CLARENCE Valley residents have long been divided by the age-old debate about the merits of private and public education institutions.
That debate has finally been brought to a head by researchers from Queensland University who tracked the development of almost 4000 Australian primary school children born since 1999.
The research project, the first of its size completed in Australia, reveals it doesn't matter what type of institution you send your children to, they will still have the same cognitive function.
Queensland University professor Luke Connelly said the major study entitled, 'Does school type affect cognitive and non-cognitive development in children?', provided a real insight into Australia's education system.
"Our results show that sending children to Catholic or other independent schools has no significant effect," Prof Connelly said.
"Any differences we see in test results are not due to the school type."
The results of the study however are expected to have little impact on parents' opinions.
Mother of two Danni McPherson enrolled her children at South Grafton Primary School and said she would not have it any different.
"There are obviously different merits to both public and private schools. Public schools offer a larger diversity in the pupil population but private schools offer further extra-curricular activities that public schools aren't able to so they both have their benefits.
"I have not had any problems with my kids in public schools whatsoever."
While Mrs McPherson is a strong advocate for the public system her brother-in-law and father of three Kye McPherson swears by the private education system with all of his children having attended St Josephs.
"I went to St Josephs as a child so I knew it was a good school," Mr McPherson said.
"A lot of family friends and relations go there as well so it was the right choice for my children.
"All of my children have been highly academic and I do believe that is because of the school. They have better access to extra-curricular activities offering music, singing and even drumming club.
"They are a pillar of the community and have taught my children great values. They set a good example for my kids to follow."
Mr McPherson said he had been taken aback at times by what he hears from public school students as they walk past his home in South Grafton.
"The kind of stuff that you hear from some of the kids going to public school about drugs and other stuff, it's terrible," he said.
"There are times of the year that I turn to my wife and say 'thank God our kids go to private schools'."
- A baby's weight - babies under 2.5kgs perform poorer than heavier babies
- Mothers who work more hours have underperforming children
- Level of education of the parents
- The number of books in the home
- The residential neighbourhood and its characteristics
- The household income