No judgements required.

private vs public school no judgements required

There has been a lot of chatter around over the past few weeks relating to school funding and possible changes after various budget announcements.

I am not going to pretend I understand a lot of it, or fully understand how it will change things, but I do understand that there are huge discrepancies between the haves and the have nots. And any changes to funding might make those bigger.

Sadly, like many things in life I guess.

What I really  I don’t understand though, is the subtle judgements (and sometimes not so subtle) that often come with these discussions. That somehow, because a child is at a private school, they are automatically one of the haves and don’t require support.

Poss is at a private school. It’s a choice we made for lots of reasons. She was going there before we received a diagnosis, so for us, the choice to keep her there with the extra costs of therapy after diagnosis has been a hard one. But we know she receives a level of support that we would struggle to match elsewhere.

Along with her amazing aide, Dr Dog, who is with Poss for just over half a day, 4 days a week, she has a small class size and a P-12 system, allowing her to stay in a consistent environment throughout her whole school life. All things as her parents, that we value highly.

If she was in a public school, we have been assured, unequivocally, that she would receive nothing.


Apparently her IQ is too high, her disabilities too minor. Her social skills, anxiety and sensory issues don’t even come into play.

Yes. We are lucky we are in a position to be able to make that choice.

But, like everything, it comes at a cost. Depending on where you sit, the cost might be considered too high.

We rent, we forgo holidays and we budget carefully. Extras are a luxury. Sacrifices are made. I work. More than I would like to. She misses out on having me there. Husband works long hours. We both miss having him there.

There are many families in a similar position at Poss’ school. All simply wanting the best possible education for their children. They work hard and they make sacrifices to give their kids the best start they can. Like every other parent.

On top of the other expenses, OT, speech therapy, paediatrician visits, medicines, school fees can sometimes seem like an unnecessary burden. Maybe the local school would be just as good. And maybe it is. But like a good friend of mine recently wrote, instead of investing in real estate, we are investing in the future of our daughter.

And to make the judgement that she doesn’t require extra assistance, just because of the uniform she wears, or the postcode her school is in, well, that seems short sighted.

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  1. Yes.
    Our public education system is shit to adequate at best.
    There is no blame here.
    Hannah recently posted..Weekend That WasMy Profile

  2. We have just made the decision to send Boy Wonder private for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. He too is too HF. A least with private I think there is hope. With a public school I think he would just get lost x
    Caroline recently posted..I Heart TwitterMy Profile

  3. I think much depends on your school choice, we adore our public school and the girls are very well cared for. But we chose a small school (140 students) the principal is very proactive.

    Our local private school had 3 prep classes of over 30 students each and has around 600 kids enrolled. I couldn’t have sent my girls there at all. They also allocate aide funding to the whole class rather than individual child.

    As with all things different kids need different things.

    • Sometimes and I think good schools do this, when they have several students with part-time funding, they allocate a full time aide to the class. A lot of the time I see a parade of aides walk through the classroom spending only the two hours with a child then moving on because it’s all that kids allocated.. never mind the quality or relevance of the learning that happened during that small supported window..
      Hannah recently posted..Weekend That WasMy Profile

      • Yeah it very much depends on the school. The one near to us choose what they would spend the money on, teacher training, equipment, aides etc.

        We had to have a one on one aide for Heidi and that is what we’ve got at our public school and are very happy with that. The local private school were very honest with us and said they couldn’t guarantee she would get a one on one aide and we’d be better off going public. I’m grateful for their honesty as it helped our decision making.
        Marita recently posted..Oz the Cat Has Moved HouseMy Profile

        • I think you are spot on Marita – it totally depends on the school. I know what a fabulous experience you guys have had, so I know it CAN be done. And I also have friends that went private and hated it. So I guess it’s just about finding the right school for YOUR child and being able to do that without judgement…

  4. I work as an Integration Aide in a public school and I can see many other children that could use help that don’t get funding because they are probably in the grey area (IQ too high, too highly functioning etc) so I end up working with more children than just those I am ‘assigned’ to, which may help or hinder.
    But…. I also find it difficult that Private schools gets so much funding on top of fees when that money could be going to the public schools that need it.
    A very tricky situation and one that no one will agree on – emily xx
    Mrs Sabbatical recently posted..Don’t do as I sayMy Profile

    • It is a tricky one Emily, and there are so many variables with it… I just want my daughter to have the best experience we can afford for her – and hate that others feel they are able to judge us for that… But like you, I am torn as I hate to think of any child missing out on even the basics of support, because they can’t afford them…

  5. Workingwomenaus says:

    I went through both the public and private system. From my experience, we chose a private school for Miss8 then moved to the country. There is one school and boarding away is not an option for us/her. I am sick of the judgements that are borne of ignorance about private schools. Aren’t we all just trying to make the best decisions for our kids’ future? Poss is lucky to have parents who are so invested in her future xx
    Workingwomenaus recently posted..R U OK?My Profile

    • Hear hear – thanks lovely… xx I was the same, doing both and it gives you a taste of both sides. I know the education system has moved on since I was a girl, but some things stay the same…

  6. We’re in the public system which has been working well for us as we are in a small and caring school community. The cuts to all parts of the education system in NSW are wrong, regardless of whether the school is public or private. It shouldn’t matter which school you choose for your child, as long as they get the help they require. But that seems to be something that seems to be nearly impossible to find anywhere at the moment….
    Kirsty @ My Home Truths recently posted..Musical Musings – 90′s Girl BandsMy Profile

    • “It shouldn’t matter which school you choose for your child, as long as they get the help they require.”

      Yes, this. Thank you!

  7. I hear you. We make sacrifices to have some of our children in a private school because the local high school available is at the very low end.
    We don’t have foxtel, we rarely go on holiday and the animals we take on are usually rescue.
    We can’t afford all to go private and they don’t get the help they need, they are ‘grey’ children. NEED an aide but outside the cutoff circle. Government funding just isn’t there.
    You have made an awesome choice. No judgement here.
    Jules recently posted..A Shady Dream With Duct TapeMy Profile

    • Thanks Jules – it’s such a tricky one. I can’t even imagine what you guys go through with having those choices effectively made for you, and then living with the consequences… xx

  8. I agonized over this so much, as a private school child myself I really just expected to send my kids to private too.

    Our local public is amazing. I just could not step away from it. We are getting kids from the local private who have special needs transfer to us as they are hearing how good it is.

    But I also know, when I worked in high corporate positions many of the women were working full time to pay for their kids private education. They were not rich, they just mde decisions and worked to meet the budget those decisions required. I too expect when I have mine in high school tht I will be working full,time just to pay for their school fees. and that is ok, I have no problem doing that, it is one of the things I am happy to do.
    Claireyhewitt recently posted..Bathroom Renovations: Fun or fight filled?My Profile

    • It’s a really hard choice – and who knows, if our local public had a better reputation, maybe…. But I will be working alongside you Claire to pay for those senior school fees… xx

  9. I TOTALLY agree with this post. I went to a private school and would occasionally get jibes from friends as the local high school about it but they were the families going on the fancy holidays and we were staying more local. It was just a choice of how our families spent the money in my opinion. I also get so tired of the government funding issue. We are looking at a private school for the kids that spends LESS per head than the local state schools do, it’s just the parents wear the cost. The cost to the public system would be astronomical if all of a sudden everyone sent their kids to it but that is always glossed over and yet there is this idea that private schools shouldn’t receive any funding – even though they are often being more efficient with it!! Drives me mad!!
    Louisa recently posted..Is your blog secure from hackers?My Profile

    • Thanks Louisa – I really appreciate your comment. And I have similar memories from when I was a teenager!!

      The funding battle drives me nuts – it’s never going to be perfect, and I hate to think that some kids miss out on the help that they need – but to me it almost goes beyond the schooling issue and towards the way those with special needs are supported in our community.

  10. I support the right to choose where you send your child and it’s a shame people assume wealth when the reality is often parents working several jobs and making large sacrifices – particularly in the case of children on the spectrum who don’t qualify for aides.

    I do have an issue with the level of funding aimed at private schools though. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be granted any but it upsets me that some schools have professional standard sports facilities, multi-level underground carparks and fee increases out of line with inflation when many public schools are suffering and dealing with the most disadvantaged children in the country. I might choose to send my son to a private school but I don’t agree with the current funding scheme which has been largely criticized by economists. Sorry for the essay – it was a thought-provoking post x
    Carli recently posted..Won’t someone think of the children?My Profile

    • Thanks for your thoughts Carli… I really appreciate it. I am always up for an essay!

      In short, I agree.

      Our private school isn’t one of those, in fact we have none of the things you mentioned – but they are certainly out there.

      I agree – the funding model needs to be looked at for sure, there has to be a better way to ensure that everyone gets the help they need – whether that be in a private school setting or a public school one – because believe me, just because you are in a private school, doesn’t mean that your special needs child will be catered for.

      We are one of the lucky ones, our school have gone above and beyond – but there are plenty out there who don’t provide that support, leaving the families with really, no where to go….


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