Is It Wrong to Send Only One Child to Private School?

Choosing the right educational path for your children is one of the most significant decisions parents face. The question of whether it is right or wrong to send only one child to private school while the other attends a state school can be particularly challenging. This blog article will delve into the various perspectives, potential impacts, and considerations involved in such a decision.

Personal Experiences and Perspectives

Unequal Opportunities and Sibling Rivalry

Many parents share personal anecdotes that highlight the potential pitfalls of sending only one child to a private school. For instance, some have observed that when one child is given the opportunity to attend a private school while their sibling attends a local comprehensive school, it can lead to feelings of favouritism and resentment. This perceived preferential treatment can damage the sibling relationship and impact the self-esteem of the child who attends the state school. The child might feel less valued or academically inferior, which can have long-term emotional consequences.

Financial Considerations and Family Harmony

The financial burden of private education is another critical factor. Parents often stress the importance of ensuring they can afford private education for all their children before committing to it for one. They suggest that if the cost of private education would stretch the family’s finances too thin, it might be better to avoid it altogether. Instead, some parents recommend using the funds to provide extra-curricular activities and tutoring for all children. This approach ensures that all children receive additional support and opportunities, promoting a sense of fairness and equity within the family.

Potential Psychological and Emotional Impact

The decision to send only one child to private school can have significant psychological and emotional impacts on both the children and the family dynamic. Parents worry that such a decision might create a sense of inequality, where one child feels privileged and the other feels neglected. This disparity can lead to long-term emotional issues, including low self-esteem and sibling rivalry.

Moreover, the child attending the state school might feel that their potential is being underestimated, while the child in private school might feel undue pressure to excel. Ensuring that both children have equal opportunities to succeed is crucial for maintaining family harmony and fostering positive relationships.

The Importance of Individual Needs

While financial and emotional considerations are important, it is also essential to consider the individual needs of each child. Some parents believe that every child is unique and has different educational requirements. Therefore, the decision to send a child to a private school should be based on their specific needs rather than a blanket approach for all siblings.

For example, if one child thrives in a more structured and academically rigorous environment, private school might be the best option for them. Conversely, if the other child performs better in a more diverse and less pressured environment, a state school could be more suitable. The key is to assess each child’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences to make an informed decision that benefits them individually.

Practical Tips for Parents

When facing the decision of whether to send only one child to private school, parents can consider several practical tips to navigate this complex issue:

  1. Be Transparent and Honest: Openly discuss the family’s financial situation and the reasons behind the decision with both children. Clear communication helps manage expectations and reduces misunderstandings.
  2. Emphasise Individuality: Highlight each child’s unique qualities and needs, explaining that different educational environments might suit them differently.
  3. Acknowledge and Validate Feelings: Recognise and validate any feelings of disappointment or frustration. Offering emotional support can help children cope with the decision.
  4. Focus on Positives: Emphasise the benefits of both private and state education, reassuring children that both paths can lead to success.
  5. Provide Equal Opportunities: Ensure that both children have access to extra-curricular activities, tutoring, and other enrichment opportunities, regardless of the school they attend.
  6. Maintain Open Communication: Keep the lines of communication open and encourage children to express their feelings and concerns. Regular check-ins can help monitor their adjustment and well-being.

Alternatives to Traditional Private Education

When considering alternatives to traditional private education, it’s important to explore options that can provide similar benefits without the associated costs. One such alternative is Cambridge School Online, which has been committed to delivering quality education since its inception in 2002. Catering to students in the UK, Europe (including Western Russia), Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, Cambridge School Online offers a robust and well-rounded curriculum designed to help students excel.

Cambridge School Online: A Viable Alternative

Cambridge School Online leverages state-of-the-art technology to create an effective and engaging learning environment. Here are some key features that make it an excellent alternative to traditional private schooling:

  1. Qualified Teachers: Our MA/MSc/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers are dedicated to providing high-quality education. They use a well-rounded curriculum that ensures students receive comprehensive and in-depth knowledge in various subjects.
  2. Small Class Sizes: By maintaining small classroom sizes, Cambridge School Online ensures that each student receives the attention they need. This personalised approach helps in addressing individual learning needs and improving educational outcomes.
  3. Safe and Focused Learning Environment: The online platform creates a safe, bullying-free environment where students can focus on their studies without distractions. This setting is particularly beneficial for children who may face social challenges in traditional school environments.
  4. One-on-One Attention: Cambridge School Online provides one-on-one attention to each student, which is crucial for personalised learning. This approach allows teachers to cater to the specific strengths and weaknesses of each student, fostering better academic performance.
  5. Extensive Educational Resources: Students have access to a vast online library of educational resources, including video lessons. These resources help students catch up after school, revise effectively, and continuously engage in the learning process.
  6. Proven Track Record: The school’s reviews reflect its successful track record. With the support of dedicated parents, Cambridge School Online has helped students become confident, successful, and creative learners. This success is a testament to the quality of education provided.


Deciding whether to send only one child to private school is a multifaceted and challenging decision for parents. Balancing financial constraints, individual needs, and the potential emotional impact on the family requires careful consideration. Ultimately, the goal should be to provide each child with the best possible opportunities for their growth and development, ensuring they feel valued and supported throughout their educational journey. By maintaining transparency, fostering open communication, and focusing on each child’s unique needs, parents can navigate this decision with compassion and understanding.


Is it fair to send one child to private school while the other attends a state school?

Deciding to send one child to a private school while the other attends a state school can lead to feelings of favouritism and resentment among siblings. The child attending the state school might feel less valued, which could impact their self-esteem and emotional well-being.

What are the financial implications of sending only one child to a private school?

The financial burden of private education is significant. Parents should ensure they can afford private education for all their children before committing to it for one. If the cost would strain the family’s finances, it might be better to use those funds for extra-curricular activities and tutoring for all children, ensuring fairness and support for everyone.

How can sending only one child to private school affect family dynamics?

Sending only one child to private school can create a sense of inequality within the family. This disparity might lead to long-term emotional issues, such as low self-esteem and sibling rivalry. Maintaining equal opportunities for all children is crucial for family harmony and positive relationships.

Should the decision to send a child to private school be based on individual needs?

Yes, it’s essential to consider each child’s unique needs when deciding on their educational path. Some children might thrive in a structured, academically rigorous environment like a private school, while others may excel in a more diverse, less pressured state school. Assessing each child’s strengths and preferences helps make an informed decision that benefits them individually.

What practical steps can parents take when deciding on their children’s education?

Parents should be transparent and honest about their financial situation and reasons for their decisions. Emphasising each child’s individuality, recognising their feelings, focusing on the positives of both educational paths, providing equal opportunities, and maintaining open communication are crucial steps to navigate this complex decision.

Recommended Posts