So let me give you some background about me. I am privately educated from beginning to end, other than a short stint at a state sixth form college that did not go well at all. I thoroughly enjoyed my education and consider it to have given me the tools I needed in order to do well at school and go on to complete university with a favourable mark.
However, that’s not the whole story. I wouldn’t say at all that ‘private’ is best. Just because you pay for it, instead of the government, it doesn’t make it better.
My commitment to wanting a large family meant a compromise would have to be made. Career would have to come second, and private school was unlikely to be an option, especially with my romantic notion of marrying someone who hadn’t had the same privileged background, perhaps in rebellion of my parents but also because I did despise some of the superficiality that I came across socially in my area of town, Kensington. That’s not to say they all are of course, it’s just that I suppose they tend to have more things to show off in their teenage years then my Wimbledon friends might and this was when I was making those fundamental decisions as to what I wanted to do in my life.
So I entered the adult world with shaky legs and began my mission to search for a good man who I could build the life I wanted with. At a time when I had reached a point where keeping my only child of 5 in a private school was becoming a big strain on my husband and I financially and we needed to reevaluate our options. At this time I met a priest and he told me
Two men, three children and six schools later, here are my thoughts on it in list form!
Pros of private school
• Smaller class sizes so parents can assume that each child will get more attention and that this well then help them to do well academically.
• Smaller school usually thereby giving the child more of a chance to be known and have an identity, and not get lost in the crowd or simply anonymous by the leadership.
• Usually driven by results so your child is perhaps less likely to slip through the net and not reach their maximum potential.
• Behaviour of the students is usually better managed by the leadership and students at expected to show respect.
• The child may gain professionally in the future from building contacts with those more likely to be affluent.
• The buildings and internal atmosphere can sometimes seem ‘cosier’ and more comfortable for parents when considering schools for their children.
• Sometimes boarding facilities are available should parents wish to use them either on a regular basis or when required.
• Having your child go to private school puts you in touch with other parents of a certain affluence or status thereby perhaps improving your social and professional contacts.
• They have more freedom to use a syllabus that they feel is effective.
Cons of private school (and pros of state schools)
• Larger class sizes means children have to compete more to show their abilities and shine as they would have to in the professional world.
• Larger school offers each child more access to people from multiple backgrounds internationally, thereby teaching them social skills in how to interact with people of all sorts from all lands. Often it also means that more facilities are available. However just because a school is state funded doesn’t mean it is larger of course.
• Children are sometimes forbidden from doing certain subjects if they are not thought to get an agreeable result. The fact that the child may be interested in a subject is not deemed as important.
• The disciplined approach of a private school may not give a fearful or anxious child the confidence to stand up and be noticed, choosing to keep their heads down and achieve academic results on paper.
• Children often have to travel further to get to private schools and are not living in close vicinity of school friends, thereby perhaps excluding them from social interaction from those going to local state schools.
• The cost. Parents often have to not only compromise on mixture goods but on their quality of life so that their child can go to private school, with no idea as to whether they will receive any return on their investment.
• The fact that buildings may be more attractive or ‘cosier’ may be irrelevant to the child. The factor that is most likely to encourage a positive view of the school is the friendship groups they gather and how supported they feel by their teachers at school.
• Private schools do no better to teach your child important tools such as financial management and crisis management, yet they are arguably the most important tools to teach the next generation.
• Having the best education does not necessarily mean they will be the most successful. It is often the most bold rather than the most clever that succeed in earning the most money in business.
There are many more pros and cons of course but I hope I have covered the important ones that will help you make a decision! Please feel free to comment if you would like to add any more…