ISC Census 2003: Numbers rise as assisted places go
The 2003 ISC census of independent schools, published today (30 April), shows that schools which used to offer government assisted places have continued to increase their pupil numbers, despite the phasing out of the scheme.
This is the fifth annual census to be carried out since the effects of the Government's abolition of the scheme have been felt in schools. It shows that, overall, numbers rose in independent schools by one per cent, compared with 2002.
A separate analysis of 412 schools with assisted places (which includes those in Scotland) shows that the number of Government assisted pupils dropped by 5,052 last year, as one full cohort of students left and was not replaced. Only 8,584 assisted place holders remain in ISC schools, down from a peak of more than 40,000 in 1998.
The total number of pupils in those schools, however, rose from 258,730 to 262,627 - an increase of 1.5 per cent.
The number of pupils receiving financial help from the schools themselves has continued to increase significantly. More than 2,089 additional pupils in these schools alone received help of this kind, an increase of 3.3 per cent.
Also encouraging is the slight increase in recruitment from state primary schools. Between 1998 and 2000, recruits from maintained schools fell from 34.1 per cent of all new entrants to 30 per cent, giving rise to fears of greater social exclusivity.
Since 2001, however, that trend has been reversed, and this year the proportion of admissions from state primary schools was once again up, from 33.3 per cent to 33.7 per cent.