Julie Neill, like any parent, wants the best for her child. Up until 6th year, Julie’s daughter happily attended a local school in Glasgow, but unfortunately the school did not offer the advanced higher subjects she wanted to study. Because of a recommendation, her daughter now attends The High School of Glasgow and is completing her education at an independent school.
We sat down with Julie to get her thoughts on the independent education sector in Scotland.
Prior to sending your daughter to The High School of Glasgow, what was your perception of independent schools in Scotland?
“I had always just assumed that the cost to send a child there would be out with my income limits. It was something I thought automatically for years so it never even crossed my mind to consider it to be honest.”
Now your daughter attends an independent school, has your perception changed?
“Yes, hugely. Firstly, and this sounds silly, but they’re not as expensive as the media so often makes out. The High School of Glasgow has been incredibly accommodating when it comes to setting up a payment structure that suits me – they consulted me as an individual and we came up with a payment plan that works for me, not them!
“I had access to a lot of information as well which was very beneficial. If this flexibility was better promoted, it would make independent education more accessible to many more parents in a similar position as me.“
In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit of an independent education?
“The biggest benefit in addition to the choice of subjects on offer which is what sparked my daughter’s initial interest, is the class sizes. Because there are fewer children in each class, the teacher is able to provide more one-to-one tuition to each student and my daughter has benefitted hugely from this.”
In your day-to-day life, how does the cost of sending your daughter to an independent school impact you?
“There’s no denying that we’ve had to make some adjustments to our lifestyle and make some cutbacks on things like holidays in order to afford it. But it has all been very manageable thanks to the flexibility offered by the school.
“If more parents knew that this help with regards financial planning was available, independent education wouldn’t seem so out of reach for people.”
Is there anything about an independent education or the school your daughter attends that you don’t particularly like?
“Not at all. It gives my daughter the education she wants and needs to succeed in life – I have no issues with that.”
When starting to consider independent education as an option for your daughter, how did you go about researching it?
“My daughter had a tutor for many years who actually taught at an independent school. When we started discussing subject options and choice, our tutor recommended we visit the High School of Glasgow.”
What were the deciding factors that led you to choose an independent education for your daughter?
“I liked the fact my child’s tutor, who had been with her since 3rd year, already taught at the school. I also really liked the feel of the school when we visited. So many people think private school is elitist and out of touch with reality, but that’s just not true. The whole experience was very personalised to us and not just a standard for all parents. The ethos of Christianity runs through the school, which was the other key factor in sending my daughter there.”
Is there anything else that you considered in your choice of school?
“It’s created opportunities for my daughter. She is about to go to Hong Kong as part of a foreign exchange programme, which is something she wouldn’t have been able to do before. The major opportunity for me is that she has the chance to complete a 6th year education to her full potential, through being able to sit advanced higher exams.”
We speak to lots of parents like Julie. So, if you are thinking about a change of school for your child or you are just interested in finding out more about independent education in Scotland, we have lots of information for parents available to help you get started.