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05 November 2018 | Childcare & Education

Independent schools and their valuable contribution to society

How you look at and consider the effect independent schooling has on society may depend on what side of the political divide you are on. But, viewing it in this narrow spectrum may lead to overlooking the contribution these schools make to society, both economically and socially.

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Private education has never been so accessible, as according to the ISC’s (Independent Schools Council) most recent census, a third of the 1300-member schools who partook in the survey had raised money to subsidise the fees of lower income families. The total value of these contributions is more than £800 million in fee assistance, benefitting over 170,000 pupils. 

These are not insignificant figures and are only representative of half of the independent schools in the country. This means that these statistics are in fact just a partial representation of how much help and assistance is actually given by these institutions. 

But, like everything in life, money is not the only key factor to consider. There are other ways independent schools are giving back to the community. Partnerships between state schools and independent schools are prevalent throughout the country, enabling access to sporting, academic, music, and drama facilities for state school pupils who would not normally benefit from such amenities. 
 
It could be a consideration for parents paying 10-20% over market value for a property in order to be within a catchment area for a particular school, whether it might be more shrewd to pay the same amount in school fees to send their child to an independent school. Ultimately, they are both paying a premium for their child’s education and, in different ways, contributing to the economy. Additionally, for every child able to access independent or paid for education, it frees up an extra place in the state system, which are always needed.

One other thing to take into account is how independent schools contribute to creating a ‘global Britain’ as, again according to the ISC census, there are over 50,000 non-British pupils spanning six different continents who come to study specifically in our independent school education system. That’s before we consider the number of UK-originated franchises and campuses opening up overseas. There are fears that Britain is moving away from the world stage, however, this is one sector in our economy that shows how Britain can remain relevant and active on a global scale.

 
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