Private vs Public School: Which Is Better For You?

Back to School
School Life
public versus private school

Private vs Public School: Which Is Better For You?

All parents want what is best for their children, and that means preparing them for the world they will live in as adults. One of the most important ways to do this is by ensuring your children are educated to a level that will allow them to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be. There are lots of considerations to make when figuring out the kind of educational upbringing you want your child to have, and one of those considerations is whether to choose a private or public school. If you have the means to choose, but you’re not sure whether private or public will be right for your child, allow us to explain some of the benefits and disadvantages of both options.

Cost Considerations

There’s no getting around it, private schooling is more expensive than public schooling. Whether you choose full private or faith-based private schooling, parents are going to be considerably more out of pocket than if they went with a government school. In fact, the Australian Scholarships Group has estimated that putting a child through private school for their entire education costs around $475,342 compared to $66,320 for educating in the public system. For some parents, this is totally worth it, but for others there’s so much more that can be done with that money, including hiring tutors or providing a future house deposit, that may better your child’s life in some other way.

Where Advantage Lies

Many parents believe that private schools offer an academic advantage over public schools, but studies suggest that this isn’t always the case. Indeed, there has never been a trend of consistent data showing that private school students succeed more than their public school counterparts, with family background making more of a difference. However, private schools are known for pushing their students to academic success, and there’s little doubt that in many cases private school students also have access to better technology, facilities, and specialist opportunities.

The Spice Of Life

They say variety is the spice of life, but in the world of private schooling, variety isn’t that easy to come by. Around 35% of Australia’s students are enrolled in private schooling, and the numbers seem to note that, among those who can afford private schooling, more people are opting for it. What’s important to note here is that those who can afford private school tend to be from certain kinds of families, and as such, there is not as much variety in the cultural and socio-economic backgrounds of the private school social network as there is in public school. With Australia becoming more and more a vibrantly multicultural country, some parents may appreciate the fact that a public school education will provide their children with many opportunities to grow varied friendships, and learn the important art of cross-cultural communication.

Religion Matters

If you are one of the families in Australia who follow a religious path, you may find that private faith-based schooling suits your needs better. Australian public schools do not teach specific religious doctrines, and your child is unlikely to get a religious education at one of these establishments. At some private schools, religion is a central pillar, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your own personal and religious preferences. Whether you choose private or public, it’s worthwhile looking into the guiding principles of your school, and making sure those principles are aligned with your own.

Location Is Key

Public schools draw their students from catchment areas around the school, which means that if you go public the schools you have to choose from will be dependent on where you live. Using tools like My School, parents can see that there is a really broad difference between in public schools in terms of academic results. If your location means you aren’t close to a public school whose performance you are satisfied with, then it might make more sense to go private. This benefit is compounded by parents concerned about specialty learning areas or wanting smaller class sizes for their children.

At the end of the day, nobody can tell you what is the right choice for your children when it comes to schooling. If your family is one of the ones with the financial means to choose what kind of schooling your child might undertake, do yourself a favour and spend some time with the decision. Consider the many pros and cons of both public and private schooling, alongside your own aspirations and your child’s interests and learning style. That way you can ensure your decision is one that will serve your child’s future best in the long run.


Katie -


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.