Independent schools are a force for good and save the taxpayer billions

A group of leading head teachers comment on recent findings

For the first time, the contribution of independent schools to the UK economy and the benefits accrued to the British taxpayer have been quantified in an independent report released today.

The report, published following months of detailed analysis by Oxford Economics, concludes that the 1,205 schools represented by the Independent Schools Council (‘ISC’) contribute £9.5 billion to the UK economy, more than a city the size of Liverpool. Furthermore, these independent schools support over 220,000 jobs and pay £3.6 billion in taxes.

Most striking of all is the finding that the 470,000 pupils educated in ISC schools save British taxpayers £3.0 billion a year, or £110 for every household.

Commenting on the findings, Alice Phillips, President of the Girls’ Schools Association, whose schools make up a significant number of those surveyed, said:

“For a while now, the true value of independent schools, to our economy, both nationally and locally, and the pockets of British taxpayers has been unquantified. I am delighted that Oxford Economics has finally enabled us to support what those of us who work in the sector have always known: independent schools are a force for good and save the taxpayer billions.”

Charlotte Vere, Executive Director of the GSA, added:
“It is time to stop the ill-conceived and thoughtless attacks on independent schools. This report provides conclusive evidence that independent schools play a key role in our local and national economies, supporting jobs and boosting the UK’s success. And as importantly, parents choosing an independent education for their child, save the British taxpayer £3.0 billion a year.”

The Oxford Economics report shows the economic footprint of Independent Schools Council (‘ISC’) schools. It measures their contribution to GDP, employment and national tax revenues; savings to the taxpayer by not having to provide state-funded education for ISC pupils; and the additional value to the British economy arising from high standards of academic performance by independently-educated pupils.

The report contains examples of how schools impact on their local economies through employment, supplier contracts – such as for school catering – and in their partnerships with state schools and universities.
Key findings include:

  • The 1,205 ISC schools in Britain support a £9.5 billion gross value added contribution to Britain’s GDP. By way of comparison, this is larger than the size of the economy of the city of Liverpool and also exceeds the BBC’s gross value added contribution, estimated recently at £8.3 billion.
  • ISC schools support 227,200 jobs across Britain, equivalent to one in every 122 people in employment. Every 2.1 pupils at an ISC school support one person in employment in Britain.
  • ISC schools generate £3.6 billion in tax revenues for the Exchequer, equivalent to £133 for every household in Britain.
  • For every £1 that schools contribute to the British economy, they generate 98p in the rest of the British economy through the supply chain and wage consumption impacts. This means that the independent sector has the same multiplier effect as the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Projecting these results to the entire independent sector (so as to include those schools which are not ISC schools) produces an estimated contribution of £11.7 billion to GDP, 275,700 jobs and tax revenues of £4.7 billion.
  • The 1,205 ISC schools in Britain educate approximately 470,000 pupils who are entitled to, but do not take up, a place at a state school. This results in an annual saving to the taxpayer of £3.0 billion – the equivalent of building more than 460 new free schools each year.


Information from all GSA schools are included in the data used by Oxford Economics in their analysis. The report contains a number of examples of contributions by Girls’ Schools Association schools. A copy of the report is available here. A copy of the ISC news release is available here.

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