Hey guys, this has been on my mind for some time now and I figured that I will express it with you. Because there may be someone who is going through the same dillema.
I just want to put it out there and say that in no way shape or form do I look down or discredit state education. I was fully state educated myself! I know that I am blessed to be in the position to even consider private education and I am thankful for this. Now with all that said and done, I will proceed.
Now there is this sigma within the black community that if you were privately educated or are considering private education for your child, you think you are better than everyone else. Please get rid of this notion. Private education is not about thinking you are better. I’ve probably done better in my results and my career than some privately educated children, just from sheer determination and hard work. I am not boasting, just stating. A lot of people especially within the black community have this notion that you think you are better than others or you are not ‘black’ if you have been privately educated/considering it.
So let’s get rid of that idea please?!
Why am I considering it for my daughter?
I personally want my child(ren) to have a wholesome and well-rounded educational experience which I think goes further than getting the best grades possible. I worked hard throughout my education (apart from uni when I got distracted!) but my focus was getting the best grades possible, which meant teaching myself sometimes, because some of my teachers were not the best. However, nowadays I don’t think good grades are all that education is about. Getting involved in extra-curricular activities is important.
My issue with state education is the quality education varies between schools. Then it becomes a game of being in the right catchment area (which can cost you thousands more to move to these areas) and/or doing extremely selective exams (11+) to get in. In an ideal world, all the schools will have the same level of education and support for every child, but this is definitely not the case. We all have schools in mind where we do not want our children to go to, and that goes beyond the Ofsted Report. It goes by what we have seen.
In my mind, if I can pay for my Chanel bags, and holidays, why can’t I put money aside for my child’s education. That is a better investment for my child. Obviously, I will have to make sacrifices but I am prepared to make them. That’s my personal decision. Everybody decides where they would prefer to spend their money. Saying that, however, if I can find a state school that fulfils my educational requirements, then I am more than happy to put the money aside and send my child there.
What is Private Education?
Private education is basically education you pay for. The amount you pay varies so much depending on where you live. For example you could be paying up to £6k per term in London for some private or independent schools! Also not every private school is a good school, especially in primary and secondary school level, you can quite possibly have state education that is better.
Some Grammar schools for an instance get far better results than some private schools.
In this day and age it’s not good enough or wise to just pay for an education and think your child is getting the best education. Research is key.
Advantages of a Private Education
One of the main advantages of a private education is the extra curricular activities available and the size of the classes. These two aspects are the biggest things for me, and the deciding factors for any school whether private or state.
In state education, the funding to do extra curricular activities are usually very limited. However, I do have to say, I have seen a few state primary schools which have excellent extra curricular activities for the kids. The issue is they are often oversubscribed and go by a tiny catchment area (I will still apply for them though!). I personally think that extra curricular activities are great in developing a child. I will do a separate blog post on this, but I’ve seen the positive benefits on my daughter who does ballet and swimming every Saturday.
The other important aspect is class sizes. A lot of state schools have really large classes ranging from 28-32 children to one teacher (and one TA). For some children, this is not an issue at all. In fact they thrive in these environments. I started watching and observing my daughter’s and how she learns and I realised that she doesn’t do well in large classes. She gets lost in large classes, and ends up sitting in a corner doing her own thing because she can be quite shy. There are state schools that have small classes but finding them can be challenging.
The Disadvantages of a Private Education
The disadvantages about private education is the fees, and a lot of them especially in London can be selective. The fees are a disadvantage for me because they tend to go up faster than the rate of inflation. They say you should save up 5% extra every year because the school is at liberty to increase the fees every year, and alot of them do. The average salary doesn’t even go up that quickly. My advice to parents considering this route is to save and save some more. Unexpected life events can happen such as redundancies and removing your child from a school that she has made lasting relationships can be very detrimental. Make sacrifices where you can and start saving (even if your child hasn’t started yet).
Some private schools including primary schools are incredibly selective. Selective Private schools in London have assessments for 4 year olds! I don’t know how they test a child’s ‘intelligence’ so young but it can foster pressure and competitiveness within parents early on. Just read mumsnet and you will understand what I’m saying. I do understand however, that that these schools are incredibly oversubscribed so assessments are a way to reduce numbers and to pick the more suitable candidates. I am doing some light preparation with my daughter for a few 4+ assessments so if you want a post on this, just let me know. There are non-selective private schools, which are equally as good, so they are great options.
So I decided that I will explore both state and private options:
From my research I picked 4 private schools and 4 state primary schools that I think would be the best fit for my daughter. The thing is my daughter can change over the next couple of years, but I will go by what I’ve seen now. You guys would probably think I am weird but I even have a spreadsheet, analysing the cost of the private school per year and the Ofsted reports for the schools. Research is so important guys.
I am currently visiting each school and weighing them up against each other. My final question will be which one will be the best fit for my child (depending on which ones she gets into!)
So if you are considering private education or a state education for your child, please do not let other people’s opinions influence yours. Do what you believe is best for your child. Do through research, visit the schools, read reviews and make an informed decision about your next steps.
So what are your thoughts about this?