London School of Economics Centre for the Economics of Education LSE
Centre for the Economics of Education  (CEE)

The Economic Role of Independent Schools in Britain

[photo: Francis Green] Professor Francis Green, University of Kent and CEE Associate .
Tel: +44 (0)1227 827305
[photo: Stephen Machin] Professor Stephen Machin.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7443, +44(0)20 7504 5870 (UCL)
[photo: Richard Murphy] Mr Richard Murphy, CEE
Tel: +44(0)20 7852 3523
[photo: Yu Zhu] Dr. Yu Zhu, University of Kent.
Tel:+44(0)1227 827438

This ongoing project is investigating the role of the independent school sector in England, a topic with major implications for public policy and for understanding of social and economic mobility.

For public policy the main practical issue is the influence of the private sector on the supply of teachers to the state sector. In our paper 'Competition for Private and State School Teachers’ we find that the state sector is an especially important source of new teaching staff for independent schools which has been growing over the medium term. The data shows that independent school teachers are more likely than state school teachers to possess post-graduate qualifications, and to be specialists in shortage subjects. With regard to pay and working conditions we find independent school teachers work with fewer pupils, enjoy longer holidays and, in the case of women, shorter weekly hours. The level of job satisfaction over hours and the work itself was higher in private schools in the early to mid 1990s, but there is evidence of some convergence in job satisfaction since then. Additionally we observe a substantial pay premium for independent-school teachers trained in shortage subjects.

We then turn to the impact that independent schools have on individuals' academic and economic success {link to WP 1619 – ask Helen} and investigate the implications of this for social and economic mobility for those educated in and out of the independent sector. We outline the wide ranging institutional reforms that have occurred within the sector since the late 1960’s and the continuing rising of fees in real terms. We establish that the returns to private education have risen over time, with female students gaining more, most of the premium deriving from the academic records achieved at such institutions. The increasing returns and exclusivity of the sector is likely to have long lasting effects on mobility.

"Is it worth it?", Article from The Economist 28 February 2008

Uncorrected transcript of Oral Evidence given by Professor Francis Green, Professor of Economics, University of Kent, and Chris Parry CBE, Chief Executive, Independent Schools CouncilPatrick Derham, Headmaster, Rugby School, and Stephen Patriarca, Headmaster William Hulme’s Grammar School, Manchester,: uploaded on 8 May 2008

Related Discussion Papers:

Competition for private and state school teachers
Francis Green, Stephen Machin, Richard Murphy, Yu Zhu,  January 2008
Paper No' CEEDP0094: | Full paper (free) (pdf)