As someone who used to teach in a state comprehensive school I have always felt very strongly that there is no reason to send children to private school. I believe that education isn’t a privilege you should have to pay for. No, education is a human right that everyone is entitled to.
I don’t like the idea behind the very wealthy segregating their child from others by sending them to private school.
How can a child finish private school as a rounded person when they have only mixed with the upper echelons of society.
I was passionate about my belief in the state system believing that it offered children a broad and inclusive education. Then I had children of my own and those ideals I had felt so strongly about started to be questioned. I felt torn. I started to worry about the size of classes, about the books that needed replacing in the school and the inconsistent marking of my daughter’s work. I became more appreciative of what a private school could offer our daughters. This worry was compounded when it became clear from a school report that a teacher had no real idea of our oldest’s ability. I don’t blame the teacher. When you have a large class it can be hard to get to know every pupil and if you are well behaved and working well then you can get lost in the system.
As a teacher I was a strong advocate for our state schools but as a parent I could see the benefits of private schooling. This is only natural and after a while I came to an uneasy truce with myself. I wasn’t turning my back on my ideals I was simply wanting the best for my children. Sending your child to private school is often something that is seen as shameful in some middle-class circles with mutterings of “what a waste of money”. It is also a recurrent article in The Daily Mail with stories of parents that had to sell their home so that they could send their little darlings to private school. There was an article last week where a mother bemoaned wasting over £100,000 in school fees on her daughter. Why did the Mother begrudge spending this money on her daughter? Because now at 17 years old the daughter was dropping out of school to be a jelly shooter in Magaluf. Not the return she expected on her investment. Hardly value for money. But isn’t that the point, private school doesn’t guarantee your child becoming a Dr or some other respectable job. When children are involved there are no guarantees.
The average cost of sending your child to private school per year is £13,194. This is a huge amount of money and certainly something that we could not afford to do. For the cost of a family car you can expect smaller classes, better facilities and a bounty of resources but does this contribute to a better education? No doubt it plays an important part but surely one of the most important things to consider is the teacher. Paying for a private education doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to get a better teacher. Oldest now has a teacher who inspires her to learn. Oldest adores her because she makes learning interesting and fun. The teacher obviously cares about every individual child in the classroom. Oldest is learning and enjoying school life and this isn’t a privilege that we have had to pay for.
Oldest attends a school that reflects the society she lives in. She mixes with children from all walks of life. On the other hand a private school would give her a massively distorted view of society. Education should be about equality and private schools just cement the idea that the wealthy can pay their way through life. Also as a teacher I realise that any bright child will do well as long as they have support at home and that is something that oldest has in abundance.
There are parents that sell their houses, work long hours and don’t take holidays so that their children can attend private school but is this money well spent? I have to say that in my opinion I don’t think it is but then we are very fortunate because Oldest attends a good primary school and she loves learning. I might feel very differently if that wasn’t the case. Who knows, maybe in the future I will feel forced to buy my children’s education.