Education & Family

Independent school pupils at record high

school pupils Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Parents pay more than £15,500 a year for private schooling

The number of pupils at independent schools in the UK is at its highest level since records began.

Figures published by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) show a slight rise in the numbers of privately educated pupils since last year.

The data also shows parents are on average now paying more than £15,500 a year for private schooling.

In total, there are 517,113 pupils at ISC schools this year, according to the council's annual survey of members.

This is up by about 1%, or 5,000 more students, on 2014.

The council says this means that student numbers are at their highest levels since records began 40 years ago.

'Remarkable'

There are 10 more schools in the ISC than last year, with 1,267 in total. And comparing only those schools that took part in the survey in both years, there has been a 0.6% rise in numbers.

There were increases in the numbers both of British and international pupils taking up places, the ISC said.

The survey also reveals that school fees have risen by 3.6% this year, with parents now paying £5,225 a term on average to educate their child privately.

This equates to about £15,675 for a whole year.

Fees range from an average of £10,123 per term to send a child to a private boarding school, to £4,398 for day pupils at either a boarding school or private day school.

ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon said: "It is remarkable that, although we are only at the start of an economic recovery, the number of pupils at UK independent schools is at the highest levels since records began in 1974.

"It shows that parents continue to value an independent education."

In total, 7% of schoolchildren were educated in the independent sector, while 14% of sixth-formers - those aged 16 and over - attended an ISC school, the council said.

The proportion of international students at British private schools has remained fairly steady at about 5% over the past few years.

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