An independent or ‘private’ school is a primary or secondary school that has independent finances and governance and one that is funded by tuition charges and gifts. It is governed by a board of directors. Independent schools may have religious affiliation and some schools may offer boarding facilities.
Special assistance private schools aim to improve the lives of students by providing services tailored to the specific needs of their individual students. An example of this is a dyslexia school or school for severely handicapped pupils.
Independent schools retain the right to select their students, who usually have to pay full fees. Some pupils get a scholarship into a private school, which makes their fees cheaper. Scholarships depend on the talent of the student (sporting, artistic or academic).
Tuition and fees vary between specific private schools. Many offer need-based financial aid or monthly payment plans. The schools can also help parents identify potential sources of financial help from outside agencies. In some instances fees may be paid for the student – this is true in the UK of forces children (army, navy and air force).
Independent schools generally pay higher salaries for the best teachers and also provide enriched learning environments, high academic standards and a low student to teacher ratio. They also offer close-knit communities, individualised learning and hand-on learning opportunities. The good reputation of a private school can also help pupils later in life.
Because private schools don’t receive government money, they are free to create their own curriculum, fund programs however they see fit, establish their own admissions process for pupils and set their own requirements for hiring or firing staff.
There are drawbacks to private education that should be considered before enrolling a child in private school. The main one is usually cost. Even with financial help, the fees can be too steep for some parents.
Also you should consider that your child may not live near their friends. If the selected private school is a long way from home, your child may have to board, which doesn’t suit everyone and can be a very lonely experience for a young child.
Because each school chooses its own curriculum and teachers without government controls, parents must make sure that they approve of the selection processes.
Fear of snobbish influences at school is a valid concern and pupils may face discrimination outside school for being a ‘rich kid’ or snob.
Parents should consider these disadvantages carefully, especially the fee side of things if they have more than one child!
Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important things you can do for them so choose wisely.