Is a private primary school right for you?

Here at Duncombe School, we are committed to encouraging individual development. We offer structured learning in a happy and nurturing environment, where every child feels valued, secure and part of a community.

We also understand that trying to decide between private and state schools can be a very difficult decision, with benefits and drawbacks to both. There are a number of considerations that you should factor in before you make a final decision on which school is the right fit for your child. So here we have outlined a few reasons to help you consider whether a private primary school is right for you.


Investing in their future

Academic outcomes are at the top of many parents’ considerations when deciding between a state and independent school. Recent studies have concluded that children who attend private schools are statistically much more likely take up roles in certain professions, such as law, politics, medicine and journalism.

If your child is a high achieving student, you might find that a private school offers a balance of challenges and support in the classroom, designed to promote learning. At Duncombe we are proud to be inclusive of all abilities, and work to ensure that all children can thrive. This is why we are non-selective and do not have entrance exams for places as part of our admissions process. More details on our admissions process can be found on our website.


Class sizes

One of the points most regularly highlighted by parents of children who attend private schools is smaller class sizes, but what are the benefits? With fewer pupils, teachers can implement a personalised teaching style, allowing them to tailor their lessons to the abilities of each individual child.

At Duncombe, our classes are capped at 20 children, each with a full-time teaching assistant, meaning that our staff to pupil ratios are high. This greater degree of personalised interaction ensures that more able children are stretched and stimulated, whilst less able children are engaged and challenged. Additionally, in smaller classes, there is more time for teachers to individualise their feedback, ensuring that each pupil has what they need to progress and reach their potential. We also have a specialist team who work on a one-to-one basis with those children who require a little extra help in our dedicated SEN facility.

These are just a few of the reasons why we are proud to remain non-selective, and still maintain our standing as a school with one of the best academic outcomes in Hertford and surrounding areas.



Another important consideration is the provision of materials and equipment that schools have to offer. Depending on your child’s goals and aspirations, it is important that the facilities at the school can provide them with the tools and experience necessary to reach these goals.

Often, private schools have newer and more advanced resources than their state school counterparts. When you visit a school, check or find out about important resources like computers, sports facilities and laboratory equipment. How frequently do children have access to them?

At Duncombe, we have a vast selection of equipment for children and teachers to use in lessons to enhance their learning experience. All classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards which are used daily during lessons, and all classes have access to laptops, iPads and green screens, complete with video cameras, and two 3D printers all of which help make learning more fun and immersive.

Sport and physical education are an important part of our curriculum, and there is a well-recognised positive contribution that it can have on children’s concentration, attitude and academic achievement. We have invested heavily in our excellent onsite sports facilities, such as a floodlit Astroturf pitch with tensile all-weather roof, 75m athletics track and netball courts, which allow our children to make the most of the positive benefits that come from sport.

We place lots of emphasis on science as one of the subjects considered to have a heavy influence on the jobs market of future generations, and our dedicated science lab allows children to make their own discoveries in scientific conditions.

We also have a dedicated forest school facility which allows teachers to take learning out of the classroom, and a school library, which all children from our youngest pupils in Kindergarten all the way up to Year 6 have regular access to, as well as an art loft and bespoke music and dance studio.


While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extra-curricular activities to provide an education and opportunities that extend far beyond the curriculum.

At Duncombe, we believe that the opportunities to try new and exciting activities in a familiar environment, can have a stimulating and positive effect on their personal well-being, confidence and academic potential. We offer a wide variety of clubs and activities such as horse riding, chess, rock climbing, pottery, dance, cookery, wildlife and a variety of sports so there is an enormous variety for our children to choose from, depending on their particular interests.

As many of these activities take place after the school day ends, not only is this a benefit for the children, but it also means that for busy working parents, their children are stimulated and active often until 6.30pm, something that often isn’t available in the state sector.


If you’re still unsure whether Duncombe School is right for your child, why not arrange a visit? We would be delighted to welcome you and help answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can give us a call by visiting our contact us page.

01992 414100