Are your numbers up or down for your region?

Are your numbers up or down for your region? featured image
30 June 2020

As a research company specialising in Education, the MTM team wait with bated breath for the release of roll trend data from the Department of Education each year.

The Independent School Council census in April provides a reasonable insight, but only includes data from its member schools, whereas the Department of Education data includes all schools in England, allowing for more accurate conclusions.

Age groups data

Considering comparisons from 2018 to 2020 (395 independent schools were unable to complete the 2019 census) we can see that the numbers of children in all schools is up from 8,735,098 in 2018 to 8,885,104 in 2020 (1.7% increase), with numbers in independent schools growing by 0.7% from 571,726 to 575,637. 

However, the pattern of this growth is not apparent across all age groups and follows the peaks and troughs in birth rates over the past few 20 years.

Numbers of 3-10 year olds enrolled at independent schools is down by 2.6% from 238,254 in 2018 to 231,958 in 2020, whilst 11-15 year olds have increased by 5.6% from 229,724 in 2018 to 242,680 in 2020. Sixth Forms (16-17 year olds) are also down by 0.9%, from 81,385 in 2018 to 80,638 in 2020.

Geographical trends

Regionally, the North West shows the highest level of growth with independent school numbers up by 4.0%, driven by a 9.5% increase in 11-15 year olds since 2018. Similarly, the North East shows an 8.1% increase at this age, although contractions elsewhere bring the overall growth to 1.5%. For reference, numbers in London are up 1.1% in 2018 and the South East just 0.3%.

Why is School Roll Trend Data important?

Comparing numbers data with that of competitors allows schools to evaluate their performance and whether or not the enrolment trends they’re experiencing are localised or market-wide. 

For example, if your admissions numbers are down, then roll trend data can help determine if numbers are down for all schools in the area, or if not, which schools are performing better as a result of your decrease. Likewise, it can help you recognise if there is a problem with your product or admissions strategy.

Roll trend data also allows you to evaluate your competitors more carefully. Are there competitors in the area that are growing where others aren’t? How are they achieving this? Where are their new students coming from? How are they attracting them?

Lastly, if your contraction is the result of a wider market change, then your school may need to reevaluate costs or staffing structures.

Want to know more?

Want to find out the state of the local and national independent school market? MTM is offering bespoke roll trend reports for just £995 inc. VAT which will show how your school compares to your competition, plus shifts in the regional and national markets. 

As with all our market insight reports, we’ll provide detailed analysis and present the report in a clear, simple and easy-to-understand manner, so that it can be utilised by departments throughout the school.

To take advantage of the latest data, please get in touch today for an informal chat on 01502 722787 or email us at

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