knocked off their feet on the nursery slopes of life by an avalanche of images and malign influences? she said. And make no mistake, this is what is happening.

(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang, editing by Paul Casciato)