The argument surrounding which is better, public or private education, is one that is ongoing and difficult to diffuse. It is, however, possible to identify the key advantages and disadvantages for both.
As an exclusive private tuition centre, we at INICIO have no desire to encourage or discourage parents to use the private schooling system; we are completely impartial. The purpose of this article is not to persuade, but simply to help parents to understand the differences, as well as the similarities, between the two.
Why do public and private schools exist?
We are fortunate enough to live in a time that provides freely accessible and inclusive education for all, regardless of class or status. This is an exceptional gift, so why would anyone want to pay? Well, this is because we also live in an ever growing consumerist era, which entitles us to choice. Such choice therefore means that there are products and services out there, that have both benefits and downfalls, and so it is extremely important that you do your homework and research in order to understand the differences in the options available; after all, the school you choose will forever impact on your child’s attainment.
So lets get to it.
The advantages of public schools
- Teachers are certified by the state - so you can be sure of their qualifications;
- Extra curricular activities are available for all, from choir and sports to drama, allowing your child to evolve their talents beyond academia;
- Public schools are inclusive of all, so your child will be able to socialise with children from various walks of life;
- Public schools are available in every town and city, making them extremely accessible;
- There are a number of arrangements made for the SEN students, such as the provision of a teaching assistant to accompany students to lessons.
So, what’s not to love?
Well, there are a few things. Due to public funding, classrooms are usually filled to capacity. This means that there is typically one member of staff for up to 35 students. The workload is therefore not always differentiated between the gifted and talented, the average achievers and those falling beneath expectations. It quickly becomes apparent why so many ‘slip through the net’, but can we blame the teachers? The sheer number of students promotes the ‘one size fits all’ approach, which is not an effective way of teaching. I dare say it is sometimes teaching for the sake of it and hoping that someone might learn, especially by year 10 and 11.
So what about private schools?
Lets be blunt - the most noticeable difference is the hefty price. This automatically filters out the less affluent and reduces the diversity of the student population. Some parents also feel that, despite paying a large sum of money, their child, whether gifted and talented or one that requires special education services, is still not catered for. This therefore highlights the importance of thorough research before choosing the right educational facility for your child.
Private schools do however typically carry a number of advantages:
- Smaller class sizes - thus more attention per student;
- More time is spent on instruction, as there is less paperwork;
- The variety of extra-curricular activities stretches from sailing, horse riding, archery to many other 'extravagant' hobbies that your child may enjoy;
- You can choose to send your child to a day or boarding school, meaning
- That they can go to your preferred school rather than the one that happens to be the closest to you.
- As a result of smaller numbers (and perhaps the general ethos of private educational establishments), it could be argued that the students are taught more discipline and, as a consequence, have better employment opportunities in the future.
Regardless of the road you choose, we feel that school is not just about academic achievement - it is about learning to be independent, with good manners, high values, and learning to develop your own thoughts and ideas. We have seen children from both school systems with and without these qualities and so there are clearly several factors that affect the outcome of a child's schooling: the school, the teacher, the family, the student, the friendship group and so on.
As you can see, there are many positives that overlap between both private and public education, although some may outweigh others for you as a family.
We all want our children to be taught in an environment that promotes social mobility, encourages achievement, but also develops character. At INICIO, our students are taught on a one to one basis in a session with up to five other children present, allowing us to create a bespoke learning programme that is tailored to each individual’s needs, whether it’s in Maths, Science, English or other languages.