Benefits of independent (private) education vs. state education
Many parents are now choosing for their children to attend independent schools rather than state schools: they want to give them access to greater opportunities and wider skill-sets. Ultimately, it is to prepare them for successful and enriched lives in this constantly developing world.
Here are some of the reasons why parents are choosing an independent education over state, opting to send their children to Waverley Prep School and why the investment is worth it.
One key advantage of a private school, such as Waverley Prep School, is the enriched educational experience that pupils obtain. At Waverley, this is thanks to numerous additional initiatives, such as extracurricular activities and an individual tailored approach to every child’s education.
Just one example of tailored teaching at Waverley is that children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, receive per day 50 minutes of high-quality phonics teaching in groups of 4 to 5 children per teacher. Children are streamed in these groups according to their academic ability which further ensures that children progress and are comfortably challenged to ensure maximum benefit and learning.
At Waverley Prep School, in particular, our pupils are strongly encouraged to get involved in a wide range of co-curricular activities. These include music ensembles, sports fixtures as well as arts and theatrical performances. We also offer a wide variety of enriching school programmes such as Forest School where pupils learn valuable skills in realistic settings.
In addition, independent schools can create their own curriculum. This means that teachers’ expertise and lessons are not limited by strict boundaries of a state education. At Waverley Prep School, we employ the best-skilled staff members from around the country to share their knowledge in a way that will be most effective for our pupils whether that includes advanced schoolwork or enriching trips to the museum – or most likely, a combination of both.
At Waverley Prep School we ensure all pupils have the best foundations for their future education. This is partly by ensuring pupils are well prepared for their 11+ school entrance tests, which are often required for entrance to independent secondary schools and grammar schools. Our Year 6 leavers move on to an impressive variety of Senior Schools both locally and further afield.
Attending an independent school increases an individual’s likelihood of attending a top University as they move on from Senior School. In fact, many private schools have close to 100% of pupils getting into their first choice University. This is because privately taught pupils frequently score top marks on standardised tests, giving them a competitive edge when applying for a place on further education courses.
- Small Class Sizes. Waverley offers small class sizes of a maximum of 21 pupils. Most state primary schools have class sizes of 30 to 35 children.
- Pupil / Staff Ratios. Waverley offers two staff per class. Our ratio is therefore 1:10. In a state primary school, the Government’s recommended ratio is 1:30 ie. one member of staff per 30 children.
- Achieving Above and Beyond. Children at Waverley are not taught to simply achieve the ‘Expected’ standard of education for their age. Pupils are actively encouraged to academically achieve above and beyond being challenged to achieve their full potential. In the state sector, children are simply required to meet an ‘expected’ level of education.
- An Individually Tailored Approach to Education. Small class sizes, excellent pupil/teacher ratios and the ethos that every child is challenged to achieve above and beyond the ‘expected’ level, mean that children academically thrive. They achieve to their maximum potential and not just to a National Curriculum accepted standard.
- Specialist Subject Teaching. Independent schools generally offer a wider range of subjects and more specialist teaching. At Waverley, children enjoy specialist teaching in Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning, Latin, ICT (Information and Communications Technology), Exam Preparation, French, Music, Art and Sports. State primary schools follow a more standardised National Curriculum with all subjects generally taught by Form Teachers.
- Primary School Performance Indicators (PIPS). Evaluations of the mathematics, literacy and developed ability assessments of Reception to Year 6 Primary school children, showed that children in independent schools on average perform 58% better than their state school counterparts by the time they reach Year 3. (2014 PIPS results)
- Two Years Ahead Academically. The Independent Schools Council in a report confirmed that children who had received an independent education, are on average two years ahead academically compared to their state school counterparts by the time they are 12 years old (the end of their Primary education). The ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) found that 'the quality of pupils' academic and other achievements at Waverley is excellent'.
- Opening Doors to the Best Secondary Education. Independent primary education prepares children to achieve places at a range of regional and national secondary schools, not just their local secondary school. At Waverley, we pride ourselves on our pupils achieving places at the Secondary School that is right for them. State primary school children typically move to their local secondary school in their catchment area.
- Improved GCSE results. Children with an independent primary and secondary education achieve on average 2 GCSE grades higher than their state school counterparts.
- Entry to Top Flight Universities. 60% of current Oxbridge students are from independent Senior Schools or grammar schools (2020, Bulman - The Independent)
Safe Learning Environment
Private schools are renowned to have high standards of discipline and respect between staff and pupils. The excellent ratios of staff to pupils make it a lot more manageable to monitor school grounds and pupil behaviour, Most independent schools, including here at Waverley, have a strong feeling of community which nourishes the children’s social skills, encourages good behaviour and a sense of looking out for each other.
The discipline that children learn in independent primary schools also follows them to secondary school and beyond, where they fully regulate their own attendance and attainment levels. At Waverley, we also create a wonderful, caring and nurturing environment with a ‘family feel’ due to our close relationships with parents. Waverley's recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspection stated that 'Pupils at Waverley demonstrate a deep respect for diversity and excellent understanding of the principle of equality. Pupils also demonstrate outstanding moral development and contribute strongly to the well-being of those around them'.
Emotional Wellbeing and Self Confidence
Children from independent schools are recognised as having high self-assurance, ambition and a greater sense of self-belief. This has been proven to help with career prospects, financial independence, earnings potential, work/life balance and having a wider outlook on life. In Waverley's recent ISI (Independent School Inspectorate) inspection, the inspectors found 'that pupils exhibit excellent self-awareness and self-confidence.'
- Communication skills. Children from Waverley have been recognised as having improved communication skills due to smaller class sizes, the ethos of teaching to a child’s full potential, and the offer of a wide range of extra-curricular activities. This enables children to communicate more confidently and easily with people from all backgrounds and cultures.
- The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) found that 'The communication skills exhibited by pupils at Waverley are outstanding.'
- Independent schools offer a wider range of extra-curricular activities. At Waverley, we offer a broad and varied schedule of After School Clubs. These help to develop a well-rounded individual with improved ‘soft-skills’.
- ‘Self-Promotion’. Children from independent schools are more likely to succeed in all areas of life due to their ability and confidence to ‘promote themselves’.
Waverley Prep School's foundations are built around open communication between the school and the parents. This open communication between all parties ensures that pupils’ needs are carefully monitored and addressed, helping them achieve the best they possibly can. At Waverley, we understand the essential role parents play in their child’s education. From hosting meetings with the teachers, coffee mornings, and fundraising initiatives, parents’ involvement is encouraged and enabled at all times. It is also made easier by our parents' committee, the WFA, Waverley Friends’ Association who organise and raise funds for exciting and unusual opportunities and experiences for pupils.
Careers and Future Earnings
Independent school pupils enjoy a much higher earnings potential throughout their career compared to their state school counterparts. (The Social Market Foundation Report 2015). This earnings differential has continued to widen in the years from 2015 to 2020.
- Career Prospects. Independent school pupils attain disproportionately more top roles than their state school counterparts. This is particularly so in areas such as politics, law and medical but also in other areas such as engineering, manufacturing, IT and research and development. For example, the Sutton Trust found that over 73% of barristers attended independent schools (2014). The Milburn Report found that 54% of Chief Executives and 51% of leading medics attended independent schools. Nationally, only 7% of children attend independent school.
- ‘High-Status’ Jobs. Graduates who have attended independent school at both primary and secondary level are 32% more likely to gain a ‘high-status’ job in higher managerial or professional occupations. (UCL Institute of Education: 2018)
- Entrepreneurial Success. It has been found that independent school pupils setting up their own businesses are 63% more likely to still be operating after 4 years than pupils from a state school background. (The MacKenzie Report, 2019).
To read Waverley's latest Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspection report, click here.