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Sector Info

Independent schools provide excellence, capacity, and innovation in our education system.

Parents will choose independent schools for some or all of their child’s education, sometimes to meet particular needs – for example, independent schools that specialise in supporting children who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

There is not a single-type of independent school. The ISC represents almost 1,400 schools with real diversity of provision. ISC schools vary significantly in size from having fewer than 50 pupils to over 2,500, although half of all schools have fewer than 300 pupils. Almost half of schools are non-selective and 75% are not for-profit. 18% of pupils at ISC schools have SEND.

Independent schools provide:

Educational excellence

Particularly in STEM subjects that are crucial to future productivity; and languages post-Brexit.


Recent reforms of GCSEs and A-levels were based on qualifications taken at independent schools including IGCSEs and the Pre-U, and many of the structures and traditions of the independent sector have been adopted by state schools to improve pupils’ education.

Economic value

Independent schools contribute £13.7bn annually to GDP, support 303,000 jobs and £4.1bn in tax revenue.

Taxpayer savings

Independent schools save the state sector £3.5bn per year through parents (who pay taxes to support state education) not taking up state school places.

Overseas value

The sector contributes £1 billion annually to education exports, is respected across the world and is attractive to overseas companies re-locating families to the UK. The Government’s International education strategy wants to increase number of overseas students – ISC schools attract over 56,000 non-British pupils and are a pipeline to higher education for international pupils.


85% of ISC member schools already have partnerships with their state counterparts – equating to more than 11,500 partnership projects including supporting pupils with university applications, careers advice and providing teaching in shortage subjects such as Modern Foreign Languages.


Schools currently provide £464m in means tested bursaries and scholarships – a 1.9% increase on last year.

Specialist provision

The sector provides specialist provision in music and dance, single-sex schools, boarding and SEND support.


The value of independent schools

The value of independent schools

Julie Robinson, chief executive of the ISC, highlights the educational and economic value of independent schools.