Public vs Private Schools

The facts, costs, and the outcomes

Kids Education, Schools, A Comprehensive guide to education k-12, Parenting, school readiness

The Facts

The public vs private debate is one that is constantly raging between parents, teachers, and schools. This is especially true in Australia, where there’s a wide range of schools. From your local government school around the corner, to schools like SHORE (officially Sydney Church of England Grammar School) and SCEGGS. Australia has a wide and wonderful variety of quality schools.

However, when it comes to parents, opinion is divided. While some parents are content to send their kids to the local public school, some parents are adamant that investing in a child’s education by sending them to a private school is the way to go.

The Costs

By the end of a child’s schooling in Year 12, parents can expect to be spending $20,000-$32,000 per year at a private school. While local public schools are free, there is also usually an accompanying cost of school fees which are almost always less than $1000 per year, which include excursions.

With parents paying tens of thousands of dollars extra per year, it would be assumed that the extra cost comes with better educational outcomes. On the surface, schools like the Sydney Church of England Grammar School provide a stimulating environment where students are inspired to learn. 
Kids Education, Schools, A Comprehensive guide to education k-12, school readiness, Parenting

Compare this to the concrete jungles of many Australian public schools opened in the 1970s, and on the surface it seems like there’s no comparison. However, trimmed hedges can only do so much.

The Outcomes

Statistically, private schools fare no better than public schools in many areas of schooling. While some prestigious private high schools boast average school leaver marks of 90+ (for ATARS), this is often because they can refuse to take on students in year 11 and 12 who are not strong academic performers.

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to university, it’s the public school kids who come out well on top of their private counterparts. At university, the majority of public school graduates outperform their private school counterparts (Birch and Miller, 2007).

Parent perceptions of public schools also include the fact that their children come out as more well-rounded than private school kids, with co-educational schools being a major selling point.

6 years of high school tuition at Sydney’s prestigious King’s School costs about $195,000 (Kings School Website, 2017). This is equivalent to:

Kids Education, Schools, A Comprehensive guide to education k-12, school readiness, Parenting

Realistically, it’s not private schools who lead to better educational results, countless amounts of research (Thompson, 2003), shows a positive correlation between a high socio-economic-status (SES), and schooling outcomes. Statistically, the best thing a student can do for their education, is get richer parents.

Your Turn

While the private and public debate is likely to rage on, with both sides presenting compelling arguments. The facts remain – while a private school education may be seemingly more pleasant, educational, enriching, and inspiring, when it comes to university outcomes, public school outperforms private ones.

For an educational and fun experience, Wannabees Family Play Town offers primary school excursions and incursions for both private and public schools.  At Wannabees school children can dress up, role play & explore different occupations within our community.

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