What Is a Private School? Top 6 Things All Parents Need to Know

There are around 5.7 million students enrolled in private schools offering K-12 education facilities in the USA. Private schools offer education for all ages, from pre-kindergarten to final graduation. 

If you can afford it, a private school offers many benefits for young minds, but it doesn’t suit everyone. So, if you’re considering a new school for your child soon, you might wonder, ‘what is a private school education able to offer my child?’.

Get all the details here.

1. Defining Private Schools

The main difference between public and private schools is funding. Private schools receive no money from the government. So, students pay tuition to keep these institutions operational.

Public K-12 schools cost nothing to attend, and public colleges are also much cheaper than private ones.

How Much Does Private School Cost?

If you don’t mind paying extra in the name of education, you’re probably curious about the costs involved in sending your child to a private school.

On average, you’ll pay around $12,350 per year for private school. Plus, there are extra expenses for uniforms, excursions, boarding, and extra-mural activities. 

Public schools cost the taxpayer around $7,000 per student per annum. 

Price isn’t always an indicator of better quality education. After all, there are many fine public schools available in every city, countrywide.

There are many other factors to think about when deciding on your child’s education, apart from private school cost aspects.

2. Types of Private Schools 

Since they’re privately owned and funded, it’s much easier for private schools to change things up a little from the norm. As such, there are six major types of private schools. 

Traditional Private Schools

Private schools may have a secular or religious ethos and follow certain educational programs or belief systems.

Some private schools, known as independent schools, don’t designate any affiliation. Lessons may include faith-based learning or particular philosophy teachings. Instruction can also take place in various settings.

Usually, the classes follow the K-12 format. 

Religious Private Schools

You should consider these schools if you have strong religious beliefs or would like your child to learn in an environment that fosters particular values.

Often, these schools have affiliations with religious associations or organizations. They might include religious elements in their lessons, or hold separate religious instruction classes.

Sometimes, private schools have a chapel on site where children attend regular worship sessions.

Often, these schools value righteousness above all else. They provide discipline based on these principles.  

Specific Approach Schools

These schools include those that focus on particular belief systems. These methods center on students’ academic prowess based on their individuality and interests. 

For instance, the Montessori approach places an emphasis on learning through hands-on activities.    

Waldorf schools commit themselves to holistic development. They place equal emphasis on physical and mental activities. Later, the focus switches to academics, self-esteem, intellectual growth, and social responsibility. 

Language Immersion School

These schools immerse children in a particular language. They’re suited to children whose parents have a foreign heritage that they’d like their children to learn more about.

Some of these schools offer lessons solely in this second language, while others offer both English and second language tuition.

Special Education Schools

It’s impossible for children with special needs to thrive in an ordinary school. Special education schools offer individualized attention to children with learning difficulties, to help them learn at their own pace.

Usually, these professionals know methods, therapies, and treatments to help these children reach their full potential.

Instead of following a standard education curriculum, these teachers assess the child’s skills, requirements, and progress and modify their lessons accordingly.

Boarding Schools

Boarding schools allow children to live in dormitories at the school and many of the staff members live onsite too. The students return home for weekends and during school breaks. 

Most private schools of all descriptions offer boarding options.

These kinds of schools can help children learn independence and also immerse them more fully in school life. These schools offer a wealth of after-hours activities, sports, and community initiatives.

They’re convenient for families who live far from the school they’d like their children to attend.  

3. What Is a Private School Best Known For?

One of the biggest benefits of private school institutions is the small class sizes across the board. This ensures that teachers can give each child individual attention and get to know each one better.

It’s much easier for children to learn in these small groups, too, since there are fewer distractions. 

4. Teachers at Private Schools

Public schools pay their teachers more than private schools do. That means they attract the most experienced and qualified teaching staff.

Yet, private school teachers have the benefit of smaller classes. They can also access more creative teaching methods, which may benefit some students.  

There are many outstanding teachers employed in private schools too, so don’t assume public schools have the monopoly on the best educators. 

Always consider teacher qualifications and experience while researching the best private schools.

5.  Diversity in Private Schools

Private schools aren’t as diverse as public schools, although they’re committed to improving their statistics regarding this. Around 67% of students in private schools are white children from privileged backgrounds.

This means that children miss out on contact with children who have different backgrounds to their own. 

6. Private School Grades

In general, private school students achieve higher grades than their public school peers. Yet, experts attribute this to the fact that their parents are usually better educated and more affluent. 

When it comes to grades, it’s more important that private schools offer a greater diversity of courses. This is particularly important in the case of high-achieving students who may want access to honors and advanced placement classes.

Doing What’s Best for Your Child

Only you can make the call when it comes to deciding, ‘what is a private school going to offer my child?’. If you went to a private school and enjoyed it, you might want to give them this opportunity too.

It’s vital that your child visits each school with you while you make your decision. That way, they can tell you where they feel most at ease.

Would you like some more advice on how to approach life’s most complicated questions? Browse our blog for extra insights.