One of the most rewarding parts of having children is watching their personalities develop and learning through their eyes as they discover the world around them, who they are, and perhaps most importantly how they fit in.
For some children this journey is a seemingly easy path, with the just the usual trials and tribulations of childhood. Falling out with their best friend, a personality clash with a teacher or perhaps an experience with bullying, but on the whole they are happy to follow the trend of going to the local school in their catchment area - that is of course if you can get them in these days - and they generally do well or at least reach an acceptable level.
However more and more parents are looking at the different options available to their families today, as it seems education is no longer "one size fits all" ! Just as each child is unique, so too are their educational needs, and what works well for one child may leave another totally switched off. We looked into a few of the different choices available.
For many parents the decision to send their child to a private school will have been made at birth, or even before! Their child’s name will be have been put on a list for entry at the earliest opportunity. It is true to say that private education can offer many advantages but they do come at a price that many families aren't able to afford.
One of the things that does not seem to be public knowledge, is that many of these schools, including the top ones that are household names, do offer scholarships and bursaries to pupils. If you have an outstanding pianist, or your child is particularly gifted, they could be in with a chance of winning a scholarship, which would help towards the fees, or in some rare cases be awarded a 100% scholarship.
If you are intending to send your child to an independent school it is important to look at the type of environment you are choosing. Many of the private schools specialise, some are academic, while others pride themselves on their sporting achievements. However, do remember that with a private education, it is not just the fees that need to be budgeted for, as you will usually find that the uniform and other necessary extras will leave a big hole in the average bank account!
A useful site to visit if you are considering private education at an independent school is www.tom-brown.com there are many articles regarding questions you might be asking and a school search database, advice regarding fees and even discussing the merits and downfalls of boarding.
The Steiner schools are usually a fee paying school, I say usually as the local Steiner school close to us is actually an academy and as such is a free school. The Steiner system seems to bring out a real passion in most people, either for or against. The ethos of Steiner is to develop the child as a whole and teach the child what he/she needs to learn most when they need to. The Steiner schools encourage creativity in the child and do not follow the national curriculum. However many students do sit standard exams and many continue onto university. At present the Steiner system is not mainstream however the concepts encouraged by Steiner are being adopted in mainstream schools such as encouraging more free play. Perhaps in the future more of us will adopt this way of education.
For more information about Steiner Schools you can visit www.steinerwaldorf.org