Private schools, in the United States, Australia, Scotland, and other English-speaking countries, are schools not administered by local or national government, which retain the right to select their student body and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition rather than with public funds. In Australia the use of the term is generally restricted to primary and secondary educational levels, and not applied to college or tertiary-levels
Types of private school
Private education covers the whole gamut of educational activity. Private schools range from pre-school to tertiary level institutions. At the top of the heap are private colleges and universities such as Yale, Princeton and Harvard which are world renowned.
The next category is the preparatory school or "prep school". These are secondary schools (high schools) which are designed to prepare a student for higher education. Many of these schools are highly selective, accepting only a very small percentage of applicants. Tuition at private secondary schools varies from school to school. High tuition, schools claim, is used to pay higher salaries for the best teachers, and also used to provide enriched learning environments and services such as libraries, science laboratories, and computers. Graduates of preparatory schools are often actively sought by colleges due to the colleges' confidence that the students will be well educated.
Many private schools are boarding schools. Some military schools are privately owned or operated as well.
Trade or vocational schools are also usually private schools where students can learn skills in a trade which they intend to make their future occupation. Trade schools exist in a variety of occupations from beauticians' schools to prestigious schools for the performing arts.
Religiously affiliated schools (also called parochial schools) form a distinct category of private school. Such schools teach religious lessons, often alongside a secular education, to instill religious knowledge and a strong religious identity in the students who attend.
Many alternative schools are also privately financed (though some prefer to be called independent schools rather than private schools to avoid possible connotations of prep-school elitism). Private schools can often avoid some state regulations which might make alternative methods of schooling more difficult, and they are often easier for a small group of committed parents or teachers to create and maintain than state-funded schools.
Finally, special assistance schools aim to improve the lives of their students by providing services tailored to very specific needs of individual students. Such schools include tutoring schools and schools to assist the learning of handicapped children.
In the United Kingdom, such schools are often called independent schools, and in England certain kinds of private schools are confusingly called public schools - see public school (UK).