School systems (was dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #929

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Fri Dec 17 22:17:08 EST 2004

--- Robyn Starkey <rohina at> wrote:

> Jon was talking about Australian schools
> >Somewhere between a third and a quarter of all
> >students go to private schools instead of the
> >government system. Reasons vary but I suspect that
> >snob value is actually the most important (and
> buying
> >their children into an elite peer group - which
> with
> >some 30% of the population going there is now
> >nonsense), other reasons include percieved higher
> >academic standards (many parents only send their
> kids
> >to private schools if they fail to get into a
> >selective government one - which have the highest
> >academic results of all) and discipline problems in
> >government schools (somewhat justified - we can't
> >expel students who don't fit in).
> As someone who was educated in the private system in
> Australia, I have to 
> say that this is rather a cynical perspective. I
> think most parents who 
> send their kids to private schools are doing so for
> reasons like smaller 
> class sizes, better equipment and resources (library
> books, computers, 
> etc), more music, art and phys ed programs, and
> better retention and 
> success rates.

As this is incredibly OT I don't want to go into great
depth here. While I agree that these are motives in
some cases, there are very few private schools where
the facilities are greatly better than in government
schools. The majority of private school students go to
local Catholic schools, or community Christian
schools, where facilites are usually no better and
often worse than government schools. Being somewhat
familiar with standards in art in New South Wales
schools, I would have to say that here at least
Government schools do much better than private ones.
There are many reasons why people send children to
private schools but most are based on perception
rather reality unless one has very large ammounts on
money to spend sending a child to an elite private
school (and here a couple of them have been dragged
through the courts in the last few weeks). Of course
as a teacher in a government school is just possible
that I may be a teensy bit biased - naah, probably


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