We are incredibly fortunate here in the UK to have one of the best state education systems in the world. From pre-schools to universities, people flock from all around the globe to study here. So, if our state system is so good, why is there a need for independent schooling? With over 630,000 children (which equates to 6.5%) in independent schooling across the UK, we have explored several possible reasons, as well as the little known financial assistance available to families.
The class sizes are around half of that in a state school meaning 1-1 teaching time is greatly increased. According to the Independent Schools Council (ISC), the average teacher:pupil ratio in independent schools is 8.7* which is incredibly low in comparison to the reported 20.9 in state funded primary schools and 16.3 in secondaries in 2018**.
In addition to extensive, well-manicured grounds and grand historical buildings, many independent schools boast facilities such as state-of-the-art IT suites, dedicated art/DT rooms, music rooms, a large, well-stocked library and perhaps even a swimming pool. There is also usually an abundance of extra-curricular activities on offer for children to participate in.
Ultimately, good results are a key factor for most parents and pupils. As you would expect, independent schools score highly in both Year 11 and Year 13. In 2019 45.7% of Year 13 pupils achieved A*/A compared to the national average of 25.5%***. Year 11 faired just as well in the same year with 95.6% receiving grades C/4 and above in comparison to 67.3% nationally***.
It goes without saying that there is a certain amount of prestige attached to having been educated at an independent school. However, investing in private education is a huge commitment. Fees vary from school to school and are dependent on factors such as where you are in the UK and whether you wish for your child to board or attend as a day student. Few parents, however, are aware of the financial assistance on offer to families and assume private schooling is out of their reach.
Scholarships are available for students showing high academic aptitude or strong capabilities in sports, music or art. If successful, a percentage of the fees cost would be waived.
Provided a child meets the minimum requirements for entry, bursaries are awarded on a means assessed basis for families who would not otherwise be able to afford for their child to attend. Parents would need to provide financial information for the school to determine eligibility. It is likely to be reassessed every year. It is also worth noting that many schools hold a fund to assist with additional costs such as uniform, equipment and trips.
It is possible for a child to be awarded a scholarship and a bursary.
How to apply
All schools will have their own admissions process and applications for fee assistance will form part of their procedure. Information is likely to be available on the school website but for more in-depth details, it would be a good idea to contact the school’s admissions department.
*Information taken from ISC annual census 2020
**Information taken from the Department for Education school workforce statistics 2018
***Information taken from the ISC exam results publication 2019
We have significant knowledge and expertise in both state funded and independent schooling. If we can assist you in finding the right school for your child/ren, please contact us.
0118 947 0029
Kalewa, The Warren, Caversham,
1 The Mews,
Gilston Park, Hertfordshire