The number of pupils attending independent schools is at a record high, according to new data.
The number of pupils attending independent schools that are part of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) has hit a record high, according to the latest annual census of the non-profit organisation.
In fact, the number of youngsters studying at these institutions – 517,113 pupils at 1,267 schools – is at its highest since records began in 1974, which is testament to the “resilience and stability of the sector”.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the of ISC, welcomed the latest findings, adding in his foreword that it was “wonderful” that pupil numbers in the north of England and Wales had increased this year.
These are notable developments because it is the first time since the recession that the numbers have risen in both regions. As such, it is clear that parents are feeling more confident with job security, the economic outlook and their investment capabilities.
“How is it that the independent sector has confounded the predictions of doom and gloom?” Mr Lenon asked. “At the heart of it all are high expectations and outstanding attainment; our schools are well ahead of the competition.
“Over half of our pupils’ A-levels were graded A*/A last summer, helping them to access top universities and jobs. The proportion of GCSE/IGCSE entries graded A* rose to 33 per cent, in stark contrast to the fall nationally.”
Julie Robinson, general secretary of the ISC, added that it was “no surprise” parents are opting to send their children to independent schools for further education (which she described as being “crucial years” in a young person’s development).
Furthermore, she said the track record of pupils who have studied at ISC schools for A-levels is remarkable, commenting that 51 per cent of entries achieve A* and A grades, compared to 26 per cent nationally.
Other key developments highlighted by the census include increased bursary provision, with an “unprecedented” number of students (170,000) benefitting from funding to help pay fees. The total of this is £836 million; £60 million more than last year.
Of this, Mr Lenon said: “It is vital we continue widening access to our schools for pupils of all backgrounds through our bursary programmes. The data this year shows that this is happening.”