Primary schools girls holding a snake in science lesson

What are the advantages of a primary school education at a private school?

01 Feb 2022
Primary schools girls holding a snake in science lesson

Deciding where your child will go to primary school, whether it is an independent (private) or a state school, is a huge decision for every parent. There are many things to consider: What sort of school do I want? What type of ethos? What size is best? What does the latest school inspection report say?

We asked some members of the Junior School community at St George’s for their thoughts on the main benefits for a child joining an independent school at primary school age. You can find out what they said below:

Click on the image below for an interactive version of the article or download here: the benefits of an independent primary school

Smaller class sizes

  • Having smaller classes allows teaching staff to focus on the individual: we can identify different learning needs and styles, allowing each girl to feel valued and enabling each child to work towards her full potential.

Close-knit community

  • Independent junior schools are often small schools. Teaching and support staff know the children well across all year groups and girls know each other through whole school events such as our inter-House events, school productions and our extensive sport and activities (co-curriculum) programme.

More individual attention

  • Our staff know each girl on a personal level, allowing them to monitor their social, emotional and academic progress closely. Teachers can tailor the curriculum to support the needs of girls.

A faster pace of learning

  • At St George’s our girls-only policy and smaller class sizes often result in girls learning more quickly as there are less distractions.

Best of British curriculum

  • Independent schools tend to have more flexibility in the curriculum they follow and the structure of the timetable.
  • At St George’s we base our curriculum around the outcomes and experiences of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, but also tailor it to the needs of our children. We cherry-pick from a range of curricula and resources and place equal emphasis across all academic and co-curriculum subject areas.

An emphasis on co-curricular

  • Pupils can follow a more holistic approach to education.
  • As well as encouraging pupils to strive for excellence by developing their academic personal potential, independent schools develop their musical, sporting, artistic, social and personal potential.
  • Pupils are encouraged to try new activities and sports allowing them to develop new talents and skills, which helps to develop their love of all-round learning.
  • At St George’s we have a wide range of co-curricular opportunities ranging from Orchestra, IT, Chess and Fencing, to Hockey, Art, Eco, Chinese, and many more.
  • Participating in activities and clubs helps students develop valuable hobbies gaining a more balanced life. They also learn to socialise with girls from other years.
  • Participating in co-curricular activities also encourages girls to challenge themselves and build resilience.
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Girls only

  • At St George’s our girls-only ethos ensures each girl is encouraged to be herself in an environment expressly designed for girls and without any gender stereotyping.
  • Leadership opportunities are often offered at the top end of a primary school and at a girls’ school all our leadership roles go to girls.

Outdoor learning

  • Learning outside the classroom supports the development of sustainable healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.
  • At St George’s our outdoor environment, including our outdoor classroom, ‘The Fantastical Forest’, allows girls to explore learning opportunities outside.

Close partnerships with parents

  • Staff are often more accessible in smaller schools. Parents find it easier to build parent/teacher relationships when they regularly see a familiar face who knows their child well.

Wrap-around care for parents

  • Most independent schools cater for working parents by offering care before and after school, and during the school holidays.
  • At St George’s, we offer very efficient and flexible wrap-around care for 50 weeks of the year. During term-time, this runs from 7.45am until 6.00pm; this includes a pre-school Breakfast Club and an After-school facility. We offer Holiday club services from 8.00am until 5.00pm during the holidays.

Continuity of learning moving into senior school

  • The transition between schools can be unsettling and present the chance for a potential performance dip or stumbling-block in a student’s education.
  • The all-through school nature of St George’s ensures a smooth transition for our girls between different school stages. In addition, a detailed handover of key information about each girl is fully passed on when they progress from nursery to primary and from primary to secondary education.

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