Independent schools add £13.7bn to UK economy – ISC report

The finding is one of many from the latest annual Independent Schools Council census

Independent schools added £13.7bn to the UK economy last year, according to estimates in the latest Independent Schools Council (ISC) census.

The 2019 annual report offers insights into trends within the sector. It relies on data collected from ISC schools, which make up around a half of the independent sector and educate around 80% of independent school children.

The economic significance of the sector is based on research by Oxford Economics (OE) commissioned by the ISC.

Based on the data collected, OE estimates the sector added £13.7bn to the economy last year. This Gross Value-Added (GVA) data means the sector is worth more than BAE, the UK’s largest defence company.

It is estimated the sector directly and indirectly employs more than 300,000 people, which is more than the economy in Liverpool. The figures further underline the economic significance of independent schools which are estimated to directly contribute more than £4bn in annual tax.

The report also analyses student numbers, international students and fundraising.

The report also revealed:

  • The number of pupils receiving fee assistance from independent schools is at its highest since measurements began in 2000. More than 28% of students are now in receipt of bursarial support.
  • More students in single-sex girls’ schools receive a bursary than students in single-sex boys’ schools. 25% of girls’ school students receive bursarial support compared to 19% of boys’ school students.
  • According to Department for Education (DfE) data, privately educated students are overrepresented at A-level in classical studies and modern languages.
  • Fee increases in 2018/19 were highest in the East Midlands, London and the East of England.
  • The number of non-British students whose parents live in China has nearly doubled in five years.