In the United Kingdom, an independent school (also referred to as a private school, and in certain cases a public school) is a school which is funded by private sources, predominantly in the form of tuition charges, gifts and long-term charitable endowments, and is not subject to the conditions imposed by accepting state financing. There are around 2,500 independent schools in the UK, which educate around 615,000 children (just over 7% of all British children, Approximately 7% of school children in England attend privately run independent schools, commonly called "private schools", whilst private sixth forms are attended by around 18% of students. Independent schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum, and their teachers are not required or regulated by law to have official teaching qualifications. Education at independent schools is usually chargeable. Such schools, some of which are boarding schools, cover primary and/or secondary education and charge between £2,500 and £30,000 per year. Some schools offer scholarships for those with particular skills or aptitudes, or bursaries to allow students from less financially well-off families to attend. Some independent schools are particularly old, such as The King's School, Canterbury (founded 597), St Peter's School, York (founded c.627). These schools were founded as part of the church and were under their complete dominion. In 2009 senior boarding schools were charging fees of between £16,000 and nearly £30,000 per annum. Under a number of forward-looking headmasters leading public schools created a curriculum based heavily on classics and physical activity for boys and young men of the upper and upper middle classes. They were schools for the gentlemanly elite of Victorian politics, armed forces and colonial government. Often successful businessmen would send their sons to a public school as a mark of participation in the elite. Much of the discipline was in the hands of senior pupils (usually known as prefects), which was not just a means to reduce staffing costs, but was also seen as vital preparation for those pupils' later roles in public or military service.
REASONS TO CHOOSE AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL
School choice. Within the state sector parents are free to express a preference but they do not have the same degree of freedom to choose and to shop-around as those paying fees. Private schools claim to offer something for everyone and many offer an awful lot. High academic standards. Despite progress in the state sector, independent schools still dominate academic league tables and entry to top universities. While a handful of independent schools are super-selective, academic hot-houses, a good many are not. Indeed country schools often actively recruit and will accept a wide-range of abilities - viewing every bum on a seat as a bursar off their back. Yet there is an undoubted element of 'silk-purse from sows ear'...Many schools that typically take very average students, eek out every last drop of potential with resultant remarkable value-added. Fewer pupils per class. Greater individual attention, better, faster and more targeted progress. Discipline and pastoral care are better too. Problem children are less likely to be tolerated; 'independent' means schools can decide who enters, who exits and when! Extensive extra curricula activities. Many offer a fantastic range of extra-curricular activities; from the exciting to the erudite, dance to diving...And if that's not enough the associated curriculum trips, cultural expeditions and sports/ music tours can be pretty spectacular too! Sport for all is encouraged. Most offer a range to ensure something for everyone. Netball, lacrosse and rugby may be de-rigueur but sailing, shooting, climbing, caving, mountain-biking, golf and squash are just some of the off-piste offerings. Some are spectacular. Harry Potter eat your heart out; many of the great and grand have...