ISC Response to Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission Report

Posted on: 28 Aug 2014

Independent schools strongly support social mobility.

Our schools are making strenuous efforts to raise bursary funding to become more inclusive and offer wider access to a more diverse pupil base. One in three of our pupils currently receive help with their fees and ISC schools provide £660 million in fee assistance.

In sport, where people reach the top while still young, we're already seeing the results: the England players Billy Vunipola (England rugby team) and Gary Ballance (England cricket team) both came to Harrow on generous bursaries.

Many of our schools sponsor academies and over 90% of our schools are in a partnership with their local communities and local schools. This involves sharing best practice, ideas and staff, as well as for example, offering children at local schools classes in Sciences, maths and the classics; running GCSE revision classes; offering university admissions advice and interview practice.

Back in the sixties and seventies, when many of those in the top jobs were educated at our schools, the educational landscape was very different, with independent schools receiving significant government funding to enable children from less advantaged backgrounds to attend them.

Whether then or now, it is too crude to use school type as a proxy for privilege. Our schools take pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds on bursaries and there are many state schools that have a very middle class intake and whose children are quite privileged. Therefore to divide the world into independent and state schools is just meaningless. The line between these schools is a porous one and children do move between the two sectors. At some point in their education, 12% of adults in Britain have attended an independent school.

ISC independent schools continue to offer an excellent education and are considered by the OECD to be among the best schools in the world.

As our A-level results last week demonstrate, our schools continue to outperform national figures, with one in fourteen candidates achieving three or more Agrades and more than half of independent school entries being awarded either an A or A grade.

*For more information on ISC bursary provision and partnership work, see page 39 in the Oxford Economics Report, The Impact of independent schools on the British economy.