This new analysis shows that, while some private schools do a good job of educating children and young people, many do not. Given the Government’s commitment to forcing the private sector to become more involved in assisting state schools, it is somewhat alarming that the top state comprehensives seem to be delivering a better standard of education than the top private schools for a fraction of the cost. When the veil of impressive examination results and league table dominance of private schools is lifted, what you find underneath is an independent sector that contains a substantial number of poorly-performing institutions – including some schools that produce large numbers of top grades at A-level. For these schools to continue charging parents as much as £30,000 a year when the best data available shows that their progress scores place them in the bottom half of schools nationally is verging on scandalous.
It is hoped that the scrutiny provided by this paper shines a much-needed light on the performance of private schools, and in doing so prompts a serious discussion about whether state schools have anything to learn about high-quality teaching and learning from the independent sector.