25 Key Education Statistics for the UK [Updated in 2024]

When it comes to education systems in Europe, UK students hold fifth place in average scores, outperformed only by students in Ireland, Poland, Finland, and Estonia.

What’s more:

Education statistics in the UK show some improvement in the rankings, as the UK scored higher than Germany for the first time in 2018

That being said:

With only 4.6% of GDP allocated to education, the average spending on state schools could definitely use a boost, as the gap between private and public schools is as constant and detrimental as it ever was.

Let’s see what the stats have to say about the current state of the field.

Fascinating Education Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • There are over 10 million pupils in the United Kingdom.
  • There were 506,400 full-time teachers in the UK in 2019.
  • There are 40% more female than male teachers in British schools
  • Young women are 36% more likely to go to university than young men.
  • The average spending per student in a private primary school is £12,200 a year and £4,800 in a state-funded one.
  • The student-teacher ratio in the UK is 16:4.
  • There are 142 universities and 381 FE colleges in the UK.

General UK Education Statistics

1. There were 32,028 schools in the UK in the 2019/2020 academic year. 


How many schools are there in the UK

The total number of schools in the UK in 2019/2020 was 32,028 according to Department for Education statistics. Most of these schools were nursery and primary level. There were 29,624 maintained schools in 2020.

2. How many primary schools in England are there? 

(Besa, DfE, Gov.uk)

The number of primary schools in the UK is 20,807 while the number of secondary schools in the UK is 4,190.

Out of those, 16,784 primary schools are in England. 

In fact, most of the schools in the United Kingdom are located in England. Out of the total of 24,360 schools in England, 389 are nurseries, 3,456 are secondary schools, and there are 16,784 primaries.

There are 2,331 independent schools. The number of schools classified as special schools was 1,342.

3. How many schools in Wales are there? 

( Gov.uk)

The total number of schools in Wales is 1,480. Out of those, 9 are nursery schools, 1,225 are primary schools, 22 are middle schools, and 183 are secondary schools.

Additionally, there were 75 independent schools in 2019 and no new data is available while the number of special schools stayed the same at 41.

4. How many schools in Scotland are there?


There are 5,052 schools in Scotland, including 2,576 early learning centres, 2,004 primary schools, 358 secondary schools, and 134 special schools.

5. How many schools in Northern Ireland are there? 


Looking at Northern Ireland, there are 1,136 schools in total. Out of those, 95 are nursery schools, 794 are primary schools, and 193 are secondary schools.

There were 14 independent schools and 39 special schools in 2020, the same as in 2018.

6. How many schools in London?

(London Education Report)

Looking at London alone, there are over 3,000 schools. As much as 92% of state schools are marked as good/outstanding. The number of students in schools that are marked less than good is 97,000.

57% of London students are meeting or exceeding the reading, writing, and maths standards, performing above the national average of 52%.

7. The majority of Multi-Academy Trusts in England have under five schools.


There were 1,170 Multi-Academy Trusts in England that had at least two schools, with the largest number of MATs having five or less,  598 of them.

On the higher end, 29 of them have above 26 schools, 85 are in the 12-25  range, and 259 are in the range between 6-11 schools.

education staTistics uk

8. There are over 10 million students in the United Kingdom.

(DfE, Besa)

The total number of students in the UK in the school year 2018/19, full or part-time, was 10,320,811.

Out of those, 8,819,765 live in England, 468,838 live in Wales, 693,251 in Scotland, and 338,957 are residents of Northern Ireland.

9. There were 548,078 teachers in the UK in 2019/20

(DfE, Statista, Gov.uk )

The number of teachers in the UK in 2018/19 was 506,400, looking at those employed full-time, and it went up to 548,078 in 2020.

Out of those, 216,500 teachers worked in primary schools and 208,300 in secondary schools.

Independent schools employed 61,500 teachers, and 16,700 teachers were the employees of special schools.


We saw a decrease of 1344 for full-time teachers from 2016/17, a drop of 0.3%. This trend has been happening in the primary, nursery, and secondary schools, while non-maintained and special schools are witnessing a rise in full-time teachers, 2% and 1.6%, respectively. 

The rise to 548,078 in 2020 reflects the increased need for teachers in special schools as numbers in other categories remained mainly the same as in 2018.

10. There is 40% more female than male teachers in UK schools.


The historical gender gap in education in the UK is still very much evident, as gender and education statistics for the UK tell us.

Here’s the thing:

Only 30.5% of all teachers are male, while the remaining 69.5% are female. The numbers are even higher looking at the primary school level, where this number is a staggering 82.4% in favour of the female teachers.

11. The student-teacher ratio in the UK is around 16:4.

(DfE, Besa, Gov.UK)

The student-teacher ratio in 2020 in maintained schools is 13.6 in Scotland, 18.2 in England, 19.3 in Wales and 18.3 in Northern Ireland.

Reported to be one of the highest in Europe, the student-teacher ratio in the United Kingdom rose from 16:2 in 2016/17 to 16:4 in 2018/2019.

Alarmingly, a rise to 20:6 in the ratio in 2017/18 from 20:3 in 2016/17 was seen in primary schools, while secondary schools went from 15:3 to 15:6 during that same year.

In England, the recorded ratio went slightly up from 16:2 to 16:4, which is the same as the national average. The corresponding figures in Northern Ireland went from 17:8 to 17:9 in and dropped in Scotland from 14:0 to 13:9.

The student-teacher ratio in Wales stayed the same, 18:4

The average secondary school size in the UK stood at 948 students in 2018

Primary schools had 281 students on average, while special schools had 114.

12. The average primary school budget is £1,048,000.


The budget for primary schools on average was £1,048,000 in 2016/17, which was a 1.6% rise from the year before. Secondary schools had an average budget of £4,617,000, noticing a 0.7% rise from the previous year.

13. The average spending on school resources was £41,780 per primary school in 2017, education statistics UK reveal.

(Besa, IFS)

Spending on school resources in primary schools was £41,780 on average in 2017, a cut of  3.5% compared to the previous year. 

Meanwhile, secondary schools spent £172,560 on average, seeing a 5.7% drop compared to the year before.

In 2020 overall school spending per pupil in England fell by 9% since 2010 which is the largest cut over the past 40 years. 

The school spending per pupil in 2022–23 is expected to rise but not go over the 2009–10 spending.

14. There are 142 universities and 381 Further Education colleges in the UK.

(Besa, DfE)

The total number of universities in the United Kingdom is 142. Out of those, 117 are located in England, 15 in Scotland, 8 in Wales, and 2 in Northern Ireland.

The number of further education colleges is 381, with 94 of them being sixth-form colleges. Out of the total number, 335 are in England, 27 in Scotland, 13 in Wales, and 6 in Northern Ireland. 

15. Business and administrative studies are the most popular in HE, with 293,000 full-time students in 2018.

(DfE, Gov.UK)

There was a total of 2,566,742 students in higher education in 2020, a decrease of 0.6% compared to 2017/18.

When it comes to what students choose as the most popular subject in higher education, Business & Administrative Studies were way ahead with 293,000 full-time students back in 2018.

DFE publications tell us a rise in entries to science subjects had been recorded in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Scotland has seen a change in language entries, with more students picking up Gaelic classes, while French and German entries reported a decline.

At the same time, Wales and Northern Ireland have reported a decrease in French and Spanish classes.

England marks the highest rise in computing classes, and Northern Ireland reports that subject to have the second-highest rise in A levels, even if the overall IT classes are seeing a decline on average in the UK.

16. The average educational attainment in the UK shows a score of 44.6. per student. 

(DfE, Gov.UK)

In 2020, 44% of the population reported their highest qualification as NQF level 4 or above. 64% had NQF level 3+  and 82% level 2+.

Educational attainment in the UK statistics report up to 70.3% of students in the final year of compulsory schooling had 5 or more GCSE passes at grade A*-C, English and maths at NQF Level 2 included. In England in the year 2015/16, that number was 67.9%.

DFE data shows that up to 61.2% of those who left school after the 2016/17 academic year was over had at least one qualification at SCQF Level 6 or higher. It marks a slight drop from 61.7% in 2015/16.

There are differences in qualifications and methodology in all the countries, so comparisons are not precise or advisable. 

17. Young women are 36% more likely to go to university than young men, education statistics UK confirm.

(The Guardian)

When it comes to gender, women have better performance and scores than men in all categories. 

What’s more:

The gap widens the higher up one looks at education levels. This trend goes hand in hand with the difference in numbers, as female students outnumber males in higher education levels.

Observing the gender gap in education, school statistics the UK show 27.3% of boys finishing school are expected to enrol in colleges, while that number is 37.1% for girls.

The difference is exceptionally prominent in nursing courses, where only 1 out of 28 students is male.

18. UK higher education statistics report there were  2,566,742 million students in HE in 2020 in the United Kingdom

(DfE, Independent, Gov.UK)

The number represents a 0.6% drop from 2018/2019.

Department for education statistics shows two-thirds of those students were working on their first degrees. Those on masters studies were one in five, one in twenty were doing a PhD, and one in eight were in the rest of the undergraduate courses in 2018.

Interestingly, one of the school facts is that the only place where the gender gap favours men is PhD studies, where 52% of students are male.

19. Up to 11.1% of young people aged 16 to 24 were not in education, employment, or training in the UK in 2020.

(DfE, Gov.UK)

This represents a 0.2 decrease from 2018/2019.

UK education statistics note that the rate has remained the same over the years, but there was a shift looking at gender. DFE statistics show the number of men not in education, training, or employment saw a decrease of 0.9%, while the number of women rose by 1%.

20. Free schools get 60% more funding per student than local authority schools.

(The Guardian)

Primary school statistics show the average spending on one student in a private primary school is £12,200 a year, while for a state-funded one it is £4,800. And free schools still get 60% more than local authority schools. 

That fact allows but a glimpse at the world of inequality in the education system, but looking at the history of education in the UK is a topic on its own.

And that’s not all:

School statistics show students receiving pupil premium and school meals are 27% less likely to have more than five GCSEs at grades A* to C in all subjects, including English and mathematics.

According to the working-class education statistics, around 20% of working-class and minority children are being taught in schools with large numbers of other disadvantaged and/or disabled students, receiving less funding and lower quality of staff.

Social class and education statistics in the UK show about 6% of all children in Britain attend private schools. And while children coming from all income levels can be found in the private education sector, the majority come from high earning households.

21. White students had the smallest increase in HE entry rates, from 21.8% to 32.6%


Education statistics UK ethnicity data shows that all ethnic groups had higher entry rates than the year before. 

According to education statistics UK 2020:

  • 71.7% of Chinese ethnic group students got a higher education place 
  • 47.5% of Balck students got a HE place, an increase of 21.6% from 2006 when the stats started being collected
  • 32.6% of White got a higher education place

22. In May 2021 the education minister urged the government for masks to stay compulsory in schools.

(Source: Gov.UK ONS, The Guardian)

In January 2021 up to 99% of state-funded schools were open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers. According to education data in May 2020, around 80% of schools were open.

In March 2021 while the UK education system is making efforts to go back to normal and the schools reopened, around 0.34% of secondary school children tested positive. The rate of infection among the secondary school staff was 0.19%, observed in schools from 14 local authorities.

23. 23% of students got tested for Covid 19 in observing one week periods in March 2021.

(Source: ONS)

Out of the tested students, up to 73% say they used the LFD rapid result test.

24. 63% of students reported worsening of their mental health in March 2021.

(Source: ONS)

Change in perceived wellbeing and mental health represents a 3% drop from February when 67% reported struggling with mental health issues.

Loneliness levels are significantly higher than in the adult population, 29% compared to 7%.

25. In the spring of 2021, the life satisfaction score among British students is 5.2

(Source: ONS)

Education statistics UK 2021 show that student life satisfaction levels are lower than the general population satisfaction at 5.2 compared to 6.8 out of 10 in adults.

Still, facts about educations show the mood is improving among students since the previous survey in February when it was 4.9 and returning to the same score of 5.2 as in November 2020. 

People Also Ask

What is the average education level in the UK?

The education rate in the UK shows that 35% of all people aged 25-64 have a degree. With the qualifications and methodologies varying from country to country, the overall education levels are sometimes hard to determine.

The pass rate of students in 2017 was 66.6%. The proportion of GCSE entries awarded a high pass grade of A/7 was 20% in 2017. Consistently, girls have had a higher pass rate for the last 20 years.

How many schools are there in the UK?

According to the Department for Education statistics, there were 32,028 schools in the United Kingdom in 2019/20.

How many schools are there in England?

There were 24,360  schools in England in 2019/20.

How many school pupils are there in the UK?

There were 10,320,811 students enrolled in schools across the UK in 2018/19, in 2019/2020 that number grew to 10,495,299.

Education statistics UK 2019 show the number of pupils in 2019 in England was 8,819,765 and it went up to 8,890,357 in 2020. Compared to 468,838 in Wales, 693,251 in Scotland, and 338,957 in Northern Ireland in 2019, Wales had 469,176 students in 2020, Scotland 794,364 and Northern Ireland 341,402.

How many teachers are there in the UK?

In the last school year 2018/19, there were 506,400 teachers working full-time in the United Kingdom in 2019/2020 there were 548,078 full-time teachers. 264,804 of them were working in primary schools, 247,378 in secondary schools.


The biggest challenge the education statistics in the UK reveal is definitely the differences in classification and methodology in different areas of the United Kingdom. The lack of unified scales across the board makes a direct comparison of student performance quite challenging. 

That being said:

The biggest disparities are in funding and providing equal chances for all classes of students, even in state schools.






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