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On the Map - Pupils from overseas - Draw of UK schools brings #163;600m to economy

Just under 5 per cent of pupils in our private schools come from outside the UK (excluding British pupils with parents living overseas), according to responses to an Independent Schools Council survey. They number not far short of 25,000 students of all ages. With the fee income for a boarding pupil being on average just over #163;8,000 per term, these students contribute over #163;600 million in fees to the UK economy. They require perhaps 2,500 teachers.

Hong Kong and mainland China provide between them more than 9,000 students, over a third of the total. They are followed by Germany, Russia and Spain, with about 4,700 between them. There is clearly a high degree of churn, as 10,900, or more than 40 per cent of pupils, were new to that school in this census. Sadly, the census doesn't reveal how many were changing school and how many were completely new entrants. Europe as a whole accounts for a third of the pupils.

The recession appears to continue to take its toll, as numbers from Taiwan and South Korea are down by more than 20 per cent each, and between them they now account for fewer than 600 students. The Indian subcontinent is another area where registrations are down by more than 15 per cent, perhaps reflecting the growth of high-quality schools across the subcontinent.

Indeed, this survey is only half the picture of the global reach of UK schooling, since it doesn't cover the many pupils educated in UK-style international schools across the globe. Such schools can often be alternatives to what parents view as poor-quality local schools. These international schools also make a contribution to the UK economy, by buying books, equipment and IT resources, as well as offering teaching posts. However, the education export fairs don't seem to command the same attention as those put on by the defence industry. Swords, it seems, still make better headlines than quills or computer software.

John Howson is director of Data for Education, an independent research analysis company

Pupils from overseas attending independent schools in the UK, 2011

North America - 849

Central and South America - 500

Germany - 2355

Rest of Europe - 2905

France - 561

Spain - 1072

Africa - 1392

Russia - 1305

Middle East - 668

Central Asia - 278

Rest of Far East - 764

China - 3428

IndiaPakistanSri LankaBangladesh - 238

South Korea - 647

Japan - 437

Hong Kong - 5859

Taiwan - 153

Thailand - 476

Malaysia - 413

Australasia - 163.

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