- Schools, pupils, fee assistance, partnerships, teacher numbers all up
- Fee increases, international students, boarding numbers all stable
The number of independent schools in the UK has returned to its pre-2008 recession level, new figures reveal.
The 2016 Independent Schools Council (ISC) Census shows there are now 1,280 ISC independent schools compared to 1,271 in 2008. The 2016 figure also represents the highest total this century. On top of that, there are now 518,432 pupils, the most since records began in 1974.
Other Census figures show:
- Fee increases remain at 3.5%, the lowest since 1994
- A third of pupils receive fee assistance worth in total more than £850m
- 1,112 schools partner with state schools
- The number of single-sex boys’ and girls’ schools is virtually unchanged
- More than a third of schools have boarders
- The proportion of international students remains at 5.3%
- There are 57,000 full-time (equivalent) teachers, 39% of whom are men
- Pupil-teacher ratio is under 9:1
- 92% of pupils go on to higher education, including 56% to Russell Group universities
- 30% of pupils are from a minority ethnic background
- Roughly 7% of UK children go to independent school at any one time
Completed by all schools in ISC membership for 42 years, the ISC Census provides a picture of where independent schools sit within the UK’s education landscape and is regarded by government, policymakers and opinion formers as the authoritative source of such data.
Julie Robinson, General Secretary of ISC, said: “Having felt the pressures of worldwide recession in 2008, independent schools have adapted where necessary and are thriving just eight years on. It’s both heartening and reassuring to see the numbers of schools at such healthy levels, providing choice and excellence to pupils and their parents.
“Beyond these headline figures, the numbers recorded in this year’s census are very stable and contradict claims by some that private education is in some sort of peril. In many areas the stability of these figures shows just how remarkable our schools really are.”
For the first time the Census also looks at independent exam results and ‘value added’:
- Half of all A-levels graded A*/A (compared to a quarter nationally)
- Two thirds of GCSEs graded A*/A (compared to one fifth nationally)
- Entries (and grades) for STEM and MFL subjects disproportionately high
- Independent schooling can result in average GCSE grades being 0.64 higher each*
- Independent education equivalent to two extra years’ schooling by 16*
*Research by Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University, 2016
Barnaby Lenon, Chairman of ISC, said: “Exam results in ISC schools have always been very high and remain so. The achievements of our pupils absolutely show the benefits of independence from curriculum constraints and outstanding classroom teaching. Independent schools have always believed that their broad all-round education, commitment to academic excellence and first-class university guidance provide tremendous benefits. Fee-paying parents have the right to expect value for money and it is important that we can demonstrate this.”