Private v public – which school is best for your child?

Choosing the right school for your child can be a difficult and even stressful decision. There is a huge amount of choice, but a good starting point is to investigate the benefits of private and public schools respectively.

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Benefits of private school

There is often more opportunity for parents to become involved with their child’s education, both at home and as part of the school community. The smaller class sizes mean that one-to-one time with students increases, which has been shown to improve academic achievements. Exam results tend to be higher, with the Telegraph reporting that public school pupils are two years’ behind their private school peers by the age of 16.

Private schools have wide-ranging, high-quality extracurricular activities in arts, sports and music. There are often exchange programmes and the chance to travel abroad. These opportunities can help children to flourish, even those who may not be particularly academically gifted.

Children who are less confident or assertive may get more opportunities for social or leadership roles within the smaller classes of Gloucestershire private schools such as Teachers in these schools often have more advanced degrees and there can be less bureaucracy. Private schools can be a close-knit community, with teachers having more time for each student and pupils feeling confident and able to contribute in smaller classes.

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Benefits of public school

The primary benefit is the cost-effectiveness. Education within public schools is free, as it is paid for by the state using taxes. Private schools are simply unaffordable for many families.

Public schools don’t tend to require entrance exams – aside from the 11-plus test for grammar schools – and this means pupils can meet and socialise with a much bigger range of people. In addition, public school students avoid any stress involved with the selection process for a private school.

Geographical location is often a significant factor in public school allocation, which means socialising out of school can be easier. Teachers in public schools are well-qualified; increasingly, public schools also offer specialist courses in specific areas, such as maths, science and the arts.

This decision is never going to be an easy one, but it is not irreversible. The primary concern is the health and happiness of your child and finding a school to provide the strongest foundation for their future.