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Is private education only for the gifted?

Some parents feel that investing in a private school education is most beneficial for children who are already destined for academic success.

If your child is not a natural maths whizz or spelling bee champion, will a private school education be ‘worth’ the financial outlay?

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When you’re choosing a school for you child, it’s important to consider the impact it will have on them as a whole person. Education is not just about getting good grades; the best education is one that inspires and challenges your child, creating a healthy adult who can contribute positively to society.

Education is more than good grades.

Your child will spend around 13 years at school – and they’re not called ‘formative years’ for nothing. As well as learning the three Rs, children develop their social skills, coping mechanisms, imagination and drive at school. They learn how to learn, how to express themselves and how to work as part of a team. These essential skills will be valuable inside and outside the classroom for the rest of their lives.

It’s important to keep in mind the benefits of the exciting extracurricular programs available at some schools. For example, does the school you’re considering offer any of the following?

  • School camps that encourage team work and independence
  • Music and arts courses that encourage creative expression
  • Language immersion programs to build an understanding of other cultures
  • Sports teams for good health and social engagement
  • Work experience programs for career guidance
  • Volunteering clubs that allow students to help in the community
  • Community gardens that teach about sustainability and wholesome food

Any child, regardless of academic interests, can derive long term mental and physical health benefits from a well-rounded education experience.

Schools cater to a range of learning needs and styles.

Education research shows us that children don’t always succeed by simply rote learning in a classroom setting. Private schools have responded to this by offering a range of innovative programs that acknowledge the different learning styles of different children, including those who may need extra support to reach their potential. As you explore your school options, ask about in-house counselling, speech or occupational therapy, or lunch time homework clubs.

Private schools are often able to offer smaller class sizes, too, allowing more one-on-one time between teachers and students.

Many children who are not naturally gifted can still excel over time with the right support and encouragement.

Preparing children for life after school.

At senior levels, private schools now offer diverse options for completing Year 12, including pathways to TAFE, apprenticeships or entry-level careers, not just university entry. Throughout your child’s private education, they will be given every opportunity to discover their unique skills and talents, which may or may not lie in traditional academic areas.

The purpose of schools and education is not just to get a child into university, but to guide them towards a healthy, vibrant future beyond the classroom. Investing in private education is a very personal choice and should be considered as an investment in your child as a whole person, regardless of their academic talents. Your child’s ability to interact with peers, manage their time and contribute positively to the community will have as much impact on their future successes as their actual grades.

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