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Why doesn't ever teacher want to work in a private school?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by TheGentleman, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter


    Serious question here. As someone embarking on a teaching career, I am unashamedly only wanting to work in the private sector. From my own limited experience and what I read on here and more widely about the chaos of the state sector, I can't understand why every teacher doesn't want to work in the private sector......or perhaps they do??

    Welcome any thoughts, shoot downs, back in your box newbie comments etc

    The Gentleman
  2. SyncronizeYourDogmas

    SyncronizeYourDogmas New commenter

    Hello TheGentleman!
    I have taught extensively in independent schools and am now teaching in the state sector. Hopefully I can give some advice:
    I can assure you that the pay does not seem that different, unless you work at one of the very prestigious independent boarding schools, where the pay is good and you get free accomodation.
    The behaviour of the pupils/students is better in my new state school than it was in several of the (cheaper/all boy) independent schools I have worked.
    Academic standards. Again in my current school (state) they are much higher than in a lot of independent schools. My son started at a very nice independent boarding school only to discover that he hated the laddish all boy environment and was not being pushed academically so he moved to my state school where he says (as do I) that the attitude to learning is much better and the academic ambition is higher.
    Workload. For a classroom teacher there is less to do in the state sector because in the independent sector boarding duties, saturday teaching, sports coaching etc will all be expected of you.
    However, if you just teach and go like a lot of my colleagues in the state school do then you do miss out on the depth of bond that comes with spending evenings in the boarding house/on the pitch/up some mountain over the long exeat etc.
    So the choice is yours, I can see why people go into both but I think it would always be harder to go from long term state teaching into independent than the other way around.
    Noja, zuba102 and TheGentleman like this.
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Like a fair number of state school teachers, I had political principles which prevented me even considering the independent sector.
    bonkers 704, Noja, ROSIEGIRL and 14 others like this.
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    What Middlemarch said and I'm not the jolly hockey sticks type anyway.
  5. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Good for those with principles (and I'm not being facetious) otherwise the state system would be in an even worse position. It's not that I am not principled, but just that I am more familiar and comfortable with the private sector.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Having been educated and taught in both systems, I can see the perception of 'things being better in the Independent sector' as the poster above has pointed out it's not always as clear cut as all that.
    Good and not so good in both sectors.
    foxtail3 and ROSIEGIRL like this.
  7. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Make sure you compare Pensions.
  8. WJClarkson

    WJClarkson Occasional commenter

    For me, it's a matter of principle. Private schools are for profit, and I feel that profit has no place in education. However, with all school becoming academies, it makes no difference any more. Private schools do seem to value their staff more though, so there will always be a possibility of me moving to Independent later on.
    ROSIEGIRL likes this.
  9. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I much prefer the independent sector, particularly the girls independent sector. Mine is a day/boarding, with 9 Saturday mornings over the year. My salary is quite reasonable, I live off school grounds (there are a few boarding staff and the HT and DH, who live in but most teaching staff do not). It 's a good mix of academic and arty, my colleagues are lovely and HOD is really supportive. I like it and prefer it.

    My subject is very niche and is probably more usual in grammars or independents but after a year at a state school (grammar), am glad to be back in what is a more comfortable environment for me (and my own background back in the States)
    IceCreamVanMan likes this.
  10. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I have no principled reason for not working in the indie sector. I never bothered to apply because I suspect I would never have had a look in. On paper I do not appear particularly well-qualified so would not have made the short-list, although I was very effective as a teacher and achieved brilliant results.

    I found a niche in inner-city special measures schools and made it my own. I took delight in building teams from nothing, raising the expectations of those kids and enabling them to aspire to Russell group universities.
  11. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    There are several strands here; each will have a different influence on different teachers.
    First - the profit motive. Decreasing numbers of schools are proprietary ones; most are charitable or at least non-profit organisations. And I suspect that most proprietary schools provide a pretty poor return on the investment that the owners have made in them. Of course all education depends on profit-making providers, from publishers to computer manufacturers to heating oil suppliers!
    Second - the issue of purchasing privilege. That strikes me as being a bigger matter for some people's consciences, particularly (only?) in the case of education and health. Few seem to have many moral scruples about people being able to buy other privileges (first class travel? luxury cars? living in a nice house? buying a house in the right catchment area?).
    Third - whether the working environment is better. I suspect that this is more a contrast between schools that are run well and those that aren't. Well-run schools will look after and nurture their staff; they will trust and value them. Badly-run schools won't.
    Fourth - pay. As said above, the top few independents will pay substantially more than the rest. Some independents will pay less. As for pensions, some pay into the TPS, some don't.
    Fifth - teaching and learning environment. Good in good schools, not so in others. Don't believe that just because parents are paying, their children will necessarily be better behaved or work harder. My prejudice is that children whose parents are really struggling to find the fees tend to be more aware of the costs and therefore try harder to repay their parents' input by working harder. But the total immersion in a boarding school - whether independent or maintained - is a very different experience to a day school; it certainly wouldn't appeal to everybody.
    DYNAMO67 and ValentinoRossi like this.
  12. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    I spoke with a relatively new teacher after a recent class observation (private school). He moved to private after his induction year in a tough state school. As much as he is enjoying being in the private school, he is considering moving back to state as he feels that his teaching skill set will suffer if he is unchallenged in the private. Being young it is really important to him to be challenged and pushed in his career. Being older and a career changer, that is less important to me. I don't feel the need to prove my mettle to others and myself.
  13. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I was approached to do some INSET at an independent boys senior school a while ago. The Head of T and L was charming and desperately wanting to move away from the 'chalk and talk' legacy. I think some of the long standing members of staff were struggling to deliver to current co horts who were not super bright but just well funded and well supported at home.Some newly trained staff members had been appointed and were impacting on his vision for T and L. I was quite suprised at the lack of technology (for example) in many of the very dated classrooms. I asked how boys in wheelchairs would access the building ? This was not a possibility was the response. The school had fantastic sports facilities but no uniformity / discipline when it came to kit. The school was wonderfully traditional ( and it reminded me of my own when I was growing up ) and I can understand why parents found this attractive and why they were happy to pay the fees.
  14. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Not that long ago I had a choice between applying for a 0.6 post in a state school (didn't want to work f/t) or a 0.4 post in an indie.

    State school - 1,000 kids, 11-16; I would be one of a department/faculty, just classroom teaching.
    Indie - approx 400 kids, of which 280 11-18; I would be HoD responsible for the whole-school teaching of my subject. For 2 days a week.

    I went for the State school - despite the amount of marking and extraneous paperwork and box ticking, I reckoned I would be closer to my 3 days a week there than I would be the 2 days in the Indie.
    sabrinakat, Lara mfl 05 and wanet like this.
  15. install

    install Star commenter

    I just felt that I wouldn't fit in and to be frank have a rather dim view of some who have been to private schools.
  16. IceCreamVanMan

    IceCreamVanMan Occasional commenter

  17. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    A school friend sent her children to Malborough College. On one occasion a tutor asked if she ( my friend ) asked if she could have a word with her daughter over some issue. To which my friend replied ' she is boarder, you see more of her than we do, you speak to her '
  18. bobdrivesahgv

    bobdrivesahgv New commenter

    I prefer to work with the most disadvantaged, wherever they are in education.

    Moving a student from a grade U to a grade C in year 11 after four years of poor attendance and challenging behaviour is all the reward I need (besides paying my bills and getting enough sleep to remain healthy).

    To the OP - do go where you feel you should - where you'll be happiest and healthiest, and get a chance to make a difference.

    Best of luck. :)
  19. MsJ001

    MsJ001 New commenter

    I have taught in both sectors and it infuriates me this notion that teaching in an Independent School is easier and you get more of a work/life balance.

    As someone else stated, it is not really whether it is state or independent that matters...it is whether it is well run or not. There are good and bad examples in both sectors, my experience is that the pay in the indie sector was less ( quite a bit less), longer days and much, much more expected of you. The small classes and therefore less marking is replaced with 1000 other jobs that fill your time the same as if you were just a classroom teacher in a state school.

    The Indie sector is not the 'cushy' number that is sometimes banded around and I know a lot of people who work in the Indie sector that are desperately unhappy, not valued and squeezed for every ounce of themselves that they can physically and mentally give. I hasten to add that these teachers are experienced, having worked in both sectors, and many are leaving.

    It depends on the school, the finances and the Management. We are all educators,spinning plates, it's just we have different things on those plates to spin, at different times.
  20. WJClarkson

    WJClarkson Occasional commenter

    I think you've just hit the nail on the head.
    Lara mfl 05, ValentinoRossi and wanet like this.

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