State versus private?
State versus private? Nev Madsen

Private schools create 'class divide', says top banker

SENDING your children to a private school will not necessarily produce better academic results, but it may help create "ghettos" in Australian education, according to a top Australian executive.

Michael Traill -- a former banker turned philanthropist -- says it was a "myth" that private schools provide a better education or better grades.

He told the Daily Telegraph parents were paying for the more impressive schoolgrounds and for their children to make friends with kids from other wealthy families, but they were not paying for a better education.

Mr Traill said the more that middle-class families sent their children to private schools, the more that state schools were being skewed towards students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

That means that students who are smart, but poor, aren't learning alongside motivated other students whose parents value a good education, he said.

Mr Traill's views are the latest in a long-line of attitudes questioning whether private schooling is worth the cost against sending children to their local state school.

Earlier this year, research from the University of Canberra's Jennifer Chesters showed that students of independent or private schools were more likely to finish Year 12 and more likely to graduate university.

However, once they entered the workplace, those who attended an independent or Catholic school did not earn more than their state-educated peers.

"So there would be seem to be no return on the parents' investment in terms of the earnings of their offspring," Ms Chesters wrote on The Conversation.

Research also shows that state school students do better while at university than their privately-educated peers if they enter with the same HSC or OP.