Determinants of private school participation: all about the money?

11th November 2019 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Jake Anders, UCL Institute of Education

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room B

Convener: Steve Strand

Seminar Abstract


For those who grew up in Britain in the latter half of the 20th century, there is known to be a strong association between social class or family income and attending a private school. However, increasing private school fees and promotion of school choice in the state sector have potential implications for the predictors of participation in private schooling in the 21st century.

In this paper, through analysis of rich, longitudinal data from a recent, representative birth cohort study, new evidence is provided on this issue. Given the high and rising fees required to send a child to private school, one might think that the decision is entirely connected with financial resources. However, while these remain an important factor, it can be argued that other determinants are also important. This paper highlights the importance of parental values and geographical proximity to high-quality state school alternatives: a one standard deviation increase in levels of parental traditional values is associated with 2.5 percentage point higher probability of their child attending a private school, while each minute of additional travel time to the nearest state school judged ‘Outstanding’ by England’s schools inspectorate is associated with a 0.2 percentage point higher probability of attending a private school. It also examines the characteristics of those who ‘mix and match’ state and private schooling, noting their similarity to private school attendees in terms of their values but lower levels of financial resources.


About the speaker


Dr Jake Anders is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Education Improvement Science, UCL.



In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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