Key UK education statistics

How many schools are there in the UK?

  • There are currently 32,770 schools in the UK. Of these, 3,714 are nurseries or early-learning centres, 20,832 are primary schools, 19 are middle schools and 4,188 are secondary schools. There are 2,408 independent schools, 1,257 special schools and 352 pupil referral units (PRUs).
  • Most of the UK’s schools are in England. There are 24,323 schools in England – including 391 nurseries, 16,769 primary schools, 3,448 secondary schools, 2,319 independent schools, 1,044 special schools and 352 pupil referral units (PRUs).
  • There are 1,569 schools in Wales – including 9 nursery schools, 1,238 primary schools, 19 middle schools, 187 secondary schools, 75 independent schools and 41 special schools.
  • There are 5,046 schools in Scotland, including 2,544 early learning centres, 2,012 primary schools, 357 secondary schools and 133 special schools.
  • There are 1,832 schools in Northern Ireland, including 770 nursery schools, 813 primary schools, 196 secondary schools, 39 special schools and 14 independent schools.

Source: Department for Education; Welsh Government; Scottish Government; Northern Ireland Department of Education (2018/19)

Download the data tables, including a breakdown of numbers of pupils by age here (2017) – updated statistics will be released on 21 November 2019


How many Multi Academy Trusts are there?

  • There are currently 1,170 Multi Academy Trusts in England that manage at least two schools. 29 MATs have 26 or more schools, 85 have between 12-25 schools and 259 have 6-11 schools. The majority of MATs – 598– have five or fewer schools.

Source: The Education Company (2019) This report can be downloaded by BESA members here.

Find out more about BESA membership.


How many pupils are there in the UK?

  • There are currently 10,320,811 full and part time pupils at school in the UK. 8,819,765 in England, 468,838 in Wales, 693,251 in Scotland, 338,957 in Northern Ireland.

Source: Department for Education; Welsh Government; Scottish Government; Northern Ireland Department of Education (2018/19)

Download the data tables, including a breakdown of numbers of pupils by age here (2017) – updated statistics will be released on 21 November 2019


How many teachers are there in the UK?

  • There are currently 506,400 full-time teachers in the UK. 216,500 work in primary schools, 208,300 work in secondary schools, 61,500 work in independent schools and 16,700 work in special schools.
  • There are 425,200 teachers working in England, 22,000 teachers working in Wales, 43,500 teachers working in Scotland and 15,700 teachers working in Northern Ireland.
  • 30.5% of these teachers are male, and 69.5% are female. However, at primary school level, this rises to 82.4% female – a proportion that is steadily increasing.

Source: Department for Education; Welsh Government; Scottish Government; Northern Ireland Department of Education (2016/17)

Download the data tables, including a breakdown of numbers of pupils by age here. (2017) – updated statistics will be released on 21 November 2019


How big is a UK school’s budget?

  • The average primary school budget in 2016/17 is £1,048,000, a 1.6% increase on the previous year. The average secondary school budget in 2016/17 is £4,617,000, a 0.7% increase on the previous year.

Source: BESA/C3 Education (2017). This report can be downloaded by BESA members here.


How much is spent on resources each year?

  • The average primary school spent £41,780 on school resources (recurrent and capital) in 2016/17 a 3.5% decrease on the previous year. The average secondary school spent £172,560 on resources in 2016/17, a 5.7% decrease on the previous year.

Source: BESA/C3 Education (2017). This report, which includes a detailed breakdown on the areas of resources expenditure, can be downloaded by BESA members here.

Find more about BESA’s Resource our Schools campaign.


How many computers are there in UK classrooms?

  • In total there are 3,392,100 computers in UK classrooms in 2017. There are 1,543,700 in primary schools and 1,848,400 in secondary schools. The average primary school has 69.8 computers and the average secondary school has 430.7.

Source: BESA/C3 Education (2017). This report, which includes a detailed breakdown on types of devices and projections for 2018, can be downloaded by BESA members here.


How many FE institutions are there?

  • In total, there are 381 FE colleges in the UK, of which 94 are sixth-form colleges. 335 of these are in England, 13 in Wales, 27 in Scotland and 6 in Northern Ireland.

Source: Department for Education; Welsh Government; Scottish Funding Council; Northern Ireland Department for the Economy (2016/17)

Download the data tables hereupdated statistics will be released on 21 November 2019


How many universities are there?

  • In total, there are 142 universities in the UK. 117 of these are in England, 8 in Wales, 15 in Scotland and 2 in Northern Ireland.

Source: Department for Education; Welsh Government; Scottish Funding Council; Northern Ireland Department for the Economy (2016/17)

Download the data tables here updated statistics will be released on 21 November 2019


What are some of the best sources of data about schools in the UK? 

  1. DfE: Education and Training Statistics for the United Kingdom: 2017
  2. DfE: School workforce in England: November 2016
  3. DfE: local authority and school finance 2016
  4. BESA: Resources in English Maintained Schools 2017
  5. BESA: ICT in UK State Schools 2017
  6. The Key: State of Education Report 2017
  7. TES: Teacher Recruitment Index

Key sources:

GL Assessment

Education Policy Institute

National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)

Research at DfE

Schoolzone

Institute for Fiscal Studies

Professor John Howson’s blog


Last updated: 28 October 2019