Ashton, Manchester

What is an Independent School?

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)”.

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