10 reasons you should send your child to private school

PUBLISHED: 10:56 30 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:34 30 November 2015

Royal Hospital School

Royal Hospital School


Sophie Braybrooke from the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Suffolk, thinks there is no better environment than the independent schools system for your child to thrive, and that they are now more financially accessible than ever.

For most parents, there is nothing more important than their child’s education. The most important priority will of course be the happiness and wellbeing of your child during their school years. But fast forward to a stage where your child is searching for jobs and you’ll have a new set of concerns. Lucrative careers make for highly competitive interviews, so having good qualifications and life experiences can make a candidate stand out from the crowd. Below Sophie explains ten reasons why you should consider the private and independent schools system for your child.

Sailing is a challenging but fun activity for pupilsSailing is a challenging but fun activity for pupils

1. Rigorous inspection processes

“Private schools are not inspected by OFSTED, and instead are regulated by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). They have their own grading system which is the most rigorous form of inspection possible, with ten inspectors spending the entire week in the school.

We had our last inspection in February this year, and were rated excellent in every single area. To get such a high rating is certainly not the norm within independent schools and it shows the great management by the current headmaster and his team.”

© GettyImages© GettyImages

2. Endless opportunity and skills development

“For us, the most important thing is to get the best out of each individual pupil through personalised support, ensuring everyone is working towards achieving their own personal best. This results in excellent GCSE and A Level results, but it’s not all about exams.

We also give good leadership possibilities to pupils. We have always believed in values-driven education, so everyone is taught the importance of service to others, loyalty, commitment, and challenging themselves - all those things represent where the school came from. For example, we have a very strong sailing department, and every child learns to sail in their first year. It’s an excellent sport to take you out of your comfort zone and push yourself.”

Sports and other extracurricular activities have a big focusSports and other extracurricular activities have a big focus

3. State-of-the-art facilities

“Independent schools offer some amazing facilities for learning. Our new £18million development has transformed our boarding houses into stunning environments – a real home from home. We also built a £3.6million music school which is home to our incredibly talented choir and band.

We are also in the planning stages of creating a science and discovery centre which will incorporate science and mathematics, engineering, electronics and ICT. I think this is a fitting development since the school’s history was born out of subjects like this.”

Music is just one activity that students can participate inMusic is just one activity that students can participate in

4. History and tradition

“We’ve been around for a long time – the school was established in 1712, so it’s over 300 years old. And it was originally founded to teach the children of naval personnel. It tended to focus on maths, navigation, seamanship, with the view that most pupils would go on and join the navy.

Today we still have about one hundred pupils who still have a link with the navy, but what we have done in the past ten years is to look back very carefully at the heritage of the school, and hand-pick the parts that are the most important for today’s education. So, rather than being stuck in the past we are drawing on our historic traditions to teach values to young people in their lives going forward.”

Divisions traditionsDivisions traditions

5. Differentiated learning and pupil support

“One of the main differences between a school like ours and a maintained school is the pastoral support system, which offers personalised support and guidance. At the moment, there are around 700 pupils in the school, and everybody has their own tutor, so everyone gets close one-to-one guidance all the way through. “

Boarding is a lot of fun tooBoarding is a lot of fun too

6. Extra-curricular activities

“Extra-curricular activities are huge here, and not just in sport. Everybody in year 9 does the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award, which requires some sort of service, learning a new skill, navigation and exploration. Then in addition to that we also encourage everyone to join a section of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) so they have the choice of Army, Navy, Royal Marines or RAF, and can experience things which are so diverse, from learning to fly a plane, to running up mountains in Scotland.

It’s all about challenging yourself and getting outside your comfort zone and we believe that’s important in developing people personally for life outside of school.”

RAF cadet trainingRAF cadet training

7. Inter-house contests

“We have a house system for both day and boarding pupils, which encourages an amazing competitive spirit. All of the social and competitive activities within the school are done house by house.

There’s a bit of rivalry, but it is healthy competition between each house, and I think that’s something that tends to be lost in most schools nowadays. It’s not just sport; we also hold inter-house drama festivals and debating competitions.”

All students learn sailing hereAll students learn sailing here

8. Preparation for university and beyond

“As a boarding school, our pupils get a wide global outlook on life, as we have children from all over the world, and from a wide range of backgrounds. I think it really helps the pupils to grow in confidence and learn how to get on with all sorts of people. The children are all accepting of differences, which I think is important in today’s world.

With the sixth form, we try to prepare the pupils for life after school by teaching them independent living. They cook their own meals, do their own washing, and dine together on a Saturday night, so it’s more like halls of residence at university. “

Leavers' commemoration ceremonyLeavers' commemoration ceremony

9. Flexible boarding options

“The boarding aspect is often a worry for parents, but nowadays it’s about freeing up some time for everybody in the family. Children love boarding because they’re with their friends all of the time, they have set times for doing their homework, all their extra-curricular activities are on site, then at the weekend they look forward to going home to see their parents.

We also have day pupils, who arrive by bus each day. From the Essex region we go via Halstead, and Kelvedon, and they come in daily. We also have options for pupils to stay overnight on an ad-hoc basis, for instance if they have sports matches or music rehearsals.”

Students in their dorm roomStudents in their dorm room

10. It can be affordable for everyone

“Another common misconception is that private education is exclusively for the rich. This isn’t at all true - there are a number of pupils here who are supported on a full bursary.

Like all independent schools we have bursary and scholarship schemes. The first is through our parent charity, for children of parents who are serving or who have served in the Royal Navy or merchant navy, and they can apply for a means tested bursary.

The school also offers a bursary for students who are in receipt of some sort of scholarship or award. So if they do particularly well in exams, or in a particular sport, music, drama, arts, sailing they can apply for a top-up means-tested bursary, which can drastically reduce the fees to only a small contribution from the parents. Nobody should be discouraged about applying to a school like ours. The range of backgrounds and lifestyles of the children makes for a wonderful environment.”

Heads of school - leadership is very importantHeads of school - leadership is very important

Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Suffolk

Holbrook, Ipswich, Suffolk IP9 2RX


Education for children aged 11-18

Registration for 2016 closes on the 10th December

2016 Term begins on the 2nd September

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