Choosing the right school for your children is one of the toughest decisions a parent will make. We all want the very best for our kids. But which school will provide the best environment for your child’s specific needs?
Private vs public: How to decide
The public versus private school debate has long been a hot topic of discussion and will continue to be for generations to come. Every child is unique, so there is no one right answer. Things to consider include location, co-curricular activities, curriculum, facilities, class size, cost, religion, and more.
There are many facets to consider when deciding if you should send your children to public or private school, with the most significant factor being cost. School facilities, technology, class sizes, camps, co-curricular activities and inclusions, all impact the price tag and a parent’s decision.
However, larger budgets don’t necessarily equate to improved educational outcomes. A school does not have to be rich in possessions to be rich in a child’s learning and growth. Fortunately, a good education is available for any budget and public school academic results can compete fiercely with that of private schools.
The most important considerations for parents are thought to be solid leadership and great teachers. These can be found in all types of schools. We recommend keeping things simple. Consider both private and public schools and whether they share the same values you want your child to grow and live by, but that also realistically align with your own personal and socio-economic situation.
Ultimately, you should choose a school that you think your child will want to go to every day. A place where he will grow emotionally and personally, develop academically and flourish as a person. Regardless of whether a school is independent or public, has state-of-the-art buildings or achieves top ATAR results, it should connect with both you and your child at a personal level. It will be somewhere you feel your child will be happy, cared for and recognised, so they can thrive well into the future.
Benefits of a private education
We believe there are three essential benefits to a private education at Trinity Grammar School. Our School has over 100 years of experience and tradition in educating young men. At Trinity, your son will have the best opportunity to realise his unique potential, passions and purpose in life.
While a private education might not be the right answer for everyone, we believe private education can benefit students.
A Trinity education is child-centred. Every boy is known, cared for and guided to grow in mind, body and spirit. Here are 10 ways a Trinity education can benefit students:
- Enriched academic opportunities – through extracurricular activities, vocational courses, a choice of academic pathways.
- Pastoral care – support students’ individual learning needs with specialist staff.
- A safe environment – strong sense of community found in independent schools also discourages dangerous behaviour.
- Shared philosophy and values – clear philosophy on education, discipline, social justice.
- Extracurricular activities – sports, music, arts, cadets, oratory or other clubs.
- Outstanding resources – resources to support student learning in the classroom, on the sports field, in the art studio.
- Future readiness – range of specialisations.
- Class sizes – more direct knowledge that teachers have of the students, enabling them to provide support.
- Parental involvement – we make it a priority to involve parents in the community.
- Alumni community – there is a strong sense of pride in the school alumni.
When is the best time to start?
There is no one right answer to this question as it will depend on your child’s needs, preferences and personality and other factors such as location and affordability. However, there are advantages for choosing private school from the early years of schooling.
While in the past pre-kindergarten, and even kindergarten, may have been the domain of colouring and craft activities, times have changed. There is strong merit in starting your child in independent education from an early age to kick start a positive lifelong learning journey.
There are a number of reasons that a private education matters in the early years. The early years of schooling mark a critical point in a child’s education journey, particularly in terms of social and emotional development. Many children struggle starting school for the first time and have difficulty settling in to this new environment. A negative experience at this stage of a child’s schooling can have a detrimental effect on their opinion of school and impact the latter years of their education.
The International Baccalaureate Organisation, says it best: “Experiences during the early years lay the foundations for all future learning … It is our responsibility to recognise and maximise this crucial stage of learning.”
During this critical phase in the education journey, children will receive a solid foundation for learning and will be equipped with the skills required to make the most from their entire schooling experience. As an International Baccalaureate school, our focus is on meeting the academic, social, physical, emotional and cultural needs of each child.
The role of religion in education
The importance of faith in education should also be considered when deciding between private and public education. At Trinity, our educational principles are underpinned by a thoroughly Christian foundation. We aim to impart knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognise the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.
Religious education is an essential component of a balanced education. There are many advantages to Christ-centred education, the most significant being that it ignites a child’s connection with God. Through song, books, games and discussions, children develop values and attitudes to grow in wisdom and in stature in favour with God and man to become contributing members of society.
Christianity can also inspire boys to become great leaders. In preparing boys to ‘live’ leadership in their community, there is much they can learn from the teachings of Jesus and his style of leadership. Humility, integrity, social justice, self-control and compassion are all qualities that come to bear.
Cost vs value: Is private school worth the money?
Education and schooling at all levels come at a cost. When determining whether private school is worth the financial investment, we believe that parents must have a thorough understanding of how a school is funded. The value of an education investment cannot be measured without funding being part of the equation.
Following the Gonski Review in 2014, a new funding model was introduced. The Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) mandates that non-government schools are subject to ‘capacity to contribute’ measures – the amount of base funding they receive is dependent on the school’s capacity to pay. Currently, independent schools receive approximately 60 percent of funding from private sources and 40 percent from government sources. Funding is just one part of the equation.
Generally, independent schools have a reputation for offering smaller class sizes and greater focus on the needs of individual student; specialist and highly skilled teaching staff; engaging learning environments and high-quality facilities; and, an extensive co-curricular offering. Independent school fees also tend to include the cost of excursions, camps, text books and more.
Parents can find comfort in the alignment of cultural and religious values as well as a school’s long-held traditions and rituals.
Ultimately, this decision will be determined by your own family’s situation and priorities as well as the needs of your child.
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