Lies & Myths #3 “Independent schools have no wider impact on society”

Since less than 8 percent of children attend independent schools, for most families the only ‘information’ they receive about private education is what’s presented as news in the media.

Oftentimes, these stories are one-sided and reflect commonly held biases between state and private education and continue to perpetuate various attitudes and beliefs about what it means to attend a public school.

Series of articles by ISC

It is for this reason that a timely series of articles from the ISC may help to shed some light on the reality of the situation and present a more balanced argument in respect of the independent schools sector.

Here are the previous myth-busting articles:

A wider impact upon society

Daniela Szmigielska Shanly, proprietor of Beech Lodge School in Berkshire, writes about her school for young people who are unable to achieve their potential in a conventional school setting.

Independent schools include highly academic, selective schools (although fewer than half are academically selective), those that excel in arts, music or sports provision, and schools providing a wide variety of extra-curricular activities with round-the-clock pastoral care.

But this is not the whole picture – in fact they have a much wider impact upon society than many people believe..

It may interest you to know that some independent schools are special schools, supporting children with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

Beech Lodge School

My school, Beech Lodge School, in Berkshire, is one such example.

These schools are a lifeline for children with complex learning needs, who may not have access to specialist support in the state sector. In this way, the independent sector increases the capacity and variety of education available nationally.

Independent special schools educate children and young people from all backgrounds and circumstances and account for 65% of all special schools in England.

They tend to specialise in one or two areas of learning disability such as autism, mental health or dyslexia, and at Beech Lodge our area of expertise is working with children with emotional and social difficulties.

Some of our pupils come from very disadvantaged backgrounds and the majority have been in the care system.

They are certainly not privileged young people or families at all; we have a very diverse mix of pupils at the school. Disability does not discriminate according to wealth or background and neither do independent special schools.

Funding from LEAs

Over 90% of our pupils are placed and funded by their local education authorities (LEAs) via their education, health and care plans (EHCPs) which allow children of all backgrounds to access specialist educational provision that may not be available elsewhere. We work with 12 LEAs in our region.

Very often independent special schools have been set up by individuals at their own cost and effort as a response to a lack of provision in the local area, frequently inspired by their own family circumstances.

Have you been involved with SEN provision?

  • Have any of your children received SEN assistance via the state or independent schooling sector?
  • Have you transitioned between either sector?
  • Did you consider removing your child to home educate them?

Comment below and let’s see how other families have dealt with issues such as those discussed in this post.

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