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09 October 2020

Pastoral Blog: Will my child fit into a private college?

Pastoral Blog: Will my child fit into a private college?

Will my child fit into a private college?

Private schools and colleges are rarefied places where all of the students wear designer clothes and have their own ponies.  Right?  Actually, no.

Some of you may be considering taking the step into private education for your child.  Perhaps you feel that he or she is becoming lost in a large state school, or that their education is suffering due to a lack of classroom discipline.  You may have a strong feeling that your child would benefit from being in small classes in a college where a strong work ethic is the norm.  Perhaps though, you then start to have doubts.  Maybe you would have to scrimp and save to afford the fees, and you worry that your child would not fit in, as surely all of the other parents are much wealthier than you?

In this post, I would like to put some of those fears to rest.  Perhaps some private schools are as described, and there are certainly schools available with heli-pads and stables (yes, really!).  However, the students at EIC are as diverse as Ealing itself.  At EIC, children of doctors learn together with the children of manual workers.  Many of our parents make real sacrifices to pay the fees, some receive bursary support towards the fees, and we also have students here whose fees are fully covered by the local authority due to the College being able to meet their special needs more effectively than a large state school.  Our College is outstandingly diverse, with students of all classes, races, religions and ability levels striving together towards their goals.

EIC students are not dripping in designer labels.  Our students come dressed for comfort, with jeans and trainers being the most common attire.  There is no requirement to buy expensive uniforms or business suits.  They are here to work and to learn, and students of all backgrounds can feel welcome here.  

I can understand where these fears come from.  I was state educated, and I worked in a state school for the first four years of my teaching career.  I had never even considered working in an independent school.  Strangely enough, it was an Ofsted Inspector who changed the course of my career.  After observing one of my lessons, he asked me if I had ever considered working in a private school.  Shortly after that a post came up in a local independent school and I joined the sector, learning that my ideas had been misconceptions.

If you are considering the private sector, then my advice would be to visit the school or college you are considering.  Have a look around on a normal weekday, and see what is going on in the classrooms.  Chat to some of the students if you can, and get a real feeling for the atmosphere.  Would your child be happy there?  If you are considering EIC, the Principal and I would be very happy to meet with you and show you how inclusive our College is.

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