Unfiltered is a series we showcase in our print mags each month where Brisbane readers share their stories about the good, the complicated and everything in between. This month, we discuss: public vs. private school.

THE GRASS MIGHT BE GREENER

I went to a private school for all 12 years of my schooling. There is no doubt it was a fantastic experience and I’ll be forever thankful to my parents for sacrificing huge amounts of money to get me there and making sure I was graced with opportunities at every turn. I definitely think private school has advantages, whether or not the money spent to get your child into one is worth the advantages or not, is definitely subjective. My parents always stressed that YES, going to a private school is supposed to grace you with opportunities and a fantastic education (that you might not otherwise get in the public system), and I believe that to a degree, but it is most importantly about the connections you make during your time at school because after all it’s about WHO you know, not WHAT you know.

Ultimately, sometimes I wish I had gone to a public school. I guess I traded the lack of public-school experiences by submersing myself into skateboarding where people from all walks of life participate. Sure, the quality of the education might be better, but it still doesn’t make you better than someone who came from public school. 

THE SET IN STONE

As a private schooler myself, the whole public-school concept seems really daunting and foreign to me. Call me naïve but the idea of co-ed will never sit well with me! I’m really thankful that we are lucky in Australia to have a fair Government that gives everyone an equal opportunity to education and I’m also very respectful that some people may not have a choice between private and public.  My concern is the stigma around ‘dole bludgers’ and people who wrought the system by sending their children to public schools. If I did have a choice, I certainly wouldn’t be exposing my children to an environment like that. As controversial as it may be, I truly believe that sending your child to a private school is giving them a step forward in the door of life.

THE PROGRESSIVE

I went to an elite inner-city Brisbane private girls school from year 1 right ‘til year 12. I had an ok experience, but I didn’t necessarily fit in. The education and opportunities were good, but I felt that they only catered for one type of learner and the curriculum needed serious updating. Based on this experience, my preference would be to send my children to a Montessori or a Steiner School in primary and then a State High School for secondary school as I think this would nurture their intellect more and they would therefore be more socially balanced.

THE UNDERSTANDING

I went to both a public co-ed high school (grade 8 & 9) and then a private girl’s school (grade 10-12).
I was a bit wayward in my earlier years and would’ve probably finished school after grade 10 (like my older sister did) had we not moved across town and my parents decided on a private school for both me and my younger sister and brother.  As it turned out, my grades improved at the private school and I had a very fulfilling time in my last years of high school, quite happy to continue on to senior. 

When my son got to high school age, I wanted him to have a similar experience at a private school so enrolled him in an all boy’s school – which he absolutely detested and was suspended several times over the two years he was there. Finally, I enrolled him in the same public co-ed high school where his grades improved and he became a much happier teenager – which in turn, made me a happier parent!

The bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter the type of school you go to, it’s all about the child and the environment they’re exposed to.  The most important thing is that the student and parents are both happy with whatever choice is made – if the student is happy, they thrive and grow no matter what school they go to.

Got a topic you’d like us to talk about? Email Courtney at courtney@stylemagazines.com.au

Or, have a read of our previous Unfiltered stories:
Unfiltered: Relationships
Unfiltered: Anxiety and mental health
Unfiltered: Contraception