Private schools add nearly £12bn yearly to UK


Private schools contribute £11.7bn to Britain each year, making them more significant for the country’s gross domestic product than the BBC or Liverpool’s economy, according to research by the Independent Schools Council.

The research, carried out by the Oxford Economics consultancy, claims to be the first in-depth analysis of the sector’s value to the UK.

Its authors estimate that Britain’s 2,600 private schools support 275,700 jobs, approximately one for every two pupils. The schools are also said to contribute £4.7bn in tax revenues, and £1.3bn in added value due to the high academic achievement of their pupils.

Professor Sir Michael Sterling, former vice-chancellor of Birmingham university who chaired the elite Russell Group, said it had long been the case that the independent schools sector delivered proportionately more students with better A-levels in science, technology, engineering and maths than the state sector.

One proposal under discussion before the next election is that private schools should open their doors to a wider range of pupils by operating an “open access” policy, partly funded by the state. The scheme, put forward by the Sutton Trust charity, suggests that part of the pupil allocation for state schools should be used to help 40,000 low-income children attend private schools.

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