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Is Private School The Best Choice For A Child?

I was “fortunate” to be educated at a private school. My parents thought that this would provide me with a better education than a public school would. They also thought that I would encounter a more sophisticated group of pupils and that my subject choices would be wide and varied. None of this proved to be the case. The school I attended was one of the less-celebrated private schools. It doesn’t rate highly in the private school league table but it advertised itself as providing a nurturing environment which really appealed to my parents since I was a sensitive child who loved to please people. I was accepted following an entrance interview and started at the end of summer in Primary One.

The primary school classes were acceptable with an odd hiccup or three but the main issues that I found with a private school are as follows: When you move up to senior school, you move with your Primary seven classmates. There is no significant new mix of children with whom your child can make friends. There are a few new starts as some parents don’t want to pay private school fees for primary education and save their money for secondary school education, which, to be honest, is the part that really matters. The lack of new pupils is a distinct disadvantage, as a hierarchy has already been set amongst the kids who attended the primary section of the private school. This means that it is doubly hard for new kids to integrate and many hate their new school

and classmates. Personally, I found it refreshing to have a new group of people to get to know.

Another issue I found was that the sophisticated group of pupils that my parents thought I would be dealing with did not exist. Some were just privileged horrors. Some were from questionable families who had made their money doing god knows what. Some were the kids of minor celebrities who tended to try and lord it initially but who usually backed off

very quickly once they had been made fun off. Some were from hard-working families who just wanted the best for their children but these were in the minority. So, if you think your child will be mixing with a better class of kids, then you are mistaken. Subject choice was limited. You would think that when you are paying serious money for your child’s education, that they would be able to take any subject they want to. This is not the case. All of the main language, maths, science and technology classes were available but there was a distinct lack of classes such as woodwork, drama, home economics, and psychology. So, if your child needs a subject that is more fun, enjoyable and perhaps a bit less demanding than the “serious” subjects, then make sure you check out what their options will be in senior school.

Subject availability was also limited. I couldn’t get a place in the Business Studies class for my NAT 5 and ended up having to crash my higher in 6th year as I needed this subject to get

into my chosen course at University. Places were limited and I was one of the pupils who drew the short straw. This wasn’t an isolated case. There were numerous disappointed kids who couldn’t get their choice of subjects. This, in main, was due to a clash in the timetables or a shortage of teachers for specific subjects. The final issue that you may face is that of teachers' kids. Teachers get a significant discount if their kids attend the school. Having a teacher’s child or four in your already small class can be difficult. They tend to already know the teachers and that could potentially mean a lot of things, for instance, preferential treatment with regards to prizes and favourable treatment from teachers who are friendly with or intimidated by the child’s parent, and the selection of Head/Deputy Head Boy/Girl. I have first hadn experience of literally being badly bullied by a teacher's kid. No matter how may time I or my parents went to the school to speak up about this, we were brushed under teh rug and were never taken seriously. I could go on and on but you get the picture.

One thing I will mention very quickly but in no great depth, is the teachers themselves. I had a really lovely, inspiring teachers at my school such, as one of my English teachers and a young female music teacher, but that was a few out of many. There will always be the disinterested teachers, the teachers who hate kids and the outright bullies. However, this seems to be the norm whether or not a school is private. I just know that when I have kids, I will send them to a mainstream school and save my money for extra tuition if they ever need it.


Edited By Sanjana Srinivasan

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