Welcome to our 2023 Grammar School pros and cons feature.
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Our Grammar School Pros and cons
For many, it could come down to choosing between a grammar school or an independent school. Therefore, understanding some of the more subtle differences between the two may interest parents. Of course, both types offer a wonderful education for its students, academically as well as in a broader context.
Such is the level of competition for both that achieving a place at a grammar school is on par with an academic private school scholarship.
So, this is about
– focusing on the right fit.
– choosing a school to suit both your circumstances and your child’s personality.
Grammar schools pros and cons
– offer an impressive, academically-focused
socially inclusive education
– without any (private school) fees
– almost exclusively limited to students who live close enough to a grammar school.
The 11 plus first-past-the-post system does not involve a report from the child’s current headteacher, nor an interview. Even then, passing the 11+ does not guarantee a place being offered. Since grammar school admissions criteria among local authorities may vary.
grammar schools’ focus on educational achievement
However, for those students who do meet the admissions criteria, they can look forward to an education with an emphasis on a strong work ethic allied to high achievement and aspirations. The focus is generally on more traditional academic subjects, with perhaps less capacity to branch away from core disciplines. It might be difficult, for example, to find a grammar school which offers Sociology or Ancient History at A level, or less commonly taught languages. Given the expectation for students to take responsibility for their own learning, even if your child is able to meet the entry criteria, you might wish to consider whether the demands will suit them.
Private schools pros and cons
Breadth of opportunity is what comes to mind when summing up what a good independent school offers. While applicants must pass the entrance examination as part of the selection process, the current headteacher’s report and the interview also carry significant weight, particularly if the child offers talents beyond the classroom.
In academic terms, independent schools provide a very high quality of education and may offer subjects that grammar schools are unable to.
If your child is creatively minded, therefore, or would relish being able to branch away from the more academic subjects, independent schools can usually provide for most leanings.
Independent schools also place great emphasis on providing a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities, regularly excelling in certain fields including sport, music, and performing arts. Continual investment in the infrastructure often results in state-of the art facilities to allow for this excellence becoming almost the norm across many schools within the sector.
Binding this breadth of opportunity together are the strong cultures that independent schools can foster. Many parents value independent schools for their sense of community and the life skills they can inculcate in each student. This, together with a strong moral compass, provide the magnet that many parents find irresistible to ignore, despite the significant financial burden an independent school is likely to entail. However, generous fees remission can be found in scholarship awards and bursaries for those sufficiently talented in a particular field, or for those whose financial means would otherwise put independent schools beyond their reach.
Conclusion of grammar schools vs private schools
While grammar schools and independent schools both offer an education of the highest standard, ultimately the choice might depend upon the practical considerations of distance, economics, and/or academic ability. However, for families who do find themselves undecided, then perhaps this broad outline of some of the different features between grammar and independent schools may help you decide which might better suit your child