Taunton School: Green shoots

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 May 2014

Archant

Over 50% of parents would send their children to independent schools according to a consistent steam of surveys over a number of years. Yet, the big barrier that stands in the way of such a move is, of course, cost. However, with the economy improving and prospects becoming rosier, perhaps there has never been a better time to plan for the future.

If your children are very young there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that if you dare to spreadsheet the costs of private education before university, you will be shocked. It is indeed costly, but remarkably – and here is the good news – little by little and with some decent financial planning, all is not lost.

The key thing parents of young children have on their side is time – time to plan, invest and manage financial resources. The even better news is that the financial industry is better than ever at helping parents manage the challenge of paying for up to 16 years of independent education. They will happily show you how it all works.

But is it worth it? We all hear the sighs of disappointment from the scribblers in our press when the statistics about how many independent school educated people now fill the court benches, top CEO posts and jobs high up in industry, commerce and government. Our very own coalition makes that sigh even deeper.

In fact, the number of former independent school pupils who succeed in all walks of life is disproportionate to their number. What does this tell us? That the investment in independent education is definitely worth the biscuit.

Take my parents as an example. They never had an independent school education. They did not go to university. But they believed in education passionately and made the sacrifice to send their boys to the local independent grammar school. They have never regretted it. Very few fee paying parents ever do.

An independent school education will provide access to the best jobs, and provide the chance to develop the best skills, the best qualities and the best attributes that will help your children succeed in the 21st Century. The independent school sector, taken on its own, regularly tops the PISA league tables, and its success keeps on rolling from there all the way to the retirement communities of the country.

The best place to start is by making a visit to an independent school open morning this Spring. Go and sense the atmosphere. See if it inspires you as a parent, because I have heard so many times the phrase – I wish I could come back to school.

Our children only have their youth once. I, for one, wish to look my children in the eye when they are 40 and know that I did my very best for them.

Dr John H. Newton M.A. (Oxon), F.Coll.P., Dip.M.S.(Ed.)

This article appeared in the Spring issue of the A+ Education Guide South West. Click here to see the whole magazine.

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