The advantages of independent education are many and wide reaching. The class-sizes and exam successes of pupils are well documented, as are the impressive university destinations of many independent school sixth formers. Perhaps less widely known, however, are the benefits of ethos, tradition, culture and pastoral care enjoyed from nursery and pre-prep onwards, which help to turn out well-rounded young individuals prepared for life in our dynamic, and evolving society.
Parents are often spoilt for choice of independent school with a range of options catering for different needs and preferences. On offer are academically selective schools for the more studious pupils, and less selective ones for those who flourish at a different pace. If boarding is an option, parents can choose from schools all around the UK. Day schooling possibilities are plentiful, with many faiths and all manner of academic and extra-curricular interests catered for. Moreover, parents are in the happy position of having an impressive range of both single sex and co-educational schools to choose from.
A contradiction to the inevitable generalisations about independent schools is the fact that each is unique, often with a highly individual character born from a particular history and ethos; something that makes choosing independent schools an especially personal matter.
The UK has long been a draw for pupils from other countries. International pupils add a great deal to the culture of many schools and help foster the characteristic global perspective, which is so important in a young person’s development. There are also some UK independent schools almost entirely devoted to educating students from overseas. As international appeal has grown so too have the number of international study centres and international schools.
There is variety in boarding options to suit all needs. Parents can choose full boarding, weekly or flexi boarding depending on their child’s accommodation needs. Parents based overseas, for example, often need full-boarding, although this is also the first choice for many UK based families due to the close community and excellent education provided by boarding schools. First class care is provided for boarders throughout term time. Outside of term time pupils go home or if this is not a viable option, for example if the family lives overseas they will go to a specially selected guardian family.
Most independent school sixth-form students move on to top universities and colleges. Academic standards are often very high. Independent school examination results for seniors represent some of the very best in the country and a relatively large proportion of independent pupils go on to win places at Oxford, Cambridge and other Russell Group universities. In recent years as much as 25% of the intake of Russell Group Universities, some of the most selective in the country, comprised independent school sixth formers. An amazing achievement given that independent schools educate only 7% of pupils.
Quality of teaching
Teachers are often selected from amongst the best in the country and indeed throughout the world. Many are very well qualified academically with a passion for their subject and the strength of character to nurture intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. Individual attention is a speciality, including the support of special needs if required. A broad curriculum offers opportunity to study subjects such as Ancient Greek, Philosophy and a full range of modern languages. Facilities are invariably impressive, and many schools have their own theatres, concert halls and superb sporting facilities.
Your children can thrive
With the correct advice and research it is imminently possible for parents to choose a school whose ‘ethos’ – philosophy, values and vision are a perfect match for their child. And, as all but the most contrary would agree, a happy, well placed child will thrive educationally, socially and emotionally at the right school.
Gabbitas offers a full range of services to navigate parents through the minefield of options, decisions and practical considerations, including professional advice, recruitment and school management services. If you feel boarding is an option for your child, parents can choose from schools all around the UK and may also be interested in our guardianship services. Day schooling options are also wide-ranging with many faiths and all manner of academic and extra-curricular interests catered for. Parents can also choose from impressive single sex schools. Of course there is also a wealth of co-educational options to choose from. But whatever your query, Gabbitas are here to help.