The Student Room Group

What are peoples' thoughts on private education?

Should we abolish private schools or keep them? Personally, I feel they should be kept as they provide excellent education to their pupils. That, and the fact that parents have every right to decide which school is best for their child. I do feel, however, that we should expand private education so there are more private schools across the country but maybe at a lower cost in the north so it's more affordable to working and middle class parents.

I just get so annoyed when the left wingers always complain about how we need to get rid of private schools when it would make matters far worse. Of course there are issues with the state education system but how exactly is banning private education going to address or fix it?

All views from across the political spectrum are welcome to share their thoughts, whether left or right leaning.
(edited 1 year ago)

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I’m all for them. I went to a private school myself and loved it and if I can afford to send my kids there in the future then I 100% will.
Original post by Son of the Sea
I’m all for them. I went to a private school myself and loved it and if I can afford to send my kids there in the future then I 100% will.

Hi, thanks for your response. I didn't go to one myself as I was state educated. I would say I received a poor level of state education, having had just over 10 cover teachers in one subject at GCSE. I think private education is good because it encourages students to succeed as individuals rather than state schools which impose the 'one-size-fits-all' approach. If I have children when I am older, I would very much like to send them to private school.

What do you think about the idea of turning poorly performing state schools into low-cost private schools to improve the quality of education?
(edited 1 year ago)
'Private Schools' aren't some homogenous lump. I was educated in the independent sector, and I was lucky enough to go to a good school. I'm nothing but grateful for the chances it gave me. However, I know plenty of others who went to second-rate 'private schools' who received a particularly uneven, sub-standard education and would have been much better off attending a good state comprehensive.
Original post by ELLU22
Hi, thanks for your response. I didn't go to one myself as I was state educated. I would say I received a poor level of state education, having had just over 10 cover teachers in one subject at GCSE. I think private education is good because it encourages students to succeed as individuals rather than state schools which impose the 'one-size-fits-all' approach. If I have children when I am older, I would very much like to send them to private school.

What do you think about the idea of turning poorly performing state schools into low-cost private schools to improve the quality of education?

is this an idea that's ever been floated anywhere? cos it doesn't really make any sense... the worst performing state schools have the poorest pupils - how cn their parents be expected to suddenly pay private fees? And I guess you're actually talking about a pupil premium + top up fee model like they have in ireland, cos otherwise there is no such thing as a 'low cost' private school
Original post by Reality Check
'Private Schools' aren't some homogenous lump. I was educated in the independent sector, and I was lucky enough to go to a good school. I'm nothing but grateful for the chances it gave me. However, I know plenty of others who went to second-rate 'private schools' who received a particularly uneven, sub-standard education and would have been much better off attending a good state comprehensive.


Yes, that's true - private schools come in different shapes and sizes and there are examples of good state comprehensive schools which clearly serve their students well.
"The freer the market the freer the people".
People should have the right to choose an educational provider for their children.
Original post by ELLU22
Hi, thanks for your response. I didn't go to one myself as I was state educated. I would say I received a poor level of state education, having had just over 10 cover teachers in one subject at GCSE. I think private education is good because it encourages students to succeed as individuals rather than state schools which impose the 'one-size-fits-all' approach. If I have children when I am older, I would very much like to send them to private school.

What do you think about the idea of turning poorly performing state schools into low-cost private schools to improve the quality of education?

As mentioned, simply making it a fee paying school doesn’t up the education. The parents wouldn’t be able to afford it and the whole system of that school would have to be changed for it to resemble a private school, not least the resources, extra curricular activities, the quality of the teachers themselves and so on.
Original post by killmewithbees
is this an idea that's ever been floated anywhere? cos it doesn't really make any sense... the worst performing state schools have the poorest pupils - how cn their parents be expected to suddenly pay private fees? And I guess you're actually talking about a pupil premium + top up fee model like they have in ireland, cos otherwise there is no such thing as a 'low cost' private school

Yes, the pupil premium top-up fee is sort of what I'm referring to in a way. By low cost, I mean private schools which charge low fees so that working and middle class parents can afford to send their children there. Even if a school charges low fees, the fact that it's private guarantees smaller class sizes, something the state sector just doesn't cater for. If every school in the country was a private school, then I think there would be few problems. Why should we get free education when we can pay and have the guarantee of a better quality of learning? Free education is slow and inefficient.
Original post by hungrysalamander
"The freer the market the freer the people".
People should have the right to choose an educational provider for their children.


Absolutely - freedom is important in any democracy. Some parents may wish to send their child to a top state comprehensive if they feel it is best for them whereas others choose private education because they prefer it. That's what's good about a free market: we are all individuals who can 'choose' what works best for ourselves rather than being dictated to.
Original post by ELLU22
Even if a school charges low fees, the fact that it's private guarantees smaller class sizes, something the state sector just doesn't cater for.


Um, what? If a school charges low fees, it won't have much income. If it doesn't have much income it will not be able to pay enough teachers to have small class sizes. There is no magic fairy who waves a wand and says "it's a private school so class sizes will be small."
Original post by Son of the Sea
As mentioned, simply making it a fee paying school doesn’t up the education. The parents wouldn’t be able to afford it and the whole system of that school would have to be changed for it to resemble a private school, not least the resources, extra curricular activities, the quality of the teachers themselves and so on.


Yes I know there's a lot to consider but at the same time, I feel that the main focus should be on matching the state sector up to the private sector. I think it's good that schools compete because competition is one of the many qualities that allow enterprise to improve the provisions and services that a school provides.
Original post by ELLU22
Yes I know there's a lot to consider but at the same time, I feel that the main focus should be on matching the state sector up to the private sector. I think it's good that schools compete because competition is one of the many qualities that allow enterprise to improve the provisions and services that a school provides.

Simply making a crap, deprives state school fee paying does not make it match a private school in any reasonable sense of the word.
Original post by skylark2
Um, what? If a school charges low fees, it won't have much income. If it doesn't have much income it will not be able to pay enough teachers to have small class sizes. There is no magic fairy who waves a wand and says "it's a private school so class sizes will be small."


Just because a school charges low fees, doesn't mean they won't have much income - they may have a wealthy sponsor or donor. Also, if the school attracts more working and middle class customers, then the school won't have less income because there will be more consumers 'buying' into what the school has to offer. Also, the low cost private schools could start off charging low fees and then, as demand grows, increase fees to match it. What do you suggest we do to improve state education, out of interest?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Son of the Sea
Simply making a crap, deprives state school fee paying does not make it match a private school in any reasonable sense of the word.


So, please could you tell me your alternative or maybe what you think will help match the state sector up to the private sector?
Original post by ELLU22
So, please could you tell me your alternative or maybe what you think will help match the state sector up to the private sector?

I don't think there's a need to match it, most people are never going to be able to afford private schools, so trying to making all state schools fee paying doesn't solve the problem, it aggravates it. There should be more focus on improving the actual quality of education of the worst performing schools.
Original post by ELLU22
Most private schools are small anyway, and the fact they charge fees makes it easier to have smaller class sizes. Just because a school charges low fees, doesn't mean they won't have much income - they may have a wealthy sponsor or donor. What do you suggest we do to improve state education, out of interest?


You need to start doing a bit of joined-up thinking instead of every answer you have being inconsistent with the one before. For instance, the state schools which you are planning to turn into private schools are, in your own words, "poorly performing".

Poorly performing state schools aren't especially likely to be small (I'd suspect they are more likely than average to be large), and are very unlikely to have wealthy sponsors or donors.

FWIW, I don't think it's physically possible for the state sector to match the private sector, for the simple reason that the private sector always has the option of kicking out people who are a complete pain in the rear end and disrupt everyone else's education. The state sector can't do that - they are the ones who have to fulfil everyone's right to an education.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by ELLU22
Most private schools are small anyway, and the fact they charge fees makes it easier to have smaller class sizes. Just because a school charges low fees, doesn't mean they won't have much income - they may have a wealthy sponsor or donor. What do you suggest we do to improve state education, out of interest?


bring back grammar schools and allow local authorities to pay for large numbers of bursaries in independent schools. Also reduce years of secondary schooling from 7 to 6 and replace year 11 with a transition year like in ireland to save money to pay for these changes. there also needs to be an increase in post sixteen apprenticeships but that will never happen cos the uk has no real skilled industries anymore
Original post by skylark2
You need to start doing a bit of joined-up thinking instead of every answer you have being inconsistent with the one before. For instance, the state schools which you are planning to turn into private schools are, in your own words, "poorly performing".

Poorly performing state schools aren't especially likely to be small (I'd suspect they are more likely than average to be large), and are very unlikely to have wealthy sponsors or donors.

Yes that's exactly my point - the 'poorly performing' state schools are most likely large and in deprived areas. We need to focus on attracting investment to these areas and I don't really see any good alternative. People always say 'match the state sector up to the private sector' but unless we reduce class sizes and increase privatisation, I just don't think that will ever happen. By becoming low-cost private schools, these previously large schools with big class sizes would be able to become smaller and more focused on the individual pupil. What I'm trying to get at here is the fact that we are never going to improve state education whilst big comprehensives and big class sizes remain and unless there's money involved, that's never going to happen.
Original post by ELLU22
Yes that's exactly my point - the 'poorly performing' state schools are most likely large and in deprived areas. We need to focus on attracting investment to these areas and I don't really see any good alternative. People always say 'match the state sector up to the private sector' but unless we reduce class sizes and increase privatisation, I just don't think that will ever happen. By becoming low-cost private schools, these previously large schools with big class sizes would be able to become smaller and more focused on the individual pupil. What I'm trying to get at here is the fact that we are never going to improve state education whilst big comprehensives and big class sizes remain and unless there's money involved, that's never going to happen.

Joined up thinking, ELLU22. You can't wave a magic wand and turn a failing state school with 1200 pupils into a much smaller private school with, say, 600 pupils and half the class sizes, because there are 1200 local kids who you have got to educate, not 600.

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