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Private school education- a good investment?

June 7, 2018  |  #Money Management

The pros and cons of private education

Choosing the right school can set your child up for lifelong success.

This begs the question – private or public? There are unique advantages to both categories, however what you choose should ultimately reflect your values and goals. Australia has one of the highest levels of private school enrolment within the OECD, as well as the third-highest amount of household expenditure on private education, according to OECD statistics.

It’s clear private schools are a major part of our education system – but are they worth the price tag?

It all depends on what’s most important to you and what you value. Get in touch to discuss.

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Your child's education affects their futureYour child's education affects their future.

 

The pros and cons of a private education

Advantages

Higher spend – Private schools have more money to spend on educational resources. New South Wales private schools earned a net recurrent income of $20,053 per student in 2016, well above the public school income of $13,318.

Smaller classes – Private schools generally have fewer students and a greater number of teachers overall. This means students benefit from more individual attention and personalised improvement plans.

Specialised learning – Private schools aren’t required to follow prescribed state curriculum. This doesn’t necessarily mean the education is overall better, but could provide opportunities for your child to focus on specific areas such as sports or religious education.

Disadvantages

Greater cost – The funding private schools receive mostly comes out of your pocket. Figures released by the Australian Scholarships Group revealed that the cost of sending a child born in 2018 to an independent private school would total $475,342, compared to $66,320 for a government school education.

Selective enrolment – Being able to afford the fees does not guarantee your child admission to a private school. While public schools may be required to accept eligible enrolments from any students in the correct zone, private schools have the right to refuse admission to any student on any grounds, including religion or language.

Uncertain performance – Sending your child to private school is not in itself a promise of lifelong success. Your child’s performance will be impacted by a number of other factors, and will also come down to the particular strengths of your chosen school.

Two boys in the form of an aircraft pilot and traveler playing in her roomHow do you define succes?

Can you put a value on your child’s education?

When you pose the question this way, it seems obvious that private school is the better choice. However, you need to consider success as you define it, and as your child does. Are NAPLAN results the most relevant indicator of academic performance, or are they less important to more practical fields such as arts and sciences? The answer probably comes down to your child’s goals for the future.

For this reason, you might consider sending your child to a high-performing public school for their formative years and reassessing this decision once they have an idea of what they want to do.

Given the high costs of private school, could you be spending that money more productively? Education isn’t the only way you can create a bright future for your child.

  • Overseas holidays can help them to see the world, gaining new perspectives and cultural understanding that can later be applied to careers.
  • Saving the money to cover university fees can ensure your child enters their career without student debt.
  • Investing that money can demonstrate financial responsibility to your child while using it to secure a home loan for your child can kickstart their investment portfolio.

Before assuming private schools are the best answer for you, take the time to assess all your options. Use the My School website to compare NAPLAN performances of your available institutions, and visit open days to see each school’s unique offerings.

Balancing education costs against other life opportunities is difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Work with an Invest Blue financial planner today for compassionate advice.

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