Private school make their case to the public

The conference of Independent Schools, representing 30 private schools in Ontario, has launched a newspaper ad campaign designed to boost student enrolment.There are about 300 private schools operating across the province.cis, which was formed in 1987, consists of single-sex and co-educational...

The conference of Independent Schools, representing 30 private schools in Ontario, has launched a newspaper ad campaign designed to boost student enrolment.

There are about 300 private schools operating across the province.

cis, which was formed in 1987, consists of single-sex and co-educational schools varying in size from 100 students to 1,200 students.

cis members include Upper Canada College and Havergal College, both of Toronto, Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont., and Saint Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ont.

George Booth, chairman of the conference’s marketing steering committee, says one of the goals of the campaign is to combat the perception that ‘independent schools are only for children of the elite.’

Booth says cis wants middle class parents to view private schools as an ‘alternative to the public school system.’

‘You would be surprised how many parents of children in private schools are working couples,’ he says.

Without saying so directly, the ads, created by Toronto agency Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners, also suggest cis schools offer children a better education than they would receive in the public school system.

One of the ads reads in part:

‘Nearly three in ten Canadians between the ages of 16 and 24 lack the literary skills necessary to excel in today’s world.

‘With a better education, though, your child’s ability to compete can only get better. That’s because the curriculum at private independent schools is based on the fundamentals.’

More than 13,000 students from Canada and abroad attend cis-member schools.

The campaign, which is running in a selection of Ontario newspapers including The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star, began Feb. 25.

The budget is $117,000.

Booth says the campaign will run for three weeks, after which cis will assess the results before continuing for another several-week period.

cis is running the campaign now because most parents register their children for private school in late winter and early spring.