In the United Kingdom, independent schools (also sometimes described as private schools) are fee-charging schools, typically governed by an elected board of governors and independent of many of the regulations and conditions that apply to state-funded schools. For example, pupils do not have to follow the National Curriculum.Historically, the term 'private school' referred to a school in private ownership, in contrast to an endowed school subject to a trust or of charitable status. Many of the older and more exclusive independent schools catering for the 13–18 age range in England and Wales are known as public schools, seven of which were the subject of the Public Schools Act 1868. The term 'public school' derived from the fact that they were then open to pupils regardless of where they lived or their religion (while in America, 'public school' refers to a publicly funded state school). Prep (preparatory) schools educate younger children up to the age of 13 to 'prepare' them for entry to the public schools and other independent schools. Some former grammar schools converted to an independent fee-charging model following the 1965 Circular 10/65, which marked the end of their state funding; others converted into comprehensive schools.
There are around 2,600 independent schools in the UK, which educate around 615,000 children, some 7 per cent of all British children and 18 per cent of pupils over the age of 16.In addition to charging tuition fees, many also benefit from gifts, charitable endowments and charitable status. Many of these schools are members of the Independent Schools Council. In 2017, the average annual cost for private schooling was £14,102 for day school and £32,259 for boarding school.
Some independent schools are particularly old, such as The King's School, Canterbury (founded 597), The King's School, Rochester (founded 604), St Peter's School, York (founded c. 627), Sherborne School (founded 705), Warwick School (c. 914), The King's School, Ely (c. 970) and St Albans School (948). These schools were founded as part of the church and were under its complete dominion. However, during the late 14th and early 15th centuries the first schools independent of the church were founded. Winchester and Oswestry were the first of their kind, and paved the way for the establishment of the modern "public school". These were often established for male students from poor or disadvantaged backgrounds; however, English law has always regarded education as a charitable end in itself, irrespective of poverty.
The transformation of free charitable foundations into institutions which sometimes charge fees came about readily: the foundation would only afford minimal facilities, so that further fees might be charged to lodge, clothe and otherwise maintain the scholars, to the private profit of the trustees or headmaster. Also, facilities already provided by the charitable foundation for a few students could profitably be extended to further paying pupils. (Some schools still keep their foundation students in a separate house from other pupils.)
After a time, such fees eclipsed the original charitable income, and the original endowment would become a minor part of the capital benefactions enjoyed by the school. In 2009 senior boarding schools were charging fees of between £16,000 and nearly £30,000 per annum.However, a majority of the independent schools today are still registered as a charity, and bursaries are available to students on a means test basis. Christ's Hospital in Horsham is an example: a large proportion of its students are funded by its charitable foundation or by various benefactors.
The educational reforms of the 19th century were particularly important under first Thomas Arnold at Rugby, and then Butler and later Kennedy at Shrewsbury, the former emphasising team spirit and muscular Christianity and the latter the importance of scholarship and competitive examinations. Edward Thring of Uppingham School introduced major reforms, focusing on the importance of the individual and competition, as well as the need for a "total curriculum" with academia, music, sport and drama being central to education. Most public schools developed significantly during the 18th and 19th centuries, and came to play an important role in the development of the Victorian social elite. Under a number of forward-looking headmasters leading public schools created a curriculum based heavily on classics and physical activity for boys and young men of the upper and upper middle classes.
They were schools for the gentlemanly elite of Victorian politics, armed forces and colonial government. Often, successful businessmen would send their sons to a public school as a mark of participation in the elite. Much of the discipline was in the hands of senior pupils (usually known as prefects), which was not just a means to reduce staffing costs, but was also seen as vital preparation for those pupils' later roles in public or military service. More recently heads of public schools have been emphasising that senior pupils now play a much reduced role in disciplining.
To an extent, the public school system influenced the school systems of the British Empire, and recognisably "public" schools can be found in many Commonwealth countries.
Until 1975 there had been a group of 179 academically selective schools drawing on both private and state funding, the direct grant grammar schools. The Direct Grant Grammar Schools (Cessation of Grant) Regulations 1975 required these schools to choose between full state funding as comprehensive schools and full independence. As a result, 119 of these schools became independent.
Pupil numbers at independent schools fell slightly during the mid-1970s recession. At the same time participation at all secondary schools grew dramatically, so that the share of the independent sector fell from a little under 8 per cent in 1964 to reach a low of 5.7 per cent in 1978. Both these trends were reversed during the 1980s, and the share of the independent schools reached 7.5 per cent by 1991. The changes since 1990 have been less dramatic, participation falling to 6.9 per cent by 1996 before increasing very slightly after 2000 to reach 7.2 per cent in 2012.In 2015, the figure has fallen back to 6.9 per cent with the absolute number of pupils attending independent schools falling everywhere in England apart from in the South East.
In 2011 there were more than 2,500 independent schools in the UK educating some 628,000 children, comprising over 6.5 per cent of UK children, and more than 18 per cent of pupils over the age of 16.In England the schools account for a slightly higher percentage than in the UK as a whole. According to a 2010 study by Ryan & Sibetia, "the proportion of pupils attending independent schools in England is currently 7.2 per cent (considering full-time pupils only)".
Most of the larger independent schools are either full or partial boarding schools, although many are now predominantly day schools; by contrast there are only a few dozen state boarding schools. Boarding-school traditions give a distinctive character to British independent education, even in the case of day-pupils.
A high proportion of independent schools, particularly the larger and older institutions, have charitable status.
The Independent Schools Council (ISC), through seven affiliated organisations, represents 1,289 schools that together educate over 80 per cent of the pupils in the UK independent sector. Those schools in England which are members of the affiliated organisations of the ISC are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate under a framework agreed between ISC, the Government's Department for Education (DfE) and the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). Independent Schools not affiliated to the ISC in England may be inspected by either School Inspection Service or Bridge Schools' Trust. Independent schools accredited to the ISC in Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland or others in England out with the inspectorial bodies listed above are inspected through the national inspectorates in each country.
Independent schools in Scotland educate about 31,000 children and often referred to as private schools. Although many of the Scottish independent schools are members of the ISC they are also represented by the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, recognised by the Scottish Parliament as the body representing private schools in Scotland. Unlike England, all Scottish independent schools are subject to the same regime of inspections by Education Scotland as local authority schools and they have to register with the Learning Directorate.The nine largest Scottish independent schools, with 1,000 or more pupils, are George Watson's College, Hutcheson's Grammar School, Robert Gordon's College, George Heriot's School, St Aloysius' College, The Glasgow Academy, Dollar Academy, the High School of Glasgow and the High School of Dundee.
Historically, in Scotland, it was common for children destined for private schools to receive their primary education at a local school. This arose because of Scotland's long tradition of state-funded education, which was spearheaded by the Church of Scotland from the seventeenth century, long before such education was common in England. Independent prep schools only became more widespread in Scotland from the late 19th century (usually attached to an existing secondary private school, though exceptions such as Craigclowan Preparatory School and Cargilfield Preparatory School do exist), though they are still much less prevalent than in England. They are, however, currently gaining in numbers.[ citation needed ]. In modern times many secondary pupils in Scotland's private schools will have fed in from the school's own fee-paying primary school, therefore there is considerable competition facing pupils from state primary schools who seek to enter a private school at secondary stage, via entrance examinations.
Independent schools, like state grammar schools, are free to select their pupils, subject to general legislation against discrimination. The principal forms of selection are financial, in that the pupil's family must be able to pay the school fees, and academic, with many administering their own entrance exams – some also require that the prospective student undergo an interview, and credit may also be given for musical, sporting or other talent. Entrance to some schools is more or less restricted to pupils whose parents practise a particular religion, or schools may require all pupils to attend religious services.
Only a small minority of parents can afford school fees averaging over £23,000 per annum for boarding pupils and £11,000 for day pupils, with additional costs for uniform, equipment and extra-curricular facilities.Scholarships and means-tested bursaries to assist the education of the less well-off are usually awarded by a process which combines academic and other criteria.
Independent schools are generally academically selective, using the competitive Common Entrance Examination at ages 11–13. Schools often offer scholarships to attract abler pupils (which improves their average results); the standard sometimes approaches the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) intended for age 16. Poorly-performing pupils may be required to leave, and following GCSE results can be replaced in the sixth form by a new infusion of high-performing sixth-form-only pupils, which may distort apparent results.On the other hand, pupils performing poorly cannot legally be excluded from a state school solely for poor performance.
Independent schools, as compared with maintained schools, are generally characterised by more individual teaching; much lower pupil-teacher ratios at around 9:1;longer teaching hours (sometimes including Saturday morning teaching) and homework (known as prep), though shorter terms; more time for organised sports and extra-curricular activities; more emphasis on traditional academic subjects such as maths, classics and modern languages; and a broader education than that prescribed by the national curriculum, to which state school education is in practice limited.
As boarding schools are fully responsible for their pupils throughout term-time, pastoral care is an essential part of independent education, and many independent schools teach their own distinctive ethos, including social aspirations, manners and accents, associated with their own school traditions. Many pupils aspire to send their own children to their old schools over successive generations. Most offer sporting, musical, dramatic and art facilities, sometimes at extra charges.
Educational achievement is generally very good. Independent school pupils are four times more likely to attain an A* at GCSE than their non-selective state sector counterparts and twice as likely to attain an A grade at A-level. A much higher proportion go to university. Some schools specialise in particular strengths, whether academic, vocational or artistic, although this is not as common as it is in the State sector.
Independent schools are able to set their own discipline regime, with much greater freedom to exclude children, primarily exercised in the wider interests of the school: the most usual causes being drug-taking, whether at school or away, or an open rejection of the school's values, such as dishonesty or violence.
In England and Wales there are no requirements for teaching staff to have Qualified Teacher Status or to be registered with the General Teaching Council. In Scotland a teaching qualification and registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is mandatory for all teaching positions.
In 2014 the Independent Schools Council commissioned a report to highlight the impact that independent schools have on the British economy. The report calculated that independent schools support an £11.7 billion contribution to gross value added (GVA) in Britain.
Independent schools are often criticised for being elitist, and seen as lying outside the spirit of the state system. Many of the best-known public schools are extremely expensive, and many have entry criteria geared towards those who have been at private "feeder" preparatory schools. The Thatcher government introduced the Assisted Places Scheme in England and Wales in 1980, whereby the state paid the school fees for those pupils capable of gaining a place but unable to afford the fees. This was essentially a response to the decision of the previous Labour government in the mid-1970s to remove government funding of direct grant grammar schools, most of which then became independent schools; some Assisted Places pupils went to the former direct-grant schools such as Manchester Grammar School. The scheme was terminated by the Labour government in 1997, and since then the independent sector has moved to increase its own means-tested bursaries.
The former classics-based curriculum was also criticised for not providing skills in sciences or engineering, but was perhaps in response to the requirement of classics for entry to Oxbridge until the early 1960s, as well as a hangover from centuries ago when only Latin and Greek were taught at many public schools. It was Martin Wiener's opposition to this tendency which inspired his 1981 book English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit: 1850-1980. It became a huge influence on the Thatcher government's opposition to old-school gentlemanly Toryism. According to a 2010 report from the Department for Education, independent school pupils have "the highest rates of achieving grades A or B in A-level maths and sciences" compared to grammar, specialist and mainstream state schools, and pupils at independent schools account for a disproportionate number of the total number of A-levels in maths and sciences.
Some parents complain that their rights and their children's are compromised by vague and one-sided contracts which allow Heads to use discretionary powers unfairly, such as in expulsion on non-disciplinary grounds. They believe independent schools have not embraced the principles of natural justice as adopted by the state sector, and private law as applied to Higher Education.This belief is reinforced by the fact that the legal rights of pupils are governed by a private contract, as opposed to rights implemented by the national government. For instance, a pupil seeking admission to a state school that is rejected is legally entitled to appeal, whereas at an independent school admissions are at the discretion of the governing body of the school.
In 2006, pupils at fee-paying schools made up 43 per cent of those selected for places at Oxford University and 38 per cent of those granted places at Cambridge University (although such pupils represent only 18 per cent of the 16 years old plus school population).
A major area of debate in recent years has centred around the continuing charitable status of independent schools, which means they are not charged business rates by local councils, amongst other benefits. This is estimated to save the schools about £200 per pupil and to cost the Exchequer about £100 million in tax breaks, assuming that an increase in fees would not result in any transfer of pupils from private to maintained sector.
Since the Charities Act was passed in November 2006, charitable status is based on an organisation providing a "public benefit", as judged by the Charity Commission.In 2008, the Charity Commission published guidance, including guidance on public benefit and fee charging, setting out issues to be considered by charities charging high fees that many people could not afford. The Independent Schools Council was granted permission by the High Court to bring a judicial review of the Charity Commission’s public benefit guidance as it affected the independent education sector. This was heard by the Upper Tribunal at the same time as a reference by the Attorney General asking the Tribunal to consider how the public benefit requirement should operate in relation to fee-charging charitable schools. The Upper Tribunal's decision, published on 14 October 2011, concluded that in all cases there must be more than de minimis or token benefit for the poor, but that trustees of a charitable independent school should decide what was appropriate in their particular circumstances.
The Charity Commission accordingly published revised public benefit guidance in 2013.
In Scotland, under the Charities and Trustee Investment Act (Scotland),there is an entirely separate test of charitable status, overseen by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, which assesses the public benefit provided by each registered school charity.
An investigation into official exam data by the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme, in 2017, showed that 20% of private school pupils were given extra time for their GCSE and A level exams, as compared with less than 12% of pupils in public sector schools.The most commonly given amount of extra exam time is 25%. Such 'exam access' arrangements are given for a range of disabilities and educational special needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD.
In 2002 Jeremy Smith and Robin Naylor of the University of Warwick conducted a study into the determinants of degree performance at UK universities. Their study confirmed that the internationally recognized phenomenon whereby “children from more advantaged class backgrounds have higher levels of educational attainment than children from less-advantaged class backgrounds"persists at university level in the United Kingdom. The authors noted "a very well-determined and monotonically positive effect defined over Social Classes I to V" whereby, for both men and women, "ceteris paribus, academic performance at university is better the more advantaged is the student's home background". but they also observed that a student educated at an independent school was on average 6 per cent less likely to receive a first or an upper second class degree than a student from the same social class background, of the same gender, who had achieved the same A-level score at a state school. The averaged effect was described as very variable across the social class and A-level attainment of the candidates; it was "small and not strongly significant for students with high A-level scores" (i.e. for students at the more selective universities) and "statistically significant mostly for students from lower occupationally-ranked social-class backgrounds". Additionally, the study could not take into account the effect of a slightly different and more traditional subject mix studied by independent students at university on university achievement. Despite these caveats, the paper attracted much press attention. The same study found wide variations between independent school, suggesting that students from a few of them were in fact significantly more likely to obtain the better degrees than state students of the same gender and class background having the same A-level score.
In 2011, a subsequent study led by Richard Partington at Cambridge Universityshowed that A-level performance is "overwhelmingly" the best predictor for exam performance in the earlier years ("Part I") of the undergraduate degree at Cambridge. Partington's summary specified that "questions of school background and gender" ... "make only a marginal difference and the pattern – particularly in relation to school background – is in any case inconsistent."
A study commissioned by the Sutton Trustand published in 2010 focussed mainly on the possible use of US-style SAT tests as a way of detecting a candidate's academic potential. Its findings confirmed those of the Smith & Naylor study in that it found that privately educated pupils who, despite their educational advantages, have only secured a poor A-level score, and who therefore attend less selective universities, do less well than state educated degree candidates with the same low A-level attainment. In addition, as discussed in the 2010 Buckingham report "HMC Schools: a quantitative analysis", because students from state schools tended to be admitted on lower A-level entry grades, relative to entry grades it could be claimed that these students had improved more. A countervailing finding of the Sutton Trust study was that for students of a given level of A-level attainment it is almost twice as difficult to get a first at the most selective universities than at those on the other end of the scale. Independent sector schools regularly dominate the top of the A-level league tables, and their students are more likely to apply to the most selective universities; as a result independent sector students are particularly well represented at these institutions, and therefore only the very ablest of them are likely to secure the best degrees.
In 2013 the Higher Education Funding Council for England published a studynoting, amongst other things, that a greater percentage of students who had attended an independent school prior to university achieved a first or upper second class degree compared with students from state schools. Out of a starting cohort of 24,360 candidates having attended an independent school and 184,580 having attended a state school, 64.9 per cent of the former attained a first or upper second class degree, compared to 52.7 per cent of the latter. However, no statistical comparisons of the two groups (State vs Independent) were reported, with or without controls for student characteristics such as entry qualifications, so no inferences can be drawn on the relative performance of the two groups. The stand-out finding of the study was that Independent School students over-achieved in obtaining graduate jobs and study, even when student characteristics were allowed for (sex, ethnicity, school type, entry qualifications, area of study).
In 2015, the UK press widely reported the outcome of research suggesting that graduates from state schools that have attained similar A level grades go on to achieve higher undergraduate degree classes than their independent school counterparts. The quoted figures, based on the degree results of all students who graduated in 2013/14, suggested that 82 per cent of state school pupils got firsts or upper seconds compared with 73 per cent of those from independent schools. Later, HEFCE admitted that it had made a transposition error, and that in fact, 73 per cent of state school graduates gained a first or upper second class degree compared with 82 per cent of independent school graduates.This admission attracted far less publicity than the original erroneous assertion.
Across all English universities, state school students who scored two Bs and a C at A-level did on average eight per cent better at degree level than their privately educated counterparts.However, two Bs and a C represents an entry tariff of 112, well below the average demanded by any of the UK's Russell Group universities.
Universities in the United Kingdom have generally been instituted by royal charter, papal bull, Act of Parliament, or an instrument of government under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 or the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. Degree awarding powers and the 'university' title are protected by law, although the precise arrangements for gaining these vary between the constituent countries of the United Kingdom.
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching Latin, but more recently an academically oriented secondary school, differentiated in recent years from less academic secondary modern schools. The main difference is that a grammar school may select pupils based on academic achievement whereas a secondary modern may not.
Education in Hong Kong is largely modelled on that of the United Kingdom, particularly the English system. It is overseen by the Education Bureau and the Social Welfare Department.
Education in India is primarily managed by state-run public education system, which fall under the command of the government at three levels: federal, state and local. Under various articles of the Indian Constitution and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, free and compulsory education is provided as a fundamental right to children aged 6 to 14. The approximate ratio of public schools to private schools in India is 7:5. Major policy initiatives in Indian education are numerous. Up until 1976, education policies and implementation were determined legally by each of India’s constitutional states. The 42nd amendment to the constitution in 1976 made education a ‘concurrent subject’. From this point on the central and state governments shared formal responsibility for funding and administration of education. In a country as large as India, now with 28 states and eight union territories, this means that the potential for variations between states in the policies, plans, programs and initiatives for elementary education is vast. Periodically, national policy frameworks are created to guide states in their creation of state-level programs and policies. State governments and local government bodies manage the majority of primary and upper primary schools and the number of government-managed elementary schools is growing. Simultaneously the number and proportion managed by private bodies is growing. In 2005-6 83.13% of schools offering elementary education were managed by government and 16.86% of schools were under private management. Of those schools managed privately, one third are ‘aided’ and two thirds are ‘unaided’. Enrolment in Grades 1-8 is shared between government and privately managed schools in the ratio 73:27. However in rural areas this ratio is higher (80:20) and in urban areas much lower (36:66).
Education in England is overseen by the United Kingdom's Department for Education. Local government authorities are responsible for implementing policy for public education and state-funded schools at a local level.
Education in Scotland is overseen by the Scottish Government and its executive agency Education Scotland. Education in Scotland has a history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from those in the other countries of the United Kingdom. The Scotland Act 1998 gives the Scottish Parliament legislative control over all education matters, and the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 is the principal legislation governing education in Scotland. Traditionally, the Scottish system at secondary school level has emphasised breadth across a range of subjects, while the English, Welsh and Northern Irish systems have emphasised greater depth of education over a smaller range of subjects.
Education in Germany is primarily the responsibility of individual German states, with the federal government playing a minor role. Optional Kindergarten education is provided for all children between one and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory. Overall, Germany is one of the best performing OECD countries in reading literacy, mathematics and sciences with the average student scoring 515 in the PISA Assessment Test, well above the OECD average of 497 points. Germany has a less competitive system, leading to low rates of bullying and students having a weak fear of failure but a high level of self-confidence and general happiness compared to other OECD countries like South Korea. Additionally, Germany has one of the largest percentage of top performers in reading among socio-economically advantaged students, ranking 3rd out of 76 OECD countries. This leads to Germany having one of the highest-educated labour forces among OECD countries.
Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE). It controls the development and administration of state schools receiving taxpayers' funding, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect of private schools. For both private and state schools, there are variations in the extent of autonomy in their curriculum, scope of taxpayers' aid and funding, tuition burden on the students, and admission policy.
State schools or public schools are generally primary or secondary schools that educate all children without charge. They are funded in whole or in part by taxation. State funded schools exist in virtually every country of the world, though there are significant variations in their structure and educational programmes. State education generally encompasses primary and secondary education.
An independent school is independent in its finances and governance. Also known as private schools, non-governmental, privately funded, or non-state schools, they are not administered by local, state or national governments. In British English, an independent school usually refers to a school which is endowed, i.e. held by a trust, charity or foundation, whilst a private school is one which is privately owned.
A sixth form college is an educational institution, where students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A Levels, Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or school-level qualifications such as General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations. In Singapore and India, this is known as a junior college. The municipal government of the city of Paris uses the phrase ’sixth form college’ as the English name for a lycée.
A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership or receives significant public funds through a national or subnational government, as opposed to a private university. Whether a national university is considered public varies from one country to another, largely depending on the specific education landscape.
The Assisted Places Scheme was established in the UK by the Conservative government in 1980. Children who were eligible were provided with free or subsidised places to fee-paying independent schools - based on the child's results in the school's entrance examination.
Education in Kenya refers to the education system in Kenya.
The Independent Schools Council (ISC) is a non-profit lobby group that represents over 1,300 schools in the United Kingdom's independent education sector. The organisation comprises seven independent school associations and promotes the business interests of its independent school members in the political arena, which includes the Department for Education and has been described as the "sleepless champion of the sector."
Albyn School is a coeducational independent day school, founded in 1867 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Albyn was originally an all-girls school before becoming co-educational in 2005. The school has a nursery, primary school and secondary school; pupils can attend from 2 years old to 18 years old.
The University of Bristol admissions controversy refers to an historic dispute over the admissions process for the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom which occurred in 2003. The 2003 incident was caused by concerns over bias in the admissions system that were perceived as favouritism towards state school students after the rejection of some students with strong academic records who attended independent schools. The university's widening participation policy allowed the awarding of slightly lower offers to promising applicants from schools with lower academic achievement. Controversy surrounding this policy resulted in a brief boycott of the university by some independent schools and intense media debate about the fairness of the admissions policy as well as praise and criticism of the policy and the boycott from politicians, student leaders and education groups. The boycott was lifted after two months when the Independent School's Council expressed satisfaction with the fairness of the admissions system. Two years later a survey of independent schools concluded that: "It is likely that rejections which may have seemed discriminatory to parents and schools have in fact, been due to a large rise in suitably qualified applicants" and independent evidence was compiled suggesting that claims of bias were wildly exaggerated. The controversy has now been superseded by the reality that all British universities have active "widening participation" policies designed to increase university applications from lower-achieving schools which tend, de facto, to be state schools.
The Maharishi School is a non-academically selective free school in Lathom, Lancashire, UK. The school was founded in 1986 and uses "consciousness-based education" methods including Transcendental Meditation.