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What do private schools offer over government schools?

A child’s education is vital to their future career, but also to moulding their character, confidence and life skills. Not surprisingly, choosing the right school for your son or daughter can be one of the biggest dilemmas parents face!

For many, this important decision begins with considering private v government-funded schools.

In a recent blog we explored the topic of finding the right time to enrol your child in an independent school. This touched on the differences between private and state education.

This article looks at this in more detail. It is valuable if you’re considering moving your child from a government-funded establishment – or starting their primary or secondary education at a private school.

Funding factors private v state schools

We will look at the differences in the quality of education and experience later.

Underpinning this discussion though is the way contemporary school funding works.

The UK education system is still something to be proud of, and there are excellent primary and secondary schools that are supported by Local Authorities.

However, there is a big ‘but.’

Education funding in Britain has been squeezed and prioritised in a way that many parents (and school staff) feel is inappropriate and inadequate.

You regularly hear of schools relying on fundraising to pay for basic equipment and even books! The headlines also point to staff disheartened by paperwork and indiscipline amongst students, making them generally dispirited and reluctant to offer out of school activities.

Contrast that with private schools, and the sort of funding support and staff motivation that you find at Rendcomb College. Supported by carefully spent fee income, we can attract high calibre personnel with an undented passion for their profession. We can also offer superb facilities and an extremely diverse and inclusive programme of activities.

Practicalities of a private education

The latter fact is a linchpin. The statistics on educational outcomes may not show a huge disparity between private and state schools. This hides a crucial difference.

The experiences children and young people have at school, could be superior in private education. This then brings out the individual skills, talents, abilities and ambitions they personally hold.

One of the major advantages of independent schools – compared to government-funded ones – is that we offer smaller class sizes. This can greatly enhance the education of day students as well as boarders.

However, being able to offer a nurturing residential education makes our learning environment even more potent. Our children and young people have extensive time with caring teachers and mentors, who are devoted to helping them explore their full potential.

Our dedication and commitment to helping students be their ‘best selves’ goes beyond the classroom too. It extends to sports, arts, language, hobby and interest fields too!

You could sum this up by saying we offer a well-rounded, immersive education, not just academic achievements that could be replicated in state schools.

Concerns about sending children to boarding school

Of course, it could be argued that state-funded education avoids the need to ‘send your child away' from home if you can’t find a suitable private school near to where you live.

For some children and parents, such a prospect could be daunting. However, you may be harbouring lingering misconceptions.

Rendcomb College, for example, has many students who return home at weekends, not just school holidays. Even more importantly, the environment we offer to boarders emphasises having a second home here, with ‘professional parents’.

By this, we mean offering boarders a very caring, nurturing ‘home life’ at school, with the emphasis on fun and friendship. Compare this to returning to their actual home from state-funded schools and feeling isolated, bored or spending hours with electronic gizmos and gadgets!

League tables v happy children

Have you noticed that many religion-based state schools have excellent reputations and results? One theory for this is that they build character and teach values and guiding principles.

This too is replicated at Rendcomb College. The richness of experience and enjoyment we offer inside and outside the classroom develops our students in many important ways. It also makes them happy and receptive in learning environments.

The issue of ‘happiness’ is perhaps the deciding factor when choosing between private and government schools.

Yes, we have excellent academic figures to share with you. However, league tables can only tell you part of the story.

Where would your child be happiest, and therefore most likely to reach their full potential at school, as well as developing valuable life skills?