Best Private Schools In The UK – The Complete Guide For 2023
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the best private schools in the UK. When it comes to providing a top-notch education, these schools have established themselves as beacons of excellence and innovation. From nurturing academic prowess to fostering personal development and providing a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, the private schools in the UK have a reputation for delivering exceptional educational experiences. Whether you’re seeking a prestigious institution with a rich history or a hidden gem that excels in specific areas, this guide will help you navigate the diverse landscape of private schools in the UK and find the perfect fit for your child’s educational journey.
Table of Contents
What is a Private School?
Private schools, also known as independent schools, are educational institutions that are not funded or maintained by the government. Instead, they are privately funded and operated. Private schools in the UK often charge tuition fees for students to attend, and they have more autonomy over their curriculum, admissions policies, and overall management compared to state-funded schools.
Private schools in the UK are considered to offer high-quality education and often have a reputation for providing excellent facilities, resources, and dedicated teaching staff. They are typically seen as providing a more exclusive and tailored educational experience compared to state-funded schools, and they may have a specific educational philosophy or approach to teaching.
Parents who choose private schools for their children often do so based on factors such as academic reputation, individual attention, specialised programmes, and the belief that private education offers unique opportunities and advantages for their child’s development and future prospects.
UK Private School Fees
Annual school fees for UK private schools range from £3,600 to £57,690. So if you’re wondering, here’s what you’re paying for:
- Age: Private school fees typically increase as students get older.
- Academic success: Some private schools in the UK have a much higher demand due to their academic track record, and thus have the ability to increase their fees.
- Facilities: Private schools in the UK do pay attention to non-academic pursuits such as sports and other activities. These facilities require high capital investment and maintenance, leading to an increase in fees.
- Pastoral care: While expensive fees do not automatically translate to the best of pastoral care, this remains one of the top priorities for many parents.
- Geography: Some locations in the UK are more expensive, while some are extremely populated. Schools in these areas tend to charge higher fees solely because of their geographical location.
Best Private Schools in the UK
1. Cardiff Sixth Form College
Cardiff Sixth Form College is simply the definition of academic excellence. In 2021, 98% of students received A*-A grades with 100% of students achieving A*-B grades. It is no surprise that they are consistently in the leaderboards over the past years. But beyond the books, check out the long list of events, clubs and societies the school has to offer!
2. King's College School (Wimbledon)
King’s College School offers both deep and broad curriculum that allows their students to grow in various directions. This has led to various awards and recognitions including The Sunday Times’ Top Boys or Co-ed School in London. This is a school with the highest levels of both ethical and academic principles, an environment most parents long for their children.
On top of the outstanding academic results, there is a great emphasis being placed on equality, diversity, and inclusivity. In addition, they are actively trying to minimise the ecological impact from school operations, educating staff and students to be as green as possible.
3. Guildford High School
Presenting The Sunday Time’s Independent School of the Decade, Guildford High School! This school has an environment where the students can feel safe and secure, where there is trust and kindness. This is where you can see them lead happy and fulfilling lives, feeling positive about their gifts and abilities. Beyond this, the Friends of Guildford High School (FoGHS) programme brings together parents and staff to organise events and raise not only funds, but smiles throughout the community.
4. Westminster School
With 98% 9-7 at GCSE and 92% A*/A at A level, need I say more? Well, Westminster School is much more than their academic success. There is an overwhelming choice of extracurricular opportunities. Aside from sports, music and art, teachers and students are also active in voluntary work to impact the lives of the society. Check out these videos to get an inside scoop of Westminster School.
5. King Edward VI High School for Girls
King Edward VI High School for Girls ranks first academically in The Sunday Times’ among private schools in the West Midlands. As one of the best in the country, the institution provides a rich and varied education that enables the girls to excel and thrive. But outside academics, there is a wide variety of extra-curricular activities such as sports, arts, music, educational trips, and much more.
UK Private Schools Ranking - League Table
|Ranking||School||A Level Result||Candidates||Fees||Location||Type|
|1||Cardiff Sixth Form College||94.7||157||£17,000.00||Cardiff||Boarding|
|2||King's College School (KCS)||93.8||137||£8,085.00||Greater London||Day|
|3||Guildford High School||92.9||91||£6,100.00||Surrey||Day|
|4||Oxford International College||92||121||£17,710.00||Oxfordshire||Boarding|
|5||Westminster School||90.7||189||£14,424.00||Greater London||Boarding|
|6||King Edward VI High School for Girls||90.6||92||£4,759.00||West Midlands||Day|
|9||Wycombe Abbey||89.6||207||£14,550.00||East Sussex||Boarding|
|10||Magdalen College School||87.3||166||£6,600.00||Oxfordshire||Day|
|11||Hampton School||86.1||194||£7,300.00||Greater London||Day|
|13||St John's College, Cardiff||82.2||37||£4,760.00||Cardiff||Day|
|14||Highgate School||81.9||181||£7,360.00||Greater London||Day|
|15||Dulwich College||81.8||251||£15,078.00||Greater London||Boarding|
|18||Queen Ethelburga's College||80.9||100||£14,012.00||North Yorkshire||Boarding|
|19||Royal Grammar School||80.9||129||£6,520.00||Surrey||Day|
|20||South Hampstead High School GDST||80.7||80||£6,690.00||Greater London||Day|
|21||Notting Hill and Ealing High School GDST||80.4||68||£6,593.00||Greater London||Day|
|22||St Michael's School||80.1||51||£8,925.00||Carmarthenshire||Boarding|
|23||Sheffield High School for Girls||79.4||59||£4,542.00||South Yorkshire||Day|
|24||Surbiton High School||79.2||109||£6,595.00||Surrey||Day|
|25||Reigate Grammar School||78.8||139||£6,875.00||Surrey||Day|
|27||Nottingham High School||78.5||109||£5,349.00||Nottinghamshire||Day|
|28||University College School, Hampstead||78.2||179||£7,297.00||Greater London||Day|
|29||St Mary's School Ascot||78.2||59||£14,260.00||Berkshire||Boarding|
|30||St Helen's School||78.1||74||£6,657.00||Greater London||Day|
|31||St Catherine's, Bramley||76.8||83||£10,955.00||Surrey||Boarding|
|32||St Albans School||76||156||£7,094.00||Hertfordshire||Day|
|33||Merchant Taylors' School||75.2||148||£7,427.00||Hertfordshire||Day|
|34||The National Mathematics and Science College||75||25||£15,300.00||Warwickshire||Boarding|
|36||Bradford Grammar School||73.4||94||£4,511.00||West Yorkshire||Day|
|37||King Edward's School||72.7||124||£5,165.00||Somerset||Day|
|38||The Abbey School||72.3||55||£6,295.00||Berkshire||Day|
|40||Leicester Grammar School||71.6||100||£4,710.00||Leicestershire||Day|
|41||The Grange School||71.2||84||£4,110.00||Cheshire||Day|
|42||The Cathedral School Llandaff||70.9||49||£4,671.00||Cardiff||Day|
|43||Royal Grammar School||70.7||129||£6,520.00||Tyne and Wear||Day|
|44||Colfe's School||70.6||92||£6,100.00||Greater London||Day|
|45||Hampton Court House||70.5||14||£6,965.00||Surrey||Day|
|46||Francis Holland School, Regent's Park||70.3||63||£7,150.00||Greater London||Day|
|47||Roedean School||70.1||62||£16,550.00||East Sussex||Boarding|
|49||Emanuel School||69.6||118||£6,715.00||Greater London||Day|
|50||Sir William Perkins's School||69.4||59||£5,837.00||Surrey||Day|
|51||Bedford Modern School||68.8||147||£4,814.00||Bedfordshire||Day|
|52||The Maynard School||68.8||41||£4,910.00||Devon||Day|
|53||Durham High School for Girls||68.5||23||£4,835.00||Durham||Day|
|54||Leicester High School for Girls||68.1||24||£4,340.00||Leicestershire||Day|
|56||Whitgift School||67||168||£13,850.00||Greater London||Boarding|
|57||The Manchester Grammar School||66.7||181||£4,460.00||Greater Manchester||Day|
|58||Alderley Edge School for Girls||66.2||23||£4,680.00||Cheshire||Day|
|59||Royal High School Bath, GDST||65.8||49||£11,193.00||Somerset||Boarding|
|61||St John's School||65.1||128||£10,455.00||Surrey||Boarding|
|63||St Peter's 13-18||65.1||122||£10,670.00||North Yorkshire||Boarding|
|65||Bromley High School GDST||64.4||54||£6,071.00||Greater London||Day|
|66||Bristol Grammar School||64||139||£5,159.00||Bristol||Day|
|70||Nottingham Girlsâ€™ High School GDST||62||65||£4,766.00||Nottinghamshire||Day|
|71||Yarm School||61.7||94||£4,691.00||North Yorkshire||Day|
|74||St George's College Weybridge||61.4||137||£7,250.00||Surrey||Day|
|77||Brighton Girls GDST||61||19||£5,111.00||East Sussex||Day|
|79||Claremont Fan Court School||60.5||53||£6,545.00||Surrey||Day|
|82||The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's||60||60||£14,012.00||North Yorkshire||Boarding|
|84||Ardingly College||59.4||90||£13,104.00||West Sussex||Boarding|
|85||The Grammar School at Leeds||59.4||199||£4,917.00||West Yorkshire||Day|
|86||The King's School, Canterbury||59.2||173||£13,285.00||Kent||Boarding|
|87||The Yehudi Menuhin School||59||17||£14,751.00||Surrey||Boarding|
|88||Stephen Perse Foundation||58.8||80||£13,950.00||Cambridgeshire||Boarding|
|89||Queen Elizabeth's Hospital||58.8||120||£5,100.00||Bristol||Day|
|91||Burgess Hill Girls||58||31||£12,250.00||West Sussex||Boarding|
|93||Loughborough High School||57.7||68||£4,735.00||Leicestershire||Day|
|94||Reading Blue Coat School||57||151||£6,013.00||Berkshire||Day|
|95||Stockport Grammar School||56.9||127||£4,041.00||Cheshire||Day|
|96||Wells Cathedral School||56.9||88||£11,404.00||Somerset||Boarding|
|97||Jersey College for Girls||56.5||91||£6,667.00||Channel Islands||Boarding|
|98||Dame Allan's Senior Schools||55.3||115||£4,852.00||Tyne and Wear||Day|
|99||Loughborough Grammar School||54.5||95||£11,820.00||Leicestershire||Boarding|
|100||Saint Felix School||54.2||24||£10,650.00||Suffolk||Boarding|
|101||St David's College||53.5||23||£12,755.00||Conwy||Boarding|
|103||New Hall School||52.9||116||£10,824.00||Essex||Boarding|
|106||Ashville College||52.3||60||£10,170.00||North Yorkshire||Boarding|
|107||Hymers College||51.8||114||£4,139.00||East Yorkshire||Day|
|109||The Leys School||51.3||99||£11,870.00||Cambridgeshire||Boarding|
|110||Thetford Grammar School||51.2||13||£4,668.00||Norfolk||Boarding|
|111||Hill House School||51.1||44||£4,870.00||South Yorkshire||Day|
|113||St Gabriel's School||50.8||22||£6,260.00||Berkshire||Day|
|114||King Henry VIII School||50.7||92||£4,220.00||West Midlands||Day|
|115||Battle Abbey School||50.3||56||£11,292.00||East Sussex||Boarding|
|116||The King's School||50||101||£4,530.00||Cheshire||Day|
|116||Newcastle School for Boys||50||28||£5,088.00||Tyne and Wear||Day|
|119||Bablake School||49.3||109||£4,220.00||West Midlands||Day|
|120||The Royal School Dungannon||48.8||81||£4,000.00||County Tyrone||Boarding|
|121||Abbey Gate College||48.8||27||£4,551.00||Cheshire||Day|
|122||Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation||48.7||54||£12,083.00||Durham||Boarding|
|123||Wolverhampton Grammar School||48.4||65||£4,785.00||West Midlands||Day|
|125||Shrewsbury High School GDST||47.5||44||£5,070.00||Shropshire||Day|
|126||St Margaret's School||47.3||29||£8,484.00||Hertfordshire||Boarding|
|127||The Ladies' College||46.9||50||£4,025.00||Channel Islands||Day|
|128||Mander Portman Woodward (MPW)||46.9||199||£11,023.00||Greater London||Day|
|131||Tring Park School for the Performing Arts||46||74||£12,535.00||Hertfordshire||Boarding|
|132||Clifton High School||45.8||40||£5,285.00||Bristol||Day|
|133||The Laurels School||45.7||11||£5,300.00||Greater London||Day|
|136||Denstone College and The Prep at Denstone College||44.6||94||£10,015.00||Staffordshire||Boarding|
|137||Hampstead Fine Arts College||44.5||71||£7,820.00||Greater London||Day|
|138||St George's School, Edinburgh||44.4||9||£10,552.00||Midlothian||Boarding|
|140||Talbot Heath School||44.1||38||£9,102.00||Dorset||Boarding|
|141||St Columba's College||43.9||62||£5,703.00||Hertfordshire||Day|
|142||The Edinburgh Academy||43.8||14||£5,114.00||Midlothian||Day|
|145||Victoria College||43.3||101||£2,240.00||Channel Islands||Day|
|148||Ryde School||42.8||51||£10,420.00||Isle of Wight||Boarding|
|149||Silcoates School||42.7||32||£4,875.00||West Yorkshire||Day|
|151||Cranford House School||42.3||24||£6,175.00||Oxfordshire||Day|
|152||Kirkham Grammar School||41.2||89||£8,080.00||Lancashire||Boarding|
|153||Lewes Old Grammar School||40.9||30||£5,017.00||East Sussex||Day|
|154||Loretto School||40.6||55||£11,900.00||East Lothian||Boarding|
|155||Lime House School||39.7||21||£10,600.00||Cumbria||Boarding|
|156||St James Senior Boys' School||39.7||42||£6,780.00||Surrey||Day|
|157||Cambridge Tutors College||39.4||24||£10,695.00||Surrey||Boarding|
|158||Elizabeth College||38.8||60||£4,324.00||Channel Islands||Day|
|159||Lichfield Cathedral School||38.8||27||£4,890.00||Staffordshire||Day|
|161||The Mount School York||37||17||£10,560.00||North Yorkshire||Boarding|
|162||St Edmund's School Canterbury||36.8||46||£12,846.00||Kent||Boarding|
|163||Oldham Hulme Grammar School||35.7||70||£3,995.00||Greater Manchester||Day|
|165||Ipswich High School||35.2||29||£12,127.00||Suffolk||Boarding|
|166||Blanchelande College||35.1||14||£3,780.00||Channel Islands||Day|
|167||Glenalmond College||34.4||61||£12,700.00||Perthshire and Kinross||Boarding|
|168||Kingham Hill School||34.2||37||£11,850.00||Oxfordshire||Boarding|
|169||Brockwood Park School and Inwoods Small School||33.3||10||£10,233.00||Hampshire||Boarding|
|171||The John Lyon School||32.2||78||£6,637.00||Greater London||Day|
|172||Mander Portman Woodward Birmingham||32.1||68||£7,722.00||West Midlands||Day|
|173||Our Lady of Sion School||31.6||13||£4,730.00||West Sussex||Day|
|173||Read School||31.6||10||£9,567.00||North Yorkshire||Boarding|
|175||Kensington Park School||31.3||42||£15,600.00||Greater London||Boarding|
|177||Hurst Lodge School||30||5||£8,400.00||Hampshire||Day|
|178||St Mary's College||29.8||54||£3,928.00||Merseyside||Day|
|179||Rochester Independent College||29.4||118||£12,417.00||Kent||Boarding|
|181||The Moat School||28.6||10||£12,728.00||Greater London||Day|
|182||St Edward's Preparatory School||28||25||£4,595.00||Gloucestershire||Day|
|184||Highclare School||27.9||22||£4,630.00||West Midlands||Day|
|186||Lincoln Minster School||26.5||40||£9,730.00||Lincolnshire||Boarding|
|187||St John's College||25.5||19||£9,975.00||Hampshire||Boarding|
|191||St Dominicâ€™s Grammar School, Brewood||17.1||12||£4,664.00||Staffordshire||Day|
|192||Abbey College in Malvern||16.7||2||£9,733.00||Worcestershire||Boarding|
|193||Elmhurst Ballet School||10||10||£8,992.00||West Midlands||Boarding|
How are the Rankings Measured?
This ranking is based on the percentage of GCSE/IGCSE entries awarded 9-7 or A* and A grades. However, it is important to note that these information are not freely available, and some schools may decide not to publish their results.
Frequently Asked Questions about UK Private Schools
Private schools in the UK are funded privately and operate independently, whereas state schools are funded and maintained by the government. Private schools often charge tuition fees, have more autonomy over their curriculum, and offer a wider range of extracurricular activities compared to state schools.
Private schools in the UK are often associated with high academic standards and a track record of excellent results. However, it is important to note that academic performance can vary between schools, and there are also many outstanding state schools in the UK.
Private school fees can vary significantly depending on the school, location, and age of the student. Tuition fees for private schools in the UK can range from several thousand pounds to tens of thousands of pounds per year.
Some private schools in the UK have religious affiliations, such as Church of England or Catholic schools. However, there are also many private schools that are non-denominational or follow different religious traditions, providing a diverse range of options for families.
Choosing the right private school involves considering factors such as academic reputation, location, facilities, extracurricular offerings, school culture, and personal fit for your child. It’s important to research and visit multiple schools, attend open days, and speak with staff and current students to make an informed decision.
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