Private schools save the taxpayer more than £3.5 billion-a-year by educating more than half-a-million pupils, according to new research.
The report, published today by the Independent Schools Council, says that private schools contribute £13.7bn to the economy, generating £4.1 billion in tax revenues and supporting more than 300,000 jobs.
The ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon said: “While it is widely understood that independent schools provide a high quality, well-rounded education, it is hugely important to also acknowledge the significant contribution they make to the UK economy.
“The total tax impact of ISC schools on its own last year would have been sufficient to fund the annual employment of 108,000 nurses on average full-time pay.”
The report's figures are based on the 618,603 pupils being educated in private schools in the UK of which 524,879 are in ISC schools.
It says that if 600,000 pupils returned to the state sector and had to be educated at an average of £6,000 per pupil this would result in an extra cost to the Government of £3.5bn.
And ISC general secretary Julie Robinson said the figure would actually be higher if the capital costs needed to create the extra state school places were taken into account.
The report has been revealed at this year's Headmasters' and Headmistresses’ Conference in Manchester.
The report: The Impact of Independent Schools on the UK Economy, was produced for ISC by Oxford Economics.
Other findings of the report include
- The 1,317 schools represented by the ISC contributed £11.6 billion to the UK economy in 2017, generating £3.5 billion of annual tax revenues
- Of the £11.6 billion, non-British pupils at ISC schools supported around £1.8 billion of gross value added in the UK, supporting 39,310 jobs and generating £550 million in annual tax revenues.
- It estimates, based on OECD research, that had no independent schools existed in the country from 1940, the UK's GDP would now be £73 billion lower today.
Mr Lenon said the research had been commissioned to demonstrate the benefit of private schools to politicians and opinion formers.
He added: “This report reveals what many might consider the hidden values of independent schools. Not only does it clearly detail the sector’s economic contributions in financial terms, it tells us a wealth of other noteworthy information of which people should be aware.
“For example, we can see for every four jobs in our schools, a further three are supported elsewhere in the UK; the provision of a first-class education by UK-based schools to international pupils can make a significant contribution to the UK’s ‘soft power’ in the international relations field; ISC schools promote a bias towards science, mathematics and other subjects demanded by employers.”