Despite the economic downturn of recent years the number of children in independent schools went up last year. With finances tight, why are parents reluctant to cut back on paying for a private education?
Apparently more than half the cabinet, one third of Britain’s 2012 Olympic athletes, the majority of the UK’s top surgeons, academics, scientists and engineers, in addition to a disproportionate number of our highest achieving actors, musicians and sportspeople, are from the seven percent of the countries independently educated pupils. Considering this parents could be justified in thinking that paying for education will give their child greater opportunities to succeed in their chosen field.
Studies have shown that pupils with exactly the same qualifications from Oxbridge, drawn from independent schools, will go on to be higher achievers than their state school counterparts. Also research from The University of Warwick shows that men from an independent school background will earn seven percent more than those from state schools, regardless of higher education and training.
The explanation for these statistics is much debated but generally unresolved. It is interesting to note however that Independent schools are not answerable to the State and are accountable to the parents and the children – their paying customers. It is conceivable that with this lack of Local Authority influence and the need to constantly test pupils, teachers can teach children how to think, rather than what to think; preparing them for life, rather than just priming them for a succession of government imposed tests. In the long-term, it may also be about feeling entitled to those high paid jobs and top positions in society and that’s something that seems to be instilled in privately educated pupils.
Whatever the reason, the end result is that more children from the UK’s independent schools will end up in positions of wealth, influence and power, so it is possible that paying for an independent education could well be a wise investment.