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The Drawbacks of Private Schooling

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 15 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Schools Private Disadvantages

The perceived advantages of an independent education are often discussed. Students are often able to benefit from a high staff to student ratio, with lots of individual attention; the facilities are often excellent and extra curricular activities tend to be widely available. Yet there may be some disadvantages to educating your child at a private school that you should consider before going ahead with this significant decision.

An Individual Choice

First it must be noted that students and schools may thrive from very different features - some children benefit from competitive atmospheres, for example, while others may find these stifling. Private and selective schools are more likely to have a competitive atmosphere, but it must be noted that such comments are clearly generalisations, since obviously no private school is the same! So take any considerations of drawbacks of private schools with a pinch of salt and ensure you have devoted plenty of time and energy to visiting and researching any school that you are seriously considering sending your child to attend.

Social Issues

One disadvantage to private schooling that some students and parents have reported is the lack of social mix. For example, if a particular independent school only takes students whose parents can afford to pay fees that might be out of reach of the average family, then it is likely that the attending pupils will only meet students from wealthy backgrounds.

Most independent schools nowadays however do not take this policy. Bursaries and scholarships ensure that these schools do have a good social mix, although this will depend on each school’s admissions policy. Educational Prototypes and Regulations

Unlike state schools which all normally have to follow the National Curriculum, private schools do not have to conform to specific educational regulations as prescribed by the state. This can be a good thing that enables extra flexibility and personally tailored educational plans for your child, but it is important to be aware that there might be more distinctive differences between private schools than state.

A Competitive Atmosphere

As discussed above, a common complaint at some independent schools surrounds the issue of “rivalrous” atmosphere or highly-strung children suffering from gossip or bullying. Obviously, these problems can be a factor in any school and it is important that you look into whether they are present at potential schools you might send your child to. Speak to parents and their children about their experiences at the school - but be assured that most schools have a developed pastoral care system that will help to avoid or stamp down on problems that might arise from a competitive atmosphere.

As parents, you will also want to consider the impact on your whole family of your child attending a private school .If paying the school fees will result in having to forego treats like family holidays or cutting back on general living costs then this will be another significant disadvantage that you will want to consider. Remember that the disruption to a child's education that comes about from taking a child out of a school means it's best to think about the long term financial impacts for going down the independent education route.

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