The contribution of private schools to the UK’s scientific and economic wealth

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Private Wealth on Thursday, December 1st, 2022

In our Private Wealth Guide to Hertfordshire and Essex for 2022/23, we featured some of the UK’s best private schools for excellence in sport and the dramatic arts. One of the characteristics that sets independent schools apart from their state counterparts is the facilities available to the students who attend – and their provision for the sciences is no different.

Haileybury moves forwards with plans for ambitious science facilities  

In October 2022, Hertford’s Haileybury School, widely recognised as one of the UK’s top independent schools, announced plans for its ‘SciTech’ project, involving the construction of state-of-the-art science and technology facilities. As well as doubling the size of Haileybury’s already considerable science provision, the new buildings will also give the school’s students the opportunity to participate in ground-breaking scientific research.

In Schoolhouse Magazine’s rundown of the best secondary school science facilities, it’s clear that Haileybury is far from the only independent school excelling in the sciences. Bryanston School in Dorset’s physics department houses a wave tank and a wind tunnel, while Bedales School boasts its own observatory featuring a powerful Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

A vital contribution

By investing in state-of-the-art science facilities, schools like Haileybury are also ensuring that the UK remains a global scientific and economic powerhouse. In 2020 alone, the UK life sciences industry employed 268,000 people and generated a turnover of £88.9bn, while in 2019, the physics sector generated £229bn gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy, or 11% of the total gross domestic product (GDP).

The science of private wealth

As well as contributing to the country’s economic wealth, private schools with excellent science facilities are laying the groundwork for their students to build significant independent wealth later on in life.

According to recruitment site Indeed UK, people working in STEM-related jobs (i.e., in science, technology, engineering and mathematics) can command salaries well above the UK national average of £38,131. For example, surgeons are paid an average of £76,023, while the average salary for a nuclear engineer is £61,720. Senior biologists and software engineers can earn an average of £43,630 and £43,886, respectively. As these are average figures, many people working in these professions are likely to enjoy significantly higher salaries.

Many scientists have gone on to earn a great deal more, even topping the league tables as some of the world’s richest people. American James Watson, who is internationally renowned for his work in discovering the structure of DNA, is said to be worth $20 billion (c. £17.6 billion). Meanwhile, Sir James Dyson, famous for using the principle of cyclonic separation to invent the bagless vacuum cleaner, is said to be the UK’s second richest person. According to the Sunday Times 2022 Rich List, Dyson’s wealth increased by a staggering £6.7 billion to £23 billion in 2022. An alumnus of Gresham School, an independent boarding and day school in Norfolk, it’s clear that Dyson’s early education gave him an excellent head start on his way to building his scientific empire.

Read more in our Private Wealth Guide

To find out more about Hertfordshire and Essex’s fantastic educational establishments and thriving businesses, please click below to take a look at this year’s Private Wealth Guide. Professionally designed and packed with facts and figures, you’re sure to learn something new about the two counties where we’re so lucky to live and work.

Hertfordshire Private Wealth Guide

Essex Private Wealth Guide

You can also follow us on social media for more information using the hashtag #PrivateWealthGuide.

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