Reasons to be proud (part 1)

It is easy, both as a fee-paying parent and as teacher working in an Independent School to feel a mild sense of guilt. The media rarely miss a chance to vilify the sector and those who work in and support it. Yet, for all the international studies that show UK education in general as second rate, we know for sure that the independent education sector in the UK has never been stronger or more successful. This is shown by the countless statistics that show our sector’s schools as outperforming schools throughout the world and by the thousands of pupils from overseas who choose to attend our boarding schools.

Recently, the Independent Schools Council (ISC), which represents 1250 established independent schools in the UK including Thorpe Hall, commissioned Oxford Economics to research the economic benefits of the independent school sector to the economy as a whole. This exhaustive study found that the exchequer benefits to the tune of £3 billion due to the independent sector removing the burden of educating over 500,000 children. In addition, the sector as a whole has an economic impact the same size as the BBC. ISC has produced a spreadsheet tool which allows headteachers to calculate the local and regional impact of each individual school. I can tell you that as a result of Thorpe Hall’s economic activity 10 people are employed in Southend in addition to the 63 we employ ourselves. The school’s direct and supply-chain employees contribute £658,000 in tax every year and the school saves the exchequer a cool £2,820,000 by educating the 320 pupils in the school at parents’ expense rather than the tax payer.

ISC also surveys the independent sector every year and I can report that Thorpe Hall fees currently stand some 16% lower than the East Anglian average and 21.5% lower than the national average for fees charged by day schools.

If those aren’t reasons to be proud then I don’t know what are.