Parents turning to private schools for posh programs
Published Monday, June 10, 2013 3:57PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, June 10, 2013 8:05PM PDT
Private school enrollment in B.C. just experienced its biggest single-year jump in 15 years, a movement some are crediting to the remarkable programs available for those willing to shell out big bucks.
At Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan, young students are encouraged to participate in its equestrian program during gym class.
Head Coach Cheryl Keith says it’s a great way for girls to spend their PE time.
“It’s the only school in Canada where you can ride during the course of your school day,” she told CTV News.
Mandarin language courses are mandatory at Mulgrave School in West Vancouver, where tuition for a high school student is approximately $19,000 per year.
Head of school John Wray says the Mandarin courses help its students prepare to work in an international setting.
“I think the chances of our children being successful and more engaged in our international community learning Chinese is really important,” he said.
Starting in Grade 2, each student has their own iPad. Wray says the biggest impact has been on math and writing and reading skills.
At York House in Vancouver, officials have upped the game when it comes to teaching science. The school hired a university-level science teacher with a PhD in microbiology to teach science to its young students.
“She wanted to teach young children because that’s where she can get them really excited about science,” Assistant head of school Kathy Kealey said of the hire.
The device may work: More than 50 per cent of grads at the all-girls private school go into sciences.
Of course, the education at these private schools isn’t cheap. The prep schools only receive 35 per cent of the annual per student government funding that public schools do and they get no money for building upgrades.
That leaves parents paying the difference, and more.
Education for a student starting at York House in all-day preschool and staying through Grade 12 would cost $251,300, provided tuition doesn’t go up. Mulgrave is even more.
But the massive investment is one many parents are willing to pay, with private school enrollment up four per cent this year.
“Parents choose independent schools because they feel their children will get a better education,” said Peter Froese, executive director of the Federation of Independent School Associations.
Froese says parents said last year’s public school teacher job action had a “significant effect” on parents, turning them off of the public system.
“If you track years where there's been job action you will always see a spike in independent school enrollment,” he said.
On CTV News at Six on Tuesday, reporter Shannon Paterson will show you some of the programs in the public school system designed to keep students from going private. And on Wednesday we ask B.C.’s top universities how they view private and public school applicants and the type of student they’re actively recruiting.