I must have read half a dozen articles in the past week about how it’s WRONG to send your children to private school.
Apparently sending your kids to private school means you’re a snob. You’re putting unreasonable pressure on kids to achieve academically, at the expense of them being nice people who can get along with anyone. Oh, and if you like the fact that private schools are strict and focus on manners, you’re just abdicating your parental responsibilities. Seriously?
Imagine the reverse of that argument.
In sending your kids to state school you’re telling your kids education doesn’t matter. You’re being a chav and teaching your kids not to get along with affluent people. You’re not teaching them manners and you’re taking complete responsibility for teaching kids that stuff – because the school won’t.
Silly, isn’t it? It’s just one parent saying to another parent, “The way I raise my children is BETTER than the way you raise your children.”
I chose to send my daughter to private school. Like most choices I make about my child, I made it based on my own (limited) knowledge and intuition, and with her best interests at heart.
I don’t think I’m someone who’d often be accused of being snooty.
And if you’re one of those people who think people like me send kids to private school because we want them to go to Oxbridge and become Rulers of the Free World, I’m about to disappoint you.
Yes, I want Flea to do well enough at school that she can make choices in later life based on her interests and not be limited by poor exam results – but that’s all. If she chooses not to go to uni – well, I can see a lot of upsides to that, frankly.
So why did we decide to educate Flea privately? Lots of reasons, as it happens.
Our state primary insists children attend full-time, from day one. The private school lets reception kids take half days and days off if they’re tired.
Our state primary has an intake of 35 reception kids and a year 1 class of 30 – sharing a classroom. The private school has reception classes of 12, with a teacher and a nursery teacher in each class.
Our state primary does tests. The private school doesn’t.
Our state school is a faith school. The private school isn’t.
Our state primary is in a small, almost exclusively white town. The private school draws students from all over the world.
Our state primary has to follow the national curriculum. The private school doesn’t.
Our state primary’s day finishes at 3.30pm. Flea’s school can care for children from 8am and until 6pm, if needed.
That said, no matter what my reasons might be – why should I have to offer them up as justification?
It’s so easy to judge other parents. To accuse them of being less than us. But I suspect those people are really just battling their own insecurity – if you’re not sure you’ve done the right thing, the easiest thing in the world is to put down the people who approach life differently, isn’t it?