We’re not rich, and we’re both state educated, but my husband and I decided to send our daughter to a private school. In this blog post, I explain why and give you some information on independent school options in the Worthing area.
When Munchkin – as I call her on my blog – was three, my husband and I started considering her schooling. Up until this point, I had assumed she would go to the local primary, but this wasn’t really what we wanted for her, so we started looking into other options.
If I were making the decision today, the current funding issues in state schools would have made my choice even easier.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with my local school, but the vast majority of state primaries have classes with thirty plus pupils, and I was uncomfortable with the school’s mission statement. I wanted a school whose mission was to develop its pupils as confident, well rounded individuals rather than encouraging them to follow a particular religion.
I made my decision before the advent of the Save Our Schools campaign. If I were making the decision today, the current funding issues in state schools would have made my choice even easier.
As an only child, I promised myself I would never have just one child, then broke that promise. I felt I owed it to Munchkin to put her in an environment where she could learn to interact with her peers in the way I didn’t, and build confidence. I was sometimes overlooked for opportunities at school because I was shy. I was also bullied, and my school handled it badly. I didn’t want this for my shy child.
Private schools tend to have a maximum class size of around twenty – actual class sizes can be even smaller. In the seven months that she has been at school, Munchkin has changed from being clingy, to a little girl who makes friends wherever she goes and tells me to go home because she doesn’t need me.
I had assumed that independent schools were out of my league. It turned out that the fees for many schools were comparable to the fees for sending a baby to nursery. I worked out that in theory it would cost more to have a second child, than send an only child to private school. At this point, I should add that I can only afford to privately educate one child. If Munchkin had a sibling, they would both be at state school, irritating mission statement and all!
There are three independent schools for primary age children in the Worthing area: Sompting Abbotts, Our Lady of Sion and Lancing College Prep. Editor Kat would probably tell me off for giving away free advertising if I shamelessly plugged my daughter’s school. Instead, I’ll tell you what I was looking for in a school. Only one school meets all of these criteria:
- Moderate fees
- A good balance of academic achievement, sporting achievement and opportunities in the arts
- Lots of open space, and emphasis on outdoor education
- The opportunity to choose where and how my daughter completes her senior education, rather than staying at the same school until she is 16 or 18
- I know it’s only a minor thing, but given the choice, I’d prefer her to have a hot meal at lunch time
I want my daughter to grow up to be a happy, confident individual and be the best she can be. I feel that my choice of school will give her this.
Simone is from West Sussex and currently lives in a village near Worthing with her husband and young daughter. She blogs as Dog Days and Delights – Tales of a mummy who writes, a little girl known as “Munchkin” and a well loved cuddly dog…