Parents: Private or not?

Last week I blogged about the positivity of PRUs and the need for parents to be fully involved if their child is educated for a time in a PRU. This week I wish to consider private schools, following an article (Times: 5.11.19) that suggests that simply being in a private school brings educational advantages – all other criteria presumably being equal. Research suggests that teenagers at private schools achieve on average, one grade more at A level, than those at state schools – again, when other factors are accounted for.

It seems to me that a PRU operates generally at the opposite end of the advantage spectrum – than a private school does. But does being at either of these educational establishments determine success – or failure? Yes, obviously, to some degree, either PRU or private, must exert some influence over a pupil’s achievement and ultimate success. But school alone is not, in my view, the deciding factor. Parents are!

Private schools offer what state schools struggle to do – smaller classes and greater access to teachers who are specially trained in the subject they teach. Of course, these advantages influence outcomes – but they are not the most influential factors. If more parents exerted their power in state schools, results would rise dramatically for children of every level, from those with a Special Educational Need or Disability, through to those pupils who are identified as gifted and talented.

Who pays for private schools? Parents do. Private schools have the advantage largely because the children educated in them are lucky enough to have parents with above average finances accompanied by a determination for their child to succeed. The point of this blog is not to argue whether we should have private schools or not, although that is a valid question – but whether the school itself is the deciding factor.

The research argues that private is best in terms of outcomes. My argument is that state schools could match those outcomes if parents became more involved. Parents have more power than they realise. Yes, state schools are strapped for cash. Yes, the facilities are not equal to those at private schools, but we should all be pushing for state schools to be improved, rather than turning to private schools as an alternative.

Consider these two different scenarios : My granddaughter attended a state school, achieved A*s across the board and went on to achieve a first class degree at Durham – mainly as a result of her own self-determination, well supported by parents and family. Her career is well on the way. A second example: A boy attending a state school is bullied and becomes unhappy. The school do little about the bullying so the parents eventually remove their child from the state school, and now pay thousands annually for him to be educated at a private school (true).

The key point of this blog is that parents who know what their child should learn – and who work collaboratively with the school as part of the team striving towards the best outcomes – achieve results without having to pay privately. Start by finding out WHAT your child learns and HOW. My books will help – Support Your Child at….various Key Stages by Sylvia Edwards are available from Lulu in print, and from Amazon, in print and as ebooks. Your child has one chance to succeed! Seize it!

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