Thursday, 24 July 2014

Public school / Private tuition / Both ? - It’s an age-old debate that’s been raging for years – and now it’s back in the news.

The argument is simple: is it better to send your child to a private school, or to have them attend a state school with extra private tuition to bolster their learning? A recent study conducted by the think-tank 'Social Market Foundation', claims that private education only actually improves a child’s earning potential as an adult by £3600 per year. Offset against the sometimes staggering amounts paid to attend public schools, and it’s easy to see why some people plump for private tuition instead.

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The results of the SMF study

The study carried out by the Social Market Foundation worked like this: over a period of 16 years, they assessed the actual earnings of people between the ages of 26 and 42 – with an even split of both privately educated and state school attendees. The results revealed an earnings gap of around £200,000, with the privately educated people earning more. However, when these results were fine-tuned so that people were compared using their family background (for example, those who came from a wealthy family but still attended a state school and vice-versa), the results were much more striking. In this apples-for-apples comparison, the earnings gap dropped to just £3600. This suggests that earnings potential has less to do with how a person is educated and more to do with their upbringing, attitude to learning, and other external factors.

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Private tuition or public school?

When it comes down to it, the results of this study seem conclusive: in real terms a public school education won't land you a much better paid job! It stands to reason then, that if parents do wish to bolster their children’s education, many will look at more cost-effective solutions when presented with this evidence. With the increase in private tuition firms and the recent rapid growth of the e-learning industry, many people now prefer to combine a state education with a private tutor – a path which is far less costly than a full-time private education – safe in the knowledge that their child’s prospects can be just as bright as any other.

A matter of preference

As with anything, at the end of the day all that matters is your personal opinion on the matter. It is by nature a very contentious issue, however it may offer reassurance to some to know that private fee-paying schools are not necessarily the ultimate answer to job success/satisfaction. As is often the case, using a combination of the tools at your disposal can be the most effective way forward. So to provide the best possible chance of success for your little learner, perhaps supplementing their state (or private) education with a few hours of private tuition is the answer.

Where do you stand on this debate? We’d love to hear your opinions and experiences as always, so please feel free to share below. You can also get in touch with the LCF Tutors team directly on 01489 786473.


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