DID YOU KNOW…
THAT AT WHITGIFT, THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF GCSES TAKEN IS 10.5?
One major factor in choosing to go private is finding the fees. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) concludes that over 14 years, day school fees plus extras for a child starting now will total í286,000. That’s an awful lot of money that could be used for a deposit on a house or your child’s wedding. “Many decide it makes sense to move a child from state to private sector as they transition between primary and secondary schools,” says the annual Killik Private Education Index. It’s make your mind up time. We offer advice on how to find the fees on page 30 and what to look for when you visit prospective schools in our open days guide here.
IT ALL RESTS ON THE CURRICULUM
The choice when selecting your child’s nursery or prep school seems wide. How does one decide on the ethos that suits your family best? Start with the curriculum. What are its approaches to the mastery of mathematical and literary skills and are these above normal expectations? Is the range of subjects and co-curricular activities on offer wide? For example, perhaps in addition to French or Spanish, Latin or Mandarin is offered and the school is clear about the perceived benefits of these subjects. Is the inquisitiveness or critical thinking of pupils nurtured through philosophy for children (P4C)? How are the pupils encouraged to become self-reliant and independent? Perhaps there is mindfulness on offer? There must be something special for your child, supporting learning and fueling their creativity, giving them the confidence to work around a problem, take a risk, overcome challenges and consider their place in the wider world.
It’s well documented that competitive sport can play an important role in making sure young people have the character and resilience to succeed in the world beyond school. By taking part they learn team skills, how to win and lose, how to come back from defeat, how to persevere and the benefits of trying hard at something. That’s the ethos at schools which encourage everyone to play, whether in the A, B, C, D or even E teams in London’s larger schools, so that they have the buzz of representing their school in a match. This way, every player gets to feel part of something and, if regular fixtures are arranged, the players in the E team usually end up caring just as passionately about their team as the A team. As for parents, supporting on a touchline is a great way to feel the beating pulse of the school.
STATE VS PRIVATE EDUCATION
The argument about state versus private education is unending. The only certainty is that one size does not fit all. Mixing and matching between the two is one financial solution and may also provide a valuable life balance. The state sector can provide impressive opportunities and often a wider view of society. There are many academically strong state schools too so competition for the best is fierce and it’s common for parents to move house to be within their catchment areas. That said, it’s debatable whether it makes financial sense as the premium parents pay for their houses to be in that area can easily outweigh the savings in schools fees. Independent schools have a higher percentage of pupils going on to higher education than state schools and a higher level of academic care. Extras often include a higher standard of facilities, a broader range of subjects and an earlier start with foreign languages. So even going private just for the sixth form could be hugely beneficial for your child. Of course, supporting a child at either state or independent school with private tuition will ensure that they access one-to-one teaching.