Advantages & disadvantages of private & public secondary schools

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The advantages and disadvantages of private and state schools depend on your perspective. Your own educational values and background mean you will weight some factors more heavily than others. For example, if learning a particular religion is important, you may lean towards religious schools.


A major disadvantage of private schools for most people is their cost. Since they are not funded by tax dollars, they have to charge tuition. The average yearly tuition cost for a private secondary school can be around £6,500. Since state schools receive their funding from property taxes or other taxes, you are already paying for your local state schools, though they may charge extra fees for extra-curricular activities and supplies.

Quality of Education

Many people assume that the quality of education at private schools is better than that at state schools. However, some studies suggest this might not always be true. The quality of education depends on the school. For either a public or private school it is important to tour the school and meet teachers so you can see what facilities it has and get a feel for the school atmosphere and faculty.

Learning Goals

What students will learn (the educational objectives) at state schools is easy to ascertain, as state schools must adhere to state requirements and directives. Private schools can create their own curriculum, which may be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your personal viewpoint. For example, religious schools may include specific religious teachings as a part of their curriculum. If you do not agree with these teachings, then you are likely to perceive this as a disadvantage.


Since state schools are regulated and funded by the state, they can be subjected to political whims and cuts. With the recent economic recession, many states and localities have cut the budgets for public secondary schools, resulting in larger class sizes and reduced resources. However, this will differ by state and locality, so check with the state schools in your area to see how they have been affected.


State schools often have transportation services to and from the school for their students (school buses). Many private schools rely on parents and students to provide their own transportation to the school. This can be problematic for families unable to provide it.