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Private School...
Can you justify the $$$?


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#1 ~Katia~

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:28 AM

I'm doing my research for DS who will be going to school in 2014 - both public and private.
Can someone please list the benefits of paying the $$$ and sending a child to a private school instead of public? We're are a middle-income family and obviously will have to budget for it, so I need to be kind of convinced That DS will be much better off in the private system and the $$$ will pay off

Many thanks


#2 liveworkplay

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:36 AM

Its not that simple a question. Not all schools are equal in either system and not all students need/will respond to the same environment.

Very very generally speaking you tend to get more "extras" at a private school, less need for classroom behavioural management therefore more quality teaching time and they tend to be better resourced. But that is a huge generalisation.

You need to just visit schools and see what you think without the bias of whether it is public or private

Edited by liveworkplay, 11 April 2012 - 08:37 AM.


#3 Apageintime

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:46 AM

I agree with the PP, its not just about the money.

I went to Catholic school which my parents were happy to pay for because they really valued the extra religious instruction.

You might want your child to go single sex, which may involve private school.

Your child may be good at tennis, and the local state school may have a program for elite sports people.

You may want your child to row, which may only be available at a private school.

You may need to option of boarding later on.

You may love the local state school.

The state school may be closer to home/work and therefore make drop offs more convienient.

Basically you need to work out what is important for your child and family, and work out how much you are willing to pay for those services.

#4 ali27

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:46 AM

It is a very complex decision to make, especially when your son is so young.
All schools are different, be they public or private and it's hard to decide what will offer the most positive expereince for your child.
Many private schools are extremely expensive and the drain on family income impacts into many aspects of the family - lessening your ability to provide other experiences outside the school environment.
Personally, it's not something I would do in primary years, because of the cost and more importantly to see how your son progresses with his education and where he would gain the most beneficial expereince.

#5 Dionysus

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:59 AM

I agree with most that has been said.

It depends what schools you are talking about.

I live in Adelaide.  If I lived in certain suburbs I would consider both the private and state school options.

In other suburbs I would choose the state school easily rather than the private school.

I am a public school teacher and believe in a public system.  

I have taught in private schools where the curriculum/choices are so narrow, only a small portion of kids would fit in.  
I have taught in public schools where they cater for everyone.  
I have heard of the mysterious private schools that cater for everyone - I have yet to see it.  
I have also taught in state schools that don't cater to everyone as well.

Philosophically, I don't like the idea of my child going to any school where the cohort is homogenous and they churn out they same kids at the end.





#6 Cat People

Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:15 AM

Mel, that's a pretty narrow point of view.  I also find it hard to believe you taught at a school that catered for everyone.  I wonder if the parents felt the same way.  

When people talk about private schools they tend to forget it's not just the religious schools.  ds attends a Montessori school and if anyone comes close to catering for everyone, it would be a Montessori school because that's part of the whole concept.  The child learns at their own pace and interests - child led learning.

We consider education to be extremely important and I spent a lot of time looking into different systems and Montessori really appealed and match our own ideas of child raising, so for us, it's worth the extra money.  We are hardly rich but this is really important to us.  I want ds' education to be inspiring and exciting, not lacklustre and "adequate" as mine was in the public system.  I know not all public schools are like this but I didn't want to be at the mercy of whatever local school we were given according to the area we lived.



#7 mumto3princesses

Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:28 AM

It would depend on where you live and what the public and private schools are like in your area and your child/children and what you want to get out of the school. For primary it would be a hard decision as they are so young and really don't know what they want or what they really like yet. High School is easier because by then they know what their interests are.

With DD1 for example, I couldn't justify spending the $$ on a private school after looking into our options. We found that the public girls school we are zoned for suits her perfectly and I honestly couldn't see any real benefits by sending her to the private. But if we weren't zoned for that school or couldn't get in out of area, then yes it would be a better option that the other local school.

Plus each child is different. My twins are just starting to work out where their extra curricular activity interests are. DD2 loves gymnastics, dance and singing while DD3 really loves swimming and team sports and is really liking basketball which she had never tried before. They both might do ok at DD1's school or DD2 might suit a creative arts school and DD3 a school that has a lot of sports. That's something we need to look at in a few years time.

Or if I had a boy, I have heard that the absolute best option is a private school if you want him to go anywhere near home.

#8 Dionysus

Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:35 AM

MadameCatty, I wasn't trying to be narrow (and DD was bugging me for breakfast   biggrin.gif ).

A more fuller answer would be that there are so many schools that all do different things that to ask whether private is worth the $$ is to not be asking the right question necessarily.

I do agree with you with Monte - but have actually seen some awful Monte's as well, when looking for pre-school options for my own daughter,

And that's the point - treat each school on it's own merits.

As for teaching at a school catering for all - I take your point that it probably didn't.  It did, though, cater for a wider spectrum of students than any other school I have taught at/visited/workshopped with.

It had an extensive Special Ed dept. - with classes at different levels depending on the tier - SMD classes, SWD classes, NEP classes, combined with mainstream, not combined...dependant on individual student needs.  It had a separate school leader heading this up, specialised teachers and trained SSOs.

The same school offered intensive University pathway classes with access to Uni lecturers/post-grads and had a high percentage of kids in a Vocational pathway (paid for by the school) studying a range (30+) of nationally accredited industry certificates as part of their school certificate (not instead of)

No other school in my experience has come close to that range of choices for kids

FTR - it was a state school in a low SES area

High SES state schools here do lip-service to trade pathways and their Sp Ed dept is non-existent.  It's largely Uni all the way.

Private schools tend to be the same - or the trade pathways are fully paid for by the family.  So, you send your kid to a high fee paying school, then when they work out they want to be a plumber, you pay for that too.  Which is ok if you can afford it - it's not particularly equitable though.





#9 Tea~for~two

Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:58 AM

I agree with a PP that it is really difficult to make the decision this far out as school standards can change so quickly. So while I can understand the need to be prepared in advance for potential financial and enrolment reasons, I'd keep an open mind and re-assess in 2013.

For example, a massive shift has occured between two schools in my area (north tas). One school, a catholic private school became renowned for its excellent co-curricular program's and student-staff ratios. Fast forward five years and the demand to go to this school has increased so they DOUBLED the enrolment quota. Now the school is chronically overcrowded (some classes are being taken in the staff room as they just don't have the space).

Another school on my area, a public one with an appalling reputation, took full advantage of the recent schools building stimulus and now have a fantastic early learning centre and have worked really hard to address concerns parents have had.

But recently I heard that the first school is in the process of building a new wing to deal with the over crowding, so in five years time it could have changed again!!

Good luck with your decision!

#10 opethmum

Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:21 AM

Seems OP we have similar aged children at the moment. We have decided that my DD will go to a small private non denominational Christian school down the road. Not for the brag purposes but we feel that they have the right attitude towards education and our values coalesce with theirs.

For choosing any school public/private I think that these at a bare minimum needs to be taken into consideration.
1. Their policy on bullying and challenging behaviour in the classroom and at least having a proven record that they take this seriously and that any challenging behaviour is dealt with and is minimised.
2. That they have a good track record academically, does not have to be the best in state but confident enough that your child will be taught the basics and that they have programmes in house to help your child whether they are super bright or need that extra little bit of help to make it.
3. That they have the physical facilities that you are happy with and making sure that you know that your child is going to be in an environment that is conducive to learning and that they have a bit of space to burn off that energy. It again does not have to state of the art but adequate enough to ensure that comfort is taken into consideration.
4 That the administration of the school is sound and not ruled by few and that you as a new parent have an equal say in the running of the school as a parent who has been there since the dawn of time. It is important that the parents and the community have a sound relationship and that it is supporting the children at the school no matter what their parents do etc.

I hope that has helped.
Good luck and I hope you find the right school for your child.

#11 wrong

Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:40 PM

QUOTE (~Katia~ @ 11/04/2012, 08:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can someone please list the benefits of paying the $$$ and sending a child to a private school instead of public?

If you weren't aware, there was recently a good piece in the SMH Sydney magazine:
http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/forums/ind...howtopic=970712

#12 Pearson

Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:09 PM

The private primary schools in our area have less facilities and more complaints about their teaching and other issues than the state schools. The state schoools have fantastic reputations, whereas the private schools have an increasing dropout rate.

#13 IsolaBella

Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:17 PM

I am happy to go to local State/Catholic (as DH and I are Catholic so local Catholic school for us) for Primary school.

Secondary school we will be going Private. It is what I did as a child too.



#14 *dreamer*

Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:35 PM


QUOTE
more complaints about their teaching and other issues than the state schools.


I'm really curious as to how you know this?

Edited by *dreamer*, 11 April 2012 - 05:37 PM.


#15 Feralishous

Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:45 PM

we've chosen our local public school (which is great) and will put the extra cash towards extracurricular activies, depending on our kids interests.
if they are interested we might consider private secondary, but tbh i noticed that the private students performed rather poorly in 1st year uni (for the classes i tutored anyway) as they lacked self motivation, and were enjoying the 'lifestyle' at the tavern most of the time.

#16 Dionysus

Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:56 PM

QUOTE (trishalishous @ 11/04/2012, 05:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...
if they are interested we might consider private secondary, but tbh i noticed that the private students performed rather poorly in 1st year uni (for the classes i tutored anyway) as they lacked self motivation, and were enjoying the 'lifestyle' at the tavern most of the time.


I wrote this in my first post but deleted it due to lack of references to cite.  

I 'know' that one of our local Uni's did some studies on it and concluded that more private school kids get to uni, but more private school students drop out in the first year of uni

I am going to keep looking for this research

#17 Dionysus

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:47 PM

from what I recall about the research, the findings concluded the higher drop-out rate was less to do with partying and more to do with the inability to take a lead role in their own learning

#18 9021OH

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:49 PM

Honestly? I just like the uniform.

I guess the extra curricular options are better, gets them out of the house on a weekend and active which is always a plus.

#19 Expelliarmus

Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:56 PM

You cannot compare private and public schooling. You need to compare schools.

#20 LucidDream

Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:42 AM

QUOTE (MadameCatty @ 11/04/2012, 09:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When people talk about private schools they tend to forget it's not just the religious schools.  ds attends a Montessori school and if anyone comes close to catering for everyone, it would be a Montessori school because that's part of the whole concept.  The child learns at their own pace and interests - child led learning.

We consider education to be extremely important and I spent a lot of time looking into different systems and Montessori really appealed and match our own ideas of child raising, so for us, it's worth the extra money.  We are hardly rich but this is really important to us.  I want ds' education to be inspiring and exciting, not lacklustre and "adequate" as mine was in the public system.  I know not all public schools are like this but I didn't want to be at the mercy of whatever local school we were given according to the area we lived.


I also have DS1 in a Montessori school cycle 1, and the more I look into  the way children learn, the more determined I am to keep him in for the  whole of primary school.  DS2 is starting cycle 1 next year, so that will be quite a bit of money going on school fees.  Can I justify it?  Absolutely.  I am so happy that I am giving my boys an inspiring learning experience at the very beginning.  I just wish every child could have a Montessori start in life!

Edited by LucidDream, 16 April 2012 - 09:43 AM.


#21 ~ShellBell~

Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:31 AM

Some really good points made by PPs ... it totally depends on your situation, your child, the schools available etc.  I was always very pro public school & I sent my two eldest kids to public school up until the end of last year.  I had researched all the local schools & believed I had made the right decision ... I had even spoken to a lot of the high school teachers I knew to see if they saw any difference in the primary school kids coming from the various public & private schools & they didn't see to see much of a difference.  I just couldn't justify spending quite a bit of money on private school for the primary years when I'd rather use the money for extra curricular activities & later schooling.  

But what I have learnt from experience is that sometimes there really is a difference that the money can make when it comes to a school.  In our situation we had never ending issues at the public school.  I laid awake worrying about my kids for quite a while before I eventually took them out & sent them to another school, which just happens to be private.  The difference is quite remarkable, one I would never have believed ... from what I have seen, the extra money is definitely worth it.  BUT that is just MY experience.  There are definitely some great public schools around.  The biggest difference I have seen between the public & private schools, apart from extra facilities & extra curricular offerings, is that the teachers really look like they want to be there ... they clearly love teaching & it shows in everything they do ... this was the biggest problem at the public school, the teachers just looked like they were going through the motions ... very sad ... but that could just have been an issue at that particular school & nothing to do with the public v private thing.  The other difference has nothing to do with money but has turned out to be the biggest positive to the private school.  At my girls' old school there was some very very difficult children.  In my eldest daughter's class, kids were getting hurt, strangled, etc to the point where I was worried to even send her to school.  Because the school was public, there was not much they could do about the situation ... they were trying, I am sure, but apart from the odd suspension, they do not have the power to expel a child absolutely as in the public system all children have to be accepted ... the school essentially told us they could not do much more about the situation (so I only going by what they told us).  At the private school, they have the absolute power to expel & exclude a child if that child is a danger to other kids.  To me, this is a huge thing.  At least I can now send my kids to school knowing that they are in a safer environment.  Like I said though, this was our experience only ... I know that there are some great public schools out there.  Also I know that a particular class can just be a problem ... my younger daughter's class had a great bunch of nice kids & we had no where near as many issues with her.

So, you can only explore all the different options & make the best decision with the information you have.  I found speaking to parents who had kids at the different schools helped a lot.  Good luck with your decision OP  original.gif

#22 Heather11

Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:34 PM

Agree totally with Howdo.  

You need to get first hand information.  Visit the schools and have a look around and become involved in your community where you mix with parents who already have children in the school system.  Going to playgroup, kindergym, local sports etc. where you can speak to other parents will give you an idea of what the schools have to offer.

We don't know what schools you have to pick from.  There are some great public schools out there, in other places there are not.

Unfortunately for us we live in a low socio economic area and the behaviour and bullying that happens at the local public school was a real turn off.  Also there were some parents who were just as bad as the children in this respect, seen this first hand.

Cost to attend private schools varies greatly too.  You may have a $1200 a year Catholic Parish School or a $20000 a year Grammar School.

As a PP mentioned, uniform was important to us too.  Some public schools have a strict uniform others don't.  Some of the clothes I see the public school students wearing leaves a lot to be desired also I didn't want my children to feel pressured into having to wear certain clothes to be in the cool group.

#23 kmama

Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:04 PM

My 4yo daughter goes to an ELC that she will continue with until the end of year 6 (we envisage) and we love it, the class sizes are small and they cater for children of all capabilities. If your children have learning difficulties then they have options for that. If they are bright then they also cope with that by not just having them complete the next year's readers or Maths problems but exposing them to different areas such as public speaking, charity work, robotics, working with disabled children etc and that was a big factor as even though we live in a reasonably good area none of the surrounding local schools could give me any real answers to what they would do with my daughter when she started in prep already reading which is what she has done on her own - we did no more encouragement than read copious books to her. Having said this, we also really like the headmaster, he is friendly and greets the children at a different gate every day amongst many other things. Private to us is a no brainier and we are very very pleased with our choice and my husband and my own schooling which was also private.

#24 roses99

Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:15 PM

You don't need anyone here to convince you either way.

What you need to do is write a list of the schools in your area and then investigate them all. Check them against a list of what you're looking for in a school. Visit the schools. Talk to parents and teachers. Consider what's best for your child, though, and try not to be too influenced by the priorities of other people.

If there's a state school that ticks the boxes, then that's great. If you prefer a private school, then work out if you can afford it. Work out if it's worth whatever sacrifices you'll need to make.

Only then can you make the right decision.

Anyone who makes general statements about 'public is best' or 'private is best' is narrow minded and - I dare say - not terribly well acquainted with education.


Edited by roses99, 16 April 2012 - 09:16 PM.


#25 Feral Dinosaurus

Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:29 PM

I agree...

But I would add that if you are seriously considering a private school in 2 years then you better start making calls now, some of them have offers out years in advance. I know some of the ones I looked at when I was pregnant with DS (thankfully told to by a friend) told me I should put the paperwork in as soon as he was born!

I'm not sure how true or widespread it is in real life, but of the three we put our sons name down for we received one offer and two wait lists (we later got a scond offer from our first choice and accepted it). My DS will start in 2015.




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