Grammar school or private school – what’s the difference?
If you never went to either of these types of schools yourself, you might not know the difference between them. We discuss the differences below, so you know which is right for your family, and more importantly, your child.
What is a Grammar School?
A grammar school is a type of state school that only grants places to children deemed to have a higher level of intellectual ability. Many grammar schools have been absorbed into the comprehensive schooling system across the UK, but there are plenty of grammar schools still open today.
There’s probably one near where you live!
They accept students who score the highest on an entrance exam known as the 11+ exam. The grammar school entrance exam is competitive, meaning your child will need to prepare and study using tailored 11+ study materials. It’s preferred to start some level of studying at least the year before the exam.
What is a private school?
A private school is a school that charges its pupils (parents!) to attend.
Private schools will claim to have an optimum level of teaching and curriculum to warrant the high fees parents must pay to get their child a place. Some parents will pay tens of thousands of pounds for their child to study at a private school each year.
Many private schools also act as boarding schools and the child will stay there for many weeks at a time.
The difference between a grammar school and a private school
Thus, the difference is that a grammar school is the only state-owned school that is allowed to accept and reject pupils based on intellectual ability, typically determined by the 11+ exam. On the contrary, a private school is not state-owned and funded; they charge high fees to operate with an advertised high level of teaching.
What’s the difference between a grammar school and a normal school?
Grammar schools and normal schools are both owned and funded by the government. The existing grammar schools are allowed to admit pupils based on ability, unlike normal comprehensive schools, which usually admit pupils based on their proximity to their home.
You can still access a high level of education from a normal comprehensive school.
What’s right for my family?
Due to the high fees of a private school, many UK families cannot afford to send their children to private schools. If you can afford the fees and you would like to send your child to a good school for full terms at a time, then a private school could be the right choice.
But if you cannot afford the fees and still want a high standard of education for your child, a grammar school may be the way to go.
Children with an advanced intellectual ability find grammar schools stimulating and challenging, pushing them to improve more than they normally would at a regular comprehensive school.
Thinking about applying to a grammar school?
If your child is showing great intellectual potential, it might be worth considering applying for a grammar school. Your child will need to take the grammar school entrance exam, i.e., the 11+ exam.