Ten reasons for independent schools to be optimistic in 2016
By Barnaby Lenon, Chairman of ISC.
1. Independently educated students get better degree results and higher salaries.
HEFCE research in 2015 found that of independent school pupils 82% got 1sts and 2:1s, compared to 73% for state school students. Research by the Social Market Foundation found that by the age of 42 a privately-educated person will have earned £194,000 more than a state-educated person.
2 Parents want what we offer.
ISC research shows that parents want what ISC schools offer, including good behaviour, a focus on non-academic achievement and the explicit development of ‘soft skills’. Research published last year showed that one reason for the pay difference described in 1 above was the possession of non-academic skills such as articulacy, assertiveness and imagination. In 2016 ISC will be publishing research into soft skills and their significance.
3. Overseas franchises are booming.
In 2016 the number of overseas pupils in ISC school franchises will exceed the number of overseas pupils being educated in the UK. ISC schools now run fifty satellite schools abroad and are part of a global network looking beyond the UK for partnership and inspiration.
4. Boarding school numbers are growing.
Boarding numbers rose for the first time for a while in 2015 and there are signs of a resurgence in this sector.
5. Exam results will be excellent.
In 2015 over 60% of GCSE/iGCSE entries were graded A* or A as were half of A level entries.
A third of those taking the IB Diploma obtained 40 or more points.
ISC’s analysis of A level value added showed it was well above the national average. Pupils in our schools get the best results in the right subjects.
HMC/GSA research showed that 2015 was the best-ever year for entry to Russell Group universities and this trend is likely to continue.
6. Getting to grips with pastoral problems.
In 2015 ISC schools looked even more closely at the most effective strategies for reducing stress and dealing with the fallout from social networking. Meanwhile some issues are causing schools and pupils fewer problems than they were five years ago: illegal drug use, alcohol misuse, smoking, homophobic bullying and sexual health.
7. The number of children in receipt of means-tested bursaries is growing.
A third of pupils at ISC schools are educated on a reduced fee and £370 million is being spent this year on bursaries. The amount is rising every year, opening up our schools to pupils from a wider range of backgrounds.
8. ISC schools have survived the recession.
Outside London it has been tough but in 2015 overall numbers grew despite the economic conditions. ISC schools educate about 6% of GCSE pupils and 14% of A level pupils.
9. Partnerships with state schools are blossoming.
93% of ISC schools identified some form of school or community partnership and 2016 will see more and more progress in this area. We have now published details of many of the most successful projects on the new Schools Together website.
10. Fees are under control.
In 2015 fee increases were low – amongst the lowest ever recorded. The signs are that in 2016 fee increases will be low again, made possible by very low inflation. Meanwhile house prices have continued to rise in areas round all the best state schools, making access to these state schools more expensive than a good fee-charging school.