Private schools in the UK have had their most “worst period” due to the Covid-19 pandemic since World War II, with the number of privately educated children falling for the first time in a decade, a new survey has revealed.

The annual survey for 2021 issued on Wednesday by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), a non-profit lobby group that represents more than 1,300 schools in the UK’s independent education sector, said that a decrease in boarders from overseas was partly to blame, reports Xinhua news agency.

The number of boarders at ISC schools in 2021 fell by 8,905 to 65,345, or about 12 per cent, while the number of overseas boarders decreased by 17 per cent, from around 29,000 to about 24,000, said the survey.

“There is clear evidence of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, mostly noticeably in the significant fall in pupils from China.

“A downward trend is also noticeable in European countries, where the result of the UK leaving the European Union in 2020 may also be a factor,” said the report.

The total number of pupils in ISC schools stands at 532,237.

While this is down from 537,315 in 2020, it remains the third highest total in the history of the ISC.

–IANS

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