Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Choosing A School–Public vs Private

With all the talk this week of QLD students starting or returning to School and NSW only a week away my thoughts have been on the choices available to us for Skye’s education. Because of where we live, there is really only one Infants/Primary School in our immediate area with a bigger range of options including Private Schools within 15 minutes drive. It would seem a no-brainer that Skye be sent to the local Public School where many of our friends children attend, but lately I have been starting to question whether it is our best option.


Before I had Skye I would never have even considered the idea of sending my child to a Private School. Mr Bond and I both attended Public School’s and I had always been of the belief that if you are a dedicated student it does not make any difference where you gain your education. The cost of sending a child to Private School is also a huge consideration and can ultimately be the deciding factor. But does the benefit of greater resources and better student/teacher ratios justify the expense?  It’s not just the quality of education that plays a part in this decision, it’s the social factors that are causing me concern at the moment.

I am sure parent’s in every generation feel that “kids today” are exposed to far more than they should be, that they are growing up too fast and the sweet, innocent (although challenging) pre-schoolers they are now will soon morph into hard edged tweens with smart mouths. I don’t believe for one moment that Skye is an angel that needs to be protected from the bad behaviour of other children, but lets face it, there are always going to be kids that we just don’t want our children hanging out with. I may be a snob to feel this way but I do wonder whether sending her to a Private School will somehow help with this.

I should add here that to my knowledge, the local Public School is of a high standard and I have not heard of any incidents that would make me feel Skye would be disadvantaged there, but stories about some of the other Public School’s in the area have worried me.

010Maybe we should be considering a ‘special’ school

Another consideration which freaks me out to even write down is where Skye is likely to attend High School, yes being the nerd that I am, at two years old this is something I think about. I want Skye’s transition to High School to be as smooth as possible and I feel that making this transition with her friends will help. I know that it made things less daunting for me to know that my whole Year 6 class would be turning up to the first day of High School with me, safety in numbers if you will. 


Then again, I wonder whether my efforts to shelter her and smooth her path will have its own disadvantages later on. Will my over-protective approach mean that she lacks the life skills needed to handle the realities of the work force? Do children in the Private system learn to rely on the level of attention and time given to them by their teachers at the expense of independent thought? And most importantly, could I really deal with the other snobby school mums insisting on telling me how outstanding their own child is in between discussions about lunch dates and their new Personal Trainer?

Now that I have insulted every parent with school aged children with my appalling stereotypes and grand generalisations I really would appreciate your input. What factors did you consider when selecting a school for your child and do you think that Public or Private schools are really all that different?


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