There is no question that independent education is expensive. As parents, we feel all too keenly the fact that our incomes are squeezed and the cost of everyday living is rising: whether we are buying a house or supper for Friday evening, we see in reality that our salaries don’t go as far as they once did. So, the prospect of educating our children privately is, for many of us, a genuine financial stretch and significant sacrifice.
I know as a Head and as a parent of two children, however, that it is the quality of a child’s formative years in education that pay the greatest dividends in the outcomes of adulthood. A child’s personality and character begin to form from their earliest days of life. Research has shown that by the time a child is seven years of age, they have already solidified a sense of themselves and where they fit within the world. Their approach to life, to others and indeed to themselves is setting fast. They already have a sense of how well they do things as compared to others and this sense formulates their aspirations for their futures.
How critical it is then, that a child’s primary years of education are rich and diverse in opportunity, full of the highest quality teaching, learning and pastoral care, and that they believe deeply, well before they get to senior school, that there is much they can achieve in a variety of areas if they set their mind and motivation to it.
It was my own children’s prep education that developed and nurtured them, celebrated and supported them wholly, and provided them with a breadth of experience, grounding and a firm foundation upon which to build their futures. They developed an ‘I can’ attitude, an ability and thirst to grapple with challenge, along with grit, determination and resilience.
I feel immensely privileged that I was able to provide my children with an independent education at a prep school. It was a financial stretch and sacrifice. However, watching them achieve their best in examinations, take the stage in their school production, become members of the model United Nations and debate world issues, were proud moments for me. I recently waved my eldest son ‘Adieu!’ at university. He bounced off around the corner, fully fledged, whilst I quietly sobbed, but I know he is ready to face the world. It was his earliest years at prep school that set him on his positive path for the future – and for me, it was worth every penny.
Head Yarrells School