The Place of Private Schools in Children Education –The UK Experience

A Happy School Boy
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

The world over, private educational institutions are making waves and gaining more grounds. It is even argued in some quarters that without private institutions, education would not be accessible to all as the state institutions can only cater for a certqin percentage of the intended learners at all levels. However, everything good harbours some negative sides as well. For instance, there is a heated debate in the UK on the importance and social relevance of private educational services providers.

For some people, private educational institutions only initiate and nurture an aspect of social class divide. According to the proponents of this school of thought, private schools (at all levels) do more harm by offering just a selected few individuals a better opportunity to succeed in life over the rest. Some see no need for private schools as, according to them, such institutions are only marginally better than state institutions. The parents are however saying a different thing all together. They often confirm that in spite such arguments against private education in the UK, they actually do reap tangible and significant benefits of investing money into their children’s education through the private institutions. Some of such benefits derivable from private institutions in the UK are discussed below:

Improved Academic Productivity

One of the benefits that every parent would mention for sending their children to private schools is the fact that their children stand better chances of achieving better academic performances than if they attended state schools. This may not be far from the truth as most private schools enjoy adequate and proper funding compared to state schools. As a result of this, they often offer better learning resources and environments to the students.

Private schools also delight in the advantage of small student population, which results in smaller class sizes. This enables the teachers to be able to focus on every individual learner. This is something that is hugely impossible in most state schools. At the end, students of private schools often enjoy more personalized learning experiences. The end result of this is a good academic performance.

It is also easier to record a higher level of direct participation and involvement from the various stakeholders. Let me take the parents for example. Because they invest some good money in the form of fees and other such financial commitments, they become directly and actively involved in the learning process of their children prevent their investment from going down the drain. Teachers, on their own part, always do more than teaching under private management. They engage the learners in private tutoring and academic counseling. By so doing, the learners in private schools often access more support from their teachers than those in the state schools.

Excellent Extra-curricular Activities

At all levels of learning, extra-curricular activities play a very significant role in shaping the learners into useful individuals. As argued in some quarters, such activities may actually take time away from studies but it does contribute to the moulding of the complete individual. In fact, those who are actively involed in extracurricular activities have been showing better academic performances. How can any time wasting activity result in improved academic performance? The answer is because some sports and other extra-curricular activities breed positive attitude and self-confidence which are transferred into the academic works.

Apart from the possible improvement in academic performance, extra-curricular activities are very potent in developing and fostering good social development and skills in the leraners. Through such activities, students learn to make friends, teamwork, roleplay, leadership, interaction and tolerance and gain many other soft skills, which help in shaping them into well-rounded and useful members of the society.

To encourage the above, private schools often offer better extra-curricular opportunities for the students. The adequacy of the facilities in private schools for sports, arts, music, drama, and club activities cannot be compared favourably with those in state schools. Students of private institutions often also profit from external opportunities like foreign trips and exchange programmes. These are very rare and inaccessible in state schools.

A Safer Learning Environment

It is a known fact that the state schools in the UK are faced with the daunting challenge of insecurity. This is so because of certain set of factors which include inadequate funding, large student population, poor teacher-student ratio and others. With these, UK state schools always struggle with the planning, implementation and maintenance of effective security measures. Sequel to the above, learners are left at the mercy of many security vulnerabilities. It is very common to see unauthorized persons gaining entry (sometimes undetected) into school environment. Another security inadequacy in the state schools is the possibility of the students leaving the school grounds without difficulty during school hours. This alone poses serious danger and risk to them.

Poor security, especially in crime prone neighbourhoods, has been exposing the students to greater risk of being caught up in gang wars and involved in drugs and weapon proliferation into schools. This automatically creates a very dangerous learning environment resulting not only in poor academic performances but also in grave danger to the life of the learners.

Apart from the possible external security risks, several internal threats like bullying are also well established and very common in state schools.

Private educational institutions scarcely suffer from such security issues. Because of proper and adequate, they often invest in and adopt standard security measures including high-tech perimeter fences and CCTV surveillance. As such, they can easily identify and prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access into the school grounds. They are also very effective in checking unauthorized movements of the students within or outside the school when not permitted.

Private schools boost of higher discipline standards. Additionally, since almost every learner is known by the teacher and the school management, it is easier for them to be monitored. The response of private schools to internal insecurity triggers like bullying is always very swift and successful. You do not expect all these to be possible in the state schools.

Diverse network connections

Most private schools in the UK attract learners from diverse backgrounds including foreigners. Students of such schools are already exposed to situations where they can easily develop. This could be very valuable for them in the years to come. Most state schools, on the other side, do not have this benefit for their learners. This is so because a greater percentage of the learners in state schools are from the same neighbourhood with a small possibility of diversity. Therefore, learning experience here may be similar to what the learners had already learned in their environment.

Better Social Development

This is another good reason for sending children to private schools. in private schools with  facilities, a lot is instilled in the learners including independence. Because they will stay together for a longer time even after school had dismissed, they can easily take part in other personal development programmes within the school. For example, most private schools have curricula which are very rich with programs that nurture a variety of skills in the learners. Such skills include problem-solving, leadership, public speaking, teamwork, analytical thinking and many more. These are sure ways of encouraging and developing better social development in the students.

Final Words

There is never going to be any single thing that will satisfy everybody. Some will still find faults and some will still be supportive. Therefore, in spite of the heated debate and critics of private education in the UK, there are tangible benefits of sending your children to such schools. Apart from the fact that it may be a bit costlier compared to state funded education, you may not find any other disadvantage. but students of private schools have the advantages of experiencing improved academic performance, developing better social development, enjoying peaceful learning environment because of improved security, exposure to better extra-curricular activities, developing important soft skills, having a larger network to connect to and many others such benefits. Giving your child the opportunity of learning in private schools is a solid foundation on which any structure built on it subsequently will stand. It is common to see such students fly when it comes to university admission and securing high paying jobs. If you are still indecisive, whether to send your child to a private school or not, there are so many convincing reasons to make the right decision now. Make the switch and send him/her there and be happy later.

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