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Private schools get record numbers

Record numbers of children are attending private schools, according to new research.

Figures published by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) show a slight rise in the numbers of youngsters being educated privately compared to last year.

The data also reveals that parents are now paying more than £15,500 a year on average to send their son or daughter to a fee-paying school.

In total, there are 517,113 pupils at ISC schools, according to the council's annual survey of members, up by around 1% - just over 5,000 more students - on last year.

This means that student numbers are at their highest levels since records began around 40 years ago, the council said.

There are 10 more schools in the ISC than last year, with 1,267 in total, and comparing only those schools which took part in the survey in both years, there has been a 0.6% rise in numbers.

The rise is down to more British and international pupils taking up places, the ISC said.

The survey also reveals that school fees have risen by 3.6% this year, with parents now paying £5,225 a term on average to educate their child privately. This equates to around £15,675 for a whole year.

Fees range from an average of £10,123 per term to send a child to a private boarding school, to £4,398 for day pupils at either a boarding school or private day school.

ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon said: "It is remarkable that, although we are only at the start of an economic recovery, the number of pupils at UK independent schools is at the highest levels since records began in 1974. It shows that parents continue to value an independent education."

In total, 7% of schoolchildren are educated in the independent sector, while 14% of sixth-formers - those aged 16 and over - attend an ISC school, the council said.

The ISC's new general secretary, Julie Robinson, said: "It is no surprise that parents are choosing ISC schools for the crucial sixth-form years. ISC schools have an outstanding track record at A-level, with 51% of entries achieving A* and A grades, compared to 26% nationally."

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