Figures published by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), which represents 1,300 private schools in the UK, reveal a steep decline in numbers of Russian pupils being taught in the UK over the last three years. The Telegraph reports.
The trend is believed to have been exacerbated by the nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury in March this year.
More than twenty Russian diplomats and their families, including children at leading public schools, were expelled from the UK as Theresa May had no hesitation in blaming the Kremlin for masterminding the attack.
The incident was also reported to have triggered a clampdown against other wealthy Russians who were living in the UK.
One of the casualties of the new tougher visa system is Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club, who did not have his visa automatically renewed when it expired in April.
After the Salisbury incident, opponents of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and British parliamentarians called on the Government to take action to strip Kremlin cronies of their lifestyles, including preventing them from taking advantage of British public schools.
In 2015 there were a record 2,795 Russian pupils attending British public schools. By April this year that number had fallen by more than a third, dropping to 1,699 (or 39.21%).
Ralph Lucas, Editor-in-Chief of The Good Schools Guide told The Telegraph: “The reasons for this drop are difficult to establish. For many years, British schools have celebrated the presence of Russians among their pupil populations and we have seen that Russian children have typically adapted well to life in British schools and have prospered on progressing to university and professional life. The figures showing the decline may be a brief blip which will be righted or they could indicate a change in educational taste for well-off Russians. Time will tell.”
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