Private school or state school? This is a question that many parents ask themselves when deciding the fate of their children in the UK education system. Some advocate for state schools, while others think independent schools are the best. As a former privately educated individual, I can say without a doubt that attending a private school (Bales College in London) has several benefits. Without it, I would never have landed my high paying job after returning to India when I finished my university. Below, I have listed some of the top benefits of private schools that I observed from my experience.
- Better academic environment
One of the top benefits of attending private schools in London is that their academic environments are world-class. Due to their better financial standing – due to private funding – private schools can offer students the best resources. For example, students have access to well-equipped libraries, science labs, and computer labs.
Private schools also boast of a more favourable student to teacher ratio, which allows for smaller classes. This allows the teachers to pay better attention to individual students, thus boosting their learning experience. On top of that, since the teachers are employed by the school, they are more dedicated to the students, which leads to better outcomes.
The better academic environment offered by private schools leads to better results for the students. Consequently, this leads to better higher education institutions, which, in turn, guarantees a well-paying job.
- A more rigorous and all-rounded curriculum
One of the things private schools in the UK are known for is a demanding curriculum compared to that of public schools. There is usually a higher course and assignment load in private schools than in public schools. Most schools also offer additional subjects such as foreign languages, arts, music, computer studies, business classes, and others. On top of that, the students are required to perform exemplary.
Student life in private schools is thus likely to be more demanding than in public school. However, this plays out in the student’s favour once they reach university and later on in the job market. This is because the demanding life prepares them for the more challenging university and professional life. As a result, the students can better handle any challenges they face, which makes them more competitive and likely to succeed in their professional lives.
- Discipline and responsibility
With the job market becoming more and more competitive, employers are starting to look beyond professional qualifications. Some of the top qualities they now require candidates to have include discipline, responsibility, motivation, ambition, and self-drive, among others. These are qualities that are easily cultivated amongst the students who attend private schools.
Most private schools in the UK are known for their high discipline standards. This is possible due to the small teacher to student ratio; it is thus easier to monitor the students. On top of that, private schools – since they are not controlled by the government – can turn away any students with discipline problems. They can also expel errant students who don’t adhere to discipline standards. Students are thus more motivated to observe the highest standards of discipline, a quality that follows them even in their professional lives.
Private school environment also teaches students to be more responsible. This is especially the case with boarding private schools, where students have to balance their social and academic lives will lesser input from parents and guardians. Lastly, while teachers are more involved in students’ lives in private schools, they also encourage them to be independent and self-driven. Therefore, they can learn how to handle themselves with little supervision.
- Better attitudes and aspirations
Perhaps one of the best advantages of attending a private school in London over a state school is that students are taught to “dream big”. Due to the better academic environment and resources, and increased parental and teacher involvement, students are expected to become successful.
However, private schools go an extra mile, more than just expecting their students to perform better; they instil in them a sense of confidence and can-do-anything attitude. Consequently, their aspirations are much higher than those of their counterparts in state schools. It is these aspirations that drive them to seek more prestigious university admissions, and later on, well-paying jobs in the top private and public sectors.
- Better extra-curricular activities
Another area in which private schools in London benefit students is in extra-curricular activities. While all schools, including state schools, have extra-curricular programs, the ones in private schools are better. For example, you can find prestigious programs such as horse riding, swimming, gymnastics, music, dance, theatre, rowing, hockey, badminton, martial arts, and others in private schools. There are also several club and societies such as debate, tech, science, baking, and others.
On top of that, these extra-curricular activities are well-funded by the schools. As a result, the students can access better equipment, private tutoring and coaching, and even foreign travel opportunities. As a result, they can develop a range of soft skills such as self-confidence, communication, teamwork, leadership, and others. These soft skills make them more marketable to employers in the future, leading to more prestigious jobs.
- Strong personal networks
Another huge advantage you can reap by attending a private school in London is access to large social networks. Most of the private schools in the UK are comprised of students from all walks of life, as well as international students from various countries. As a result, an individual can forge connections with other students, which prove to be very useful in the university and the job market.
On top of the social connections during school, private school students also benefit from the networks of the school’s alumni. Successful alumni give back to the schools that made them by offering their connections to help other students succeed by getting into prestigious universities, landing great internship positions, and landing better jobs.
State schools in the UK can be just as good at helping their students have bright futures. However, private school students have a huge advantage, namely in the better academic opportunities, better extra-curricular programs, better investment from teachers and students, wider social networks, higher aspirations, and a range of soft skills. All of these help to make private schools a “direct pipeline” to Ivy League schools and prestigious, better-paying jobs. However, students must also do their part by putting in their best effort in both their academic and social lives.