I was Co-ed educated the whole way - wouldn't change it - you need a mix in classes personally speaking, i think it stretches a child more and prepares them for life.
Went to a private international school for two years abroad, then returned to UK and went to a small village primary school and a larger state high school.
International school is amazing, full of a diverse range of people and caring teachers anyway.... not generally a choice, unless you live in a major city.
personally will try and send my kids to the biggest school possible, most primary schools in the UK have 1 class per year, teachers stay at the same school forever, clichey, no way of avoiding teachers etc. NMS, but there isn't much way of avoiding it in the UK, as private schools tend to be smaller.... However, I did really enjoy my time at a small school for the most part.
Will definitely look into Montessori, Waldorf etc style schools.
For high school, if I can afford it I will definitely look into private, at least for the last few years, or at least a specialised sixth form college (for 17-18 year olds) as I believe the prep is far better for university, as the oldest child going through a state school to university, with parents who were unsure of the system as I, it was a hopeless disaster. The school did not push me, or allow me to reach my full potential. Which is a shame. But I wouldn't change where I am now.
I just realised half of my message was deleted before I posted it.
Originally Posted by oliviasarah
I meant to say, that I would never even consider sending any child of mine to a private school. I believe that education should be free and available worldwide to all. And I think that supporting paid education is purely contradictory to that belief.
If I had the money, I'd rather use it to pay for children abroad who can't otherwise afford any form of education, than on my own child who by law will be *required* to go to school, fully funded.
The least socially and emotionally capable people I know are all in/have been in private education. Obviously this is not representative of all privately educated people - but even stereotypes do tend to be based on actuality.
A very high percentage of my primary were either from lower-income or 1st generation immigrant families (ie. poor or non-English speaking) and there was a huge level of tolerance and kindness, which is something I feel that privately educated children are not exposed to enough. There were parts of the school week dedicated to Arabic, Pakistani, Polish, Nigerian, especially for non-English speaking children. I was never afraid of the 15 minute walk through the council estate on the way home, like my parents' friends thought I should have been. After all, 'those people' are all 'thugs and murders', are they not?
I just don't think that it's healthy for children to be only exposed to a certain type of people ie. upper class and white-British. That's not the real world, and young, easily influenced children shouldn't be taught that it is.
I understand that private education provides more opportunities. But their competitive nature is unhealthy, and the teachers have the same qualifications as in state schools.
I totally understand what you're saying, people should definitely mix and kids should know about other cultures etc but in my primary and secondary school and in the area where I live we didn't have a choice in the matter: 99% of people in my village are white British. There was one black boy in my primary school when I was in reception and then when he left to go to high school I didn't see another person of a different race until a Pakistani girl joined us for two years whilst she was receiving funded medical treatment in the UK.
Originally Posted by oliviasarah
In high school there was one girl of Indian origin, one mixed raced boy and everyone else was white (either middle class or working class.)
I think what I'm trying to say is that in some cases, even in non private schools, mixing solely with people of the same race/socio economic background to you can be - sadly - unavoidable. And despite this, I've definitely not grown up with a lack of kindness or tolerance towards others :)
Okay, I'm on my computer now and ready to contribute! As I said in an earlier post, I'm a teacher and have taught at various schools in Australia (both private and public; single sex (girls) and co-ed). I think private schools are better. Plain and simple. That's not to say there aren't good public schools out there (of course there are). I've taught in (what's considered to be) the best public high school in Adelaide, but, in my experience, private schools are better. Even the best public school in the city was lacking in many areas. Of course, a driven and talented child will excel no matter which school they attend, but I think private schools have a lot more to offer than just academics (although their approach to academics is generally more focused than public schools). Somebody posted that there's no point spending lots of money on private education because students can get the same education for free (or very little cost) at the local public school. I don't think it's the same education at all. Attending a good private school is an amazing life experience. It's a community that students will be part of for the rest of their lives, long after they've finished high school. In my mind, what separates schools is the atmosphere and ethos of the school. This is, of course, almost impossible to quantify. Sometimes the most elite private schools are not as good as other private schools. As a parent, I'm sure it's hard to judge, especially when you're basing your decision on a brief tour of the school and an interview with the principal.
Okay, now onto girls schools! I've taught at two, one of which was considered the best girls school in the city. This school was amazing. Seriously, it's the best school I've ever taught at. The girls were remarkable. Seriously, I cannot speak too highly of this school! Oh, don't worry, it costs to send your daughter there ($20,000 per year)! Unfortunately, my daughters will never attend such an expensive school, but I completely understand why parents who can afford the fees would send their daughters there. The atmosphere and education was second to none. The environment was fantastic for the girls, especially the shyer ones. There have been studies showing that girls do better academically at single sex schools (see link below). Also, I don't think girls who attend single sex schools are being denied a "real world" education. They still interact with boys (most single sex schools have brother/sister schools) and in their lives outside of school (hobbies, part time jobs, etc). They have plently of male role models - male teachers, fathers, brothers, cousins, friends, etc. Likewise, I don't think sending your child to a public school makes them more ready for the real world and a private school makes them less ready. Personally, I attended private schools throughout my schooling and was as prepared as anyone else for university and the real world.
Okay, that's it! Sorry, I'm probably taking this thread a little too seriously, but this is a subject that matters to me! I feel like, as a teacher, I have a good perspective on this issue. Anyway...
Here's a link to an article about girls performing better in single sex schools. It's an article from a British newspaper. Couldn't be bothered finding an Australian version or a link to a study, but I'm sure they're out there!:
Thank you all very much for your responses/opinions!
@sarahmezz Thank you for an up to date view of Australian schools. I don't live in Adelaide, but I'm sure the consensus for all of Australia would be fairly similar.
@chicamerlin Thanks for the positive outlook towards Private School kids! I was one and I don't feel as if I lack knowledge about the real world. But inner-city kids paint a slightly different image for me...maybe I'm wrong but the few that I have come across seem to think that the world owes them something. Your comments are very helpful though!
I think Australian Schools are quite different to schools in the UK and US. But your experiences at both are helpful nonetheless. The opinions on the pros and cons of both Public and Private have given me something to think about. We live in a fairly high-socioeconomic area, but I really don't want my children growing up thinking less of people who are less fortunate, balance is good for kids. The kids at my school were mostly easy-going country kids, yes most of us did come from fairly wealthy farming families but we all understood the concept of hard work, dedication and being self-sufficient, qualities that I am desperate to instill in my children!
I guess we have 3 years before Bugsy starts school but the choice still makes me uneasy!
Hmmm... I have a month off before my baby comes so I might just go and look at some schools. I think getting the "feel" for different schools is the only way for me to truly decide.
Thanks again, keep it coming! I find this topic quite an interesting point of discussion.
I'm a Pom trying to get my head around the Australian schools system.
I went to my local state village school from 5 until 11, there was a philosophy that we didn't need teaching, we'd figure out the whole thing on our own eg the maths cards had the answers on the back and we could just do the easy ones again and again as the teacher didn't mark them, our natural curiosity would make us want to discover maths for ourselves, spellings weren't corrected incase creativity suffered. I was illiterate until my mother taught me to read aged nine, then she worked nights to pay for my private secondary education which I the reason I am currently employable. But I am still missing those basic skills and I'm currently leaning my times tables for the first time to try and help my two year old...
I am looking at a lovely Catholic primary school in walking distance of home but I want an all girl's school for secondary so that Hamlet in the school play, the Physics prize winner and the one kid who can fix the computer are all girls, in mixed schools I see a lot of girls studying arts and boys. I want my girls to know they can study chemistry of the non-romantic kind. And yes, I'm a total hypocrite who would send boys to a mixed school for the civilizing influence of other people's daughters.
I think private schools tend to have a more individual character and ethos and more answerable on the whole illiterate-nine-year-old but if there was a great free option for secondary I'd rather not pay. What I am finding difficult to judge in Australia is how academic the schools are, there's lots of talk about which are socially smart or have great sporting facilities but nothing to answer my question 'where are my daughters most likely to end up going to medical school?'.
I hope you find a great school for your child whichever system you opt for!
@Sarahmezz, perhaps you can answer this question. The private schools in Australia that I've seen all seem to be affiliated with a religion/church. Is it just the morals of the church that are taught, or do the kids have to go to a religion class?
I would love to send my future daughters to an all-girls school. I attended a public/state co-ed school from Kindergarten through high school, but I went to an all-women's university and absolutely loved it. I definitely think the environment nurtured and prepared me better for the world than a co-ed education would have done. However, my husband and I are not religious at all. The only experience I have with a church-affiliated school was the small one in my town, where kids had to take religion (which was reading the bible and singing hymns--not looking at a variety of religions) and their science textbooks taught creationism. (This is in the US, so I suppose I expect it a bit more... just hoping Australia is different!)
@northernlights - Yes, most private schools are affiliated with churches, but some are more religious than others. I believe they all require students to do religious education classes up to roughly Year 10, but some require those classes to Year 12. As I said, some schools are more religious than others. I can't really think of any private schools (in the city where I live) that aren't affiliated with churches, but, like I said, there's varying degrees of religiousness, if that makes sense! Even in very religious schools, I've never seen creationism taught in a science class!
Thanks for linking that. Interesting article. Couldn't find one for the boys though. Actually, I found the opposite but I came across it quickly- I'm not doing mega-research into it. I think we can agree to disagree overall :p You are in Oz after all, and a teacher too, but I just wanted to add my thoughts from the British education system.
Originally Posted by sarahmezz
"There is very little space for gender in the classroom to make a difference. Where it apparently has an effect it relates to other factors, such as the aspirations of the parents who want their daughter educated in a single-sex school. But if this is true it will change our understanding."
I have to agree with this guy. Perhaps it's just my part of the country, but the single-sex schools seem very dominated by the middle classes. They were always a bit posh to us oiks in peasant school ;) I went to a brilliant local primary which taught kids from all economic backgrounds- poor kids, 'average' kids, the children of well-off doctors & lawyers etc. By year 6 it did seem like the well-off parents were pushing their kids to take the 11+ and go to the all-girls/all-boys grammar schools.
Of the 5 girls that did go, 3 came back because they hated it so much! Another girl got a scholarship and went off to a prestigious college then came back because she'd got great grades (near identical to her old friends in my school actually) but sorely missed her friends. I'm sure she said at the time that she couldn't be bothered with the hassle of getting there when she could do the A Levels she wanted on her doorstep.
Sorry- another friend story. I have a girl friend who lives up in Glos. and is studying at one of the best secondary schools in the country (in terms of results). She's still doing her GCSEs and is going to get amazing results but she doesn't half complain about it being all-girls. Suppose that's teen girls for you! There is a twin school for boys in the area, but according to her they hardly ever see each other and none of her friends have BFs. I think her mum's thrilled at the brillo results she'll get, but the girl herself would rather be roughing it with boys every day in a co-ed school.
So you can see how these personal experiences have shaped my view on the matter :p I generally view single-sex schools as less than great.
On another note, how do people feel about results/school in general? Let me phrase it better- I know it's every parent's prerogative to make sure their children are doing well in school. Not a parent myself, but I'd want the best for my children and for them to get good results. But what if you did pick a fee-paying school, spent thousands of pounds/dollars on education then your kid turns round at 16/18/21 and says they want to be a farmer/milkman/postman/fisherman/bin man/[insert less favourable job here]? Just wondered what a parent who'd paid out for an education (perhaps with the hopes of their kid becoming a doctor or lawyer or businessman etc) would feel in that situation.
Don't know if that came across right. It's just that I know a man who walked out of school at 16 and is now earning a mint as a plumber -happy as larry- and I know of kids that got the most brilliant exam results but who are bloody miserable with life. So, are results everything?
Lastly, this woman made me laugh out loud! -
Sue Dunford, headteacher of Southfield School for Girls in Kettering, said: "It's a question of confidence in the way girls develop. It's cool to be very good at anything in a girls school - maths, sciences or physics. No one will ask why you're doing a boys' subject. Girls who lack confidence can thrive more in girls-only schools. We don't have boys competing and distracting, so girls can really go for it."
Yeah, because girls don't compete or distract each other. Never in my life have I thought or been told that maths and the sciences were "boys' subjects" or not "cool"!
@goldielocks Good luck with whichever you pick for your little 'un! Looking at all the different schools sounds like a good idea :)
Thank you for you opinion!
Originally Posted by charlieandperry1
Obviously I have no idea where Bugsy will end up but if we do chose a school with higher fee's and our son decided to fulfill any of your listed occupations listed above then I will have absolutely no problem with it! I want my son to have the best education possible at a school that I feel meets his needs, where he is exposed to the widest range of opportunities, and can choose whether he wants to be a Doctor or a Lawyer or a Farmer like the rest of his family. What he becomes in the future is not relevant to me at all, as long as he does his best and finds a fulfilling career where he is content then I'd consider it money well spent. :)
I don't consider any job completely unfavorable, of course I wouldn't love to collect rubbish cans but it takes all kinds of people and occupations to make the world go round! My family have been Farmer's for a hundred years and they are just as successful as your everyday business man/doctor, they just get to live in the most magical place in the world!