Private schools in UK attracting record numbers of students

The Guardian is reporting that record numbers are now attending fee-paying private schools in Britain, although they say the rise is underpinned by increasing numbers of pupils from overseas…

The annual census conducted by the Independent Schools Council of more than 1,200 private schools found 517,000 pupils enrolled in 2015, the highest number since it began keeping records 40 years ago.

But the number of UK-domiciled pupils remains lower than before the financial crisis hit, with the overall total boosted by a 33% increase since 2008 in the number of non-British pupils whose parents live overseas…

China and Hong Kong provide more than 10,000 of the 27,000 overseas pupils attending British independent schools in 2015, with Russia the next largest contingent with 2,800, followed by Germany with 1,900 and Spain with 1,200.

The numbers are also boosted by the inclusion of nursery schools, with sharp rises in the numbers of children aged three and under at pre-prep and private nursery schools within the ISC’s members, reflecting the recent baby boom and challenge of finding childcare for pre-school children…


Should we applaud the independent sector for bringing in increasing numbers of overseas students and the fees that come with them or are there concerns if the proportion foreign students in the sector continues to grow?

Your thoughts and reactions to these figures? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Private Schools.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Private schls are protected, to an extent, from political whims so as long as MPs tinker with edu, private schls will thrive

  2. KateMrsnash

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove goes to show that what parents want is small class sizes, more sport & arts etc. many struggle to afford fees

  3. anne_clarke

    andylutwyche KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove And neighbourhoods like mine where we’ve had free school campaigns attacking our state schools

  4. So China and Hong Kong provide nearly one-third of overseas pupils in UK private schools.  Strange that, considering ‘China’ (aka Shanghai) and Hong Kong are supposed to be at the top of PISA league tables and the UK is supposed to be ‘languishing’ if not actually ‘plummeting’.

  5. @anne_clarke andylutwyche KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove And free schools often promote themselves as being like top independent schools but free to attend.  As if a school in a converted warehouse or office block with little outside space can compete with the likes of Eton.

    Yet parents seem attracted to this nonsense.

  6. The time to be concerned is when foreign students take places in English state schools for a fee and deny English pupils (whose parents pay for education through taxation) a place.

  7. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove Nearly all who can afford them patronises them. State system in hands of progressive fanatics & Tory accountants for 40 yrs.

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