Page 7 - Independent Schools Magazine
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Highest number of pupils since records began in 1974
The Independent Schools Council has published its Annual Census, providing a snapshot of the sector as at January 2017. Key extracts include:
ISC pupil numbers since 1974 (key milestones)
• There are now a record 522,879 pupils at 1,301 ISC member schools, up from 518,432 in 2016.
• At the 1,259 schools completing the Census in both 2016 and 2017, pupil numbers have remained stable. The most signi cant variations
are regional with some areas experiencing increases in pupil numbers and others reductions in pupil numbers.
• For the  rst time the number
of pupils in overseas franchise schools exceeds the number of overseas pupils at ISC schools in the UK. The money made from the franchise schools is largely used to fund bursaries for UK pupils from low income homes.
• Marginal decrease in the number of boarding pupils (boarding pupils account for 13.4% this year, compared to 13.6% last year).
• Marginal increase in the number of pupils attending co-educational schools (75.0% this year, 74.7% last year).
• At GCSE in 2016 the
average ISC pupil gained A*A*AAAAAAA. At A-level half of exams were graded A* or A, double the national  gure. On the basis of points per subject (i.e. the actual grades), 81 of the top 100 schools in England were ISC schools.
• Independent schools enter a disproportionate number of pupils for most STEM subjects and all MFL (compared to state-funded schools). For some subjects, such as French and further maths, independent schools enter nearly twice as many candidates proportionately.
• 91% of all ISC pupils went on to higher education in
2016. This proportion has changed little over time. Of those continuing to higher education, 94% do so within the UK. The majority (55%) continue to a Russell Group university, including 6% of ISC pupils who continue to either Oxford or Cambridge.
• A higher proportion of pupils with SEND were recorded this year (13.7% of all ISC pupils are recorded as having a SEND compared to 13.2% last year). This may re ect increasing awareness of emotional SEND types in particular.
• The proportion of minority ethnic pupils has increased and continues to re ect general population trends (from 30% last year to 32% this year).
• Average fee increases this year were 3.5%, in line with last year and the lowest since 1994.
• £900m was provided in fee assistance for pupils at ISC schools, an increase of 4.9 compared to last year. More than £760m of this £900m came directly from ISC
schools, an increase of 4.8% compared to last year. Over £380m related to means-tested assistance, an increase of 3% compared to last year.
• 43% of pupils receiving means-tested bursaries and 23% of pupils receiving means-tested scholarships have more than half their fees discounted. 5,742 pupils paid no fees at all.
• Despite the fact that the average size of school is only 400 pupils and 77% of ISC schools are charities, 88% of ISC schools have a partnership with a state school.
Annual growth in pupil numbers by region (like-for-like)
Julie Robinson, ISC General Secretary: “The role independent schools play in our diverse educational landscape should not be underestimated. They are not only supporting the development of academically successful, conscientious and con dent young people, they are
also providing a huge number of learning and sporting opportunities through partnerships with state schools.
“Many people do not realise that 88% of our schools have a partnership with a state school. What is so important about every single partnership is that they are undertaken as voluntary agreements between independent and state schools. This is what makes them so successful, and we look forward to extending this work going forward. Forcing partnerships which are not agreed by both parties would clearly be counter-productive.”
Barnaby Lenon, ISC Chairman: “ISC schools offer pupils excellent all-round education, a serious and professional approach to pastoral care and a focus on soft skills. Undistracted by state-imposed accountability measures, our schools are free to focus on the needs
of individual pupils, supporting them to become committed and con dent young people who thrive when challenged.”
Independent Schools Magazine 7

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