Private School or a Private Tutor? A guide for Parents.

Last Updated: 19 Nov 23
Happy family planning their future.

Comparing the benefits of both, amidst the rising costs of private school fees.          

Private School or a Private Tutor?    

In the United Kingdom, the landscape of education has long been a topic of discussion and debate. One of the most significant aspects of this conversation revolves around the choice between sending a child to a private school or opting for the services of a private tutor. Recent headlines highlighting a 20% rise in private school fees, with the impending addition of VAT, have again thrust this topic into the spotlight.

Parents and guardians are understandably concerned about the financial implications of such changes. As private school costs continue to rise, many seek alternatives to ensure their children receive the best education possible. This article aims to shed light on the benefits of both private schools and private tutoring, helping families make informed decisions about the future of their children's education.

The Private School Experience

For decades, private schools in the UK have been synonymous with academic excellence, a wealth of extracurricular activities, and a network of connections that can prove invaluable in later life. The potential for a 20% increase in school fees may raise eyebrows, but private schools still offer a range of advantages:

  1. Quality of education: Private schools are renowned for their high academic standards, often boasting smaller class sizes, which allow for more individualised attention. Private schools offer a safe learning environment with a strong culture that places emphasis on personal responsibility and ethics. A lower staff-to-student ratio allows for more observation and intervention in case of a conflict. 
  2. Extracurricular opportunities: Private schools frequently provide a wide array of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, societies and trips, enriching a child's educational experience.
  3. Networking: Private schools offer a unique environment for building social connections that can prove beneficial in future career endeavours.

However, the soaring costs of private education mean that it's no longer within reach for many families. This has led to an increased interest in private tutoring as a viable alternative.

The Rise of Private Tutoring

Private tutoring is gaining popularity as a flexible, cost-effective means of supplementing a child's education. Here are some of its benefits:

  1. Tailored learning: Private tutors can tailor their teaching methods to suit each student's specific needs and learning pace, addressing their strengths and weaknesses effectively.
  2. Convenience: Private tutoring often offers greater flexibility, accommodating a student's schedule and learning preferences making it easier to balance with other commitments.
  3. Cost-effective: While private tutoring isn't cheap, it can be more cost-effective than sending a child to a private school, especially when school fees are on the rise.
Making an Informed Choice

With private school fees reaching new heights, families are confronted with the daunting task of choosing between sending their child to a private school or supplementing a free state school education with private tuition. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Budget: Assess your financial situation and decide what you can comfortably afford over the long term. Be aware that if your child starts at a private school and you cannot continue to pay the fees, then a subsequent transition to a state school will be very difficult for them, as they will lose their peer groups and social structures. In 2023, the average tuition fee for a day pupil at a private school is £20,480 a year and £34,790 for a boarder. Private tutoring is certainly a more budget-friendly option, with tuition fees ranging from £30ph to £75ph. Most families who supplement their child's state school education do so at certain key school stages (e.g. for public exams or SEN support) and likely will focus on one or two subject areas.
  2. Your child's needs: Consider your child's learning style, personality, pastoral and academic needs. Some children will thrive in the more nurturing environment of a private school, while others will flourish in the busier environment of a state school with supplementary support from one-to-one academic tutors when needed.
  3. Extracurricular activities: Evaluate the extracurricular opportunities available in both scenarios. Can you supplement a state school education with access to high-quality clubs and activities in your local town? 

In conclusion, the decision between private school and private tutoring is a deeply personal one, influenced by factors such as financial capacity, the specific needs of the child, and long-term goals. In a rapidly changing educational landscape, the choice between private school and private tutoring is just one of many decisions parents must make to ensure their children receive a quality education.

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