Best Private Schools In The UK – The Complete Guide For 2023

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.

Private schools in UK

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

RankingSchoolA Level ResultCandidatesFeesLocationType
1Cardiff Sixth Form College94.7157£17,000.00CardiffBoarding
2King's College School (KCS)93.8137£8,085.00Greater LondonDay
3Guildford High School92.991£6,100.00SurreyDay
4Oxford International College92121£17,710.00OxfordshireBoarding
5Westminster School90.7189£14,424.00Greater LondonBoarding
6King Edward VI High School for Girls90.692£4,759.00West MidlandsDay
8Wycombe Abbey89.998£13,750.00BuckinghamshireBoarding
9Wycombe Abbey89.6207£14,550.00East SussexBoarding
10Magdalen College School87.3166£6,600.00OxfordshireDay
11Hampton School86.1194£7,300.00Greater LondonDay
13St John's College, Cardiff82.237£4,760.00CardiffDay
14Highgate School81.9181£7,360.00Greater LondonDay
15Dulwich College81.8251£15,078.00Greater LondonBoarding
16Concord College81.2186£15,833.00ShropshireBoarding
18Queen Ethelburga's College80.9100£14,012.00North YorkshireBoarding
19Royal Grammar School80.9129£6,520.00SurreyDay
20South Hampstead High School GDST80.780£6,690.00Greater LondonDay
21Notting Hill and Ealing High School GDST80.468£6,593.00Greater LondonDay
22St Michael's School80.151£8,925.00CarmarthenshireBoarding
23Sheffield High School for Girls79.459£4,542.00South YorkshireDay
24Surbiton High School79.2109£6,595.00SurreyDay
25Reigate Grammar School78.8139£6,875.00SurreyDay
26Rougemont School78.633£4,818.00NewportDay
27Nottingham High School78.5109£5,349.00NottinghamshireDay
28University College School, Hampstead78.2179£7,297.00Greater LondonDay
29St Mary's School Ascot78.259£14,260.00BerkshireBoarding
30St Helen's School78.174£6,657.00Greater LondonDay
31St Catherine's, Bramley76.883£10,955.00SurreyBoarding
32St Albans School76156£7,094.00HertfordshireDay
33Merchant Taylors' School75.2148£7,427.00HertfordshireDay
34The National Mathematics and Science College7525£15,300.00WarwickshireBoarding
35Badminton School73.745£11,565.00BristolBoarding
36Bradford Grammar School73.494£4,511.00West YorkshireDay
37King Edward's School72.7124£5,165.00SomersetDay
38The Abbey School72.355£6,295.00BerkshireDay
39Churcher's College72150£5,480.00HampshireDay
40Leicester Grammar School71.6100£4,710.00LeicestershireDay
41The Grange School71.284£4,110.00CheshireDay
42The Cathedral School Llandaff70.949£4,671.00CardiffDay
43Royal Grammar School70.7129£6,520.00Tyne and WearDay
44Colfe's School70.692£6,100.00Greater LondonDay
45Hampton Court House70.514£6,965.00SurreyDay
46Francis Holland School, Regent's Park70.363£7,150.00Greater LondonDay
47Roedean School70.162£16,550.00East SussexBoarding
48Farnborough Hill69.835£5,253.00HampshireDay
49Emanuel School69.6118£6,715.00Greater LondonDay
50Sir William Perkins's School69.459£5,837.00SurreyDay
51Bedford Modern School68.8147£4,814.00BedfordshireDay
52The Maynard School68.841£4,910.00DevonDay
53Durham High School for Girls68.523£4,835.00DurhamDay
54Leicester High School for Girls68.124£4,340.00LeicestershireDay
55Oundle School67.1185£13,105.00NorthamptonshireBoarding
56Whitgift School67168£13,850.00Greater LondonBoarding
57The Manchester Grammar School66.7181£4,460.00Greater ManchesterDay
58Alderley Edge School for Girls66.223£4,680.00CheshireDay
59Royal High School Bath, GDST65.849£11,193.00SomersetBoarding
60Norwich School65.6150£5,990.00NorfolkDay
61St John's School65.1128£10,455.00SurreyBoarding
62Hurtwood House65.1167£15,171.00SurreyBoarding
63St Peter's 13-1865.1122£10,670.00North YorkshireBoarding
65Bromley High School GDST64.454£6,071.00Greater LondonDay
66Bristol Grammar School64139£5,159.00BristolDay
67Exeter School63.5102£4,900.00DevonDay
68Chigwell School63.285£10,995.00EssexBoarding
70Nottingham Girls’ High School GDST6265£4,766.00NottinghamshireDay
71Yarm School61.794£4,691.00North YorkshireDay
72Epsom College61.5168£13,493.00SurreyBoarding
74St George's College Weybridge61.4137£7,250.00SurreyDay
75Walthamstow Hall61.255£7,070.00KentDay
76Immanuel College61.160£6,615.00HertfordshireDay
77Brighton Girls GDST6119£5,111.00East SussexDay
78Newcastle-under-Lyme School60.771£4,482.00StaffordshireDay
79Claremont Fan Court School60.553£6,545.00SurreyDay
81Ruthin School60.363£12,900.00DenbighshireBoarding
82The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's6060£14,012.00North YorkshireBoarding
84Ardingly College59.490£13,104.00West SussexBoarding
85The Grammar School at Leeds59.4199£4,917.00West YorkshireDay
86The King's School, Canterbury59.2173£13,285.00KentBoarding
87The Yehudi Menuhin School5917£14,751.00SurreyBoarding
88Stephen Perse Foundation58.880£13,950.00CambridgeshireBoarding
89Queen Elizabeth's Hospital58.8120£5,100.00BristolDay
90Shrewsbury School58.2174£13,305.00ShropshireBoarding
91Burgess Hill Girls5831£12,250.00West SussexBoarding
92Ipswich School57.8126£11,419.00SuffolkBoarding
93Loughborough High School57.768£4,735.00LeicestershireDay
94Reading Blue Coat School57151£6,013.00BerkshireDay
95Stockport Grammar School56.9127£4,041.00CheshireDay
96Wells Cathedral School56.988£11,404.00SomersetBoarding
97Jersey College for Girls56.591£6,667.00Channel IslandsBoarding
98Dame Allan's Senior Schools55.3115£4,852.00Tyne and WearDay
99Loughborough Grammar School54.595£11,820.00LeicestershireBoarding
100Saint Felix School54.224£10,650.00SuffolkBoarding
101St David's College53.523£12,755.00ConwyBoarding
102Lingfield College53.470£5,940.00SurreyDay
103New Hall School52.9116£10,824.00EssexBoarding
104Bedford School52.4116£11,810.00BedfordshireBoarding
105Cheltenham College52.4149£13,520.00GloucestershireBoarding
106Ashville College52.360£10,170.00North YorkshireBoarding
107Hymers College51.8114£4,139.00East YorkshireDay
108RGS Worcester51.4112£4,726.00WorcestershireDay
109The Leys School51.399£11,870.00CambridgeshireBoarding
110Thetford Grammar School51.213£4,668.00NorfolkBoarding
111Hill House School51.144£4,870.00South YorkshireDay
112Oakham School50.8137£12,600.00RutlandBoarding
113St Gabriel's School50.822£6,260.00BerkshireDay
114King Henry VIII School50.792£4,220.00West MidlandsDay
115Battle Abbey School50.356£11,292.00East SussexBoarding
116The King's School50101£4,530.00CheshireDay
116Newcastle School for Boys5028£5,088.00Tyne and WearDay
119Bablake School49.3109£4,220.00West MidlandsDay
120The Royal School Dungannon48.881£4,000.00County TyroneBoarding
121Abbey Gate College48.827£4,551.00CheshireDay
122Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation48.754£12,083.00DurhamBoarding
123Wolverhampton Grammar School48.465£4,785.00West MidlandsDay
124Cokethorpe School47.859£6,950.00OxfordshireDay
125Shrewsbury High School GDST47.544£5,070.00ShropshireDay
126St Margaret's School47.329£8,484.00HertfordshireBoarding
127The Ladies' College46.950£4,025.00Channel IslandsDay
128Mander Portman Woodward (MPW)46.9199£11,023.00Greater LondonDay
129Westholme School46.319£4,020.00LancashireDay
130Oswestry School46.230£11,475.00ShropshireBoarding
131Tring Park School for the Performing Arts4674£12,535.00HertfordshireBoarding
132Clifton High School45.840£5,285.00BristolDay
133The Laurels School45.711£5,300.00Greater LondonDay
134Felsted School45.6101£13,055.00EssexBoarding
135Christ College45.156£11,473.00PowysBoarding
136Denstone College and The Prep at Denstone College44.694£10,015.00StaffordshireBoarding
137Hampstead Fine Arts College44.571£7,820.00Greater LondonDay
138St George's School, Edinburgh44.49£10,552.00MidlothianBoarding
139Salesian College44.349£4,206.00HampshireDay
140Talbot Heath School44.138£9,102.00DorsetBoarding
141St Columba's College43.962£5,703.00HertfordshireDay
142The Edinburgh Academy43.814£5,114.00MidlothianDay
142Alton School43.816£5,565.00HampshireDay
144Mount Kelly43.555£11,370.00DevonBoarding
145Victoria College43.3101£2,240.00Channel IslandsDay
146AKS Lytham43.244£4,336.00LancashireDay
147Kimbolton School43.2104£9,265.00CambridgeshireBoarding
148Ryde School42.851£10,420.00Isle of WightBoarding
149Silcoates School42.732£4,875.00West YorkshireDay
150Rendcomb College42.431£13,200.00GloucestershireBoarding
151Cranford House School42.324£6,175.00OxfordshireDay
152Kirkham Grammar School41.289£8,080.00LancashireBoarding
153Lewes Old Grammar School40.930£5,017.00East SussexDay
154Loretto School40.655£11,900.00East LothianBoarding
155Lime House School39.721£10,600.00CumbriaBoarding
156St James Senior Boys' School39.742£6,780.00SurreyDay
157Cambridge Tutors College39.424£10,695.00SurreyBoarding
158Elizabeth College38.860£4,324.00Channel IslandsDay
159Lichfield Cathedral School38.827£4,890.00StaffordshireDay
160Wychwood School38.711£10,700.00OxfordshireBoarding
161The Mount School York3717£10,560.00North YorkshireBoarding
162St Edmund's School Canterbury36.846£12,846.00KentBoarding
163Oldham Hulme Grammar School35.770£3,995.00Greater ManchesterDay
164Bath Academy35.526£10,667.00SomersetBoarding
165Ipswich High School35.229£12,127.00SuffolkBoarding
166Blanchelande College35.114£3,780.00Channel IslandsDay
167Glenalmond College34.461£12,700.00Perthshire and KinrossBoarding
168Kingham Hill School34.237£11,850.00OxfordshireBoarding
169Brockwood Park School and Inwoods Small School33.310£10,233.00HampshireBoarding
169The Hammond33.316£9,375.00CheshireBoarding
171The John Lyon School32.278£6,637.00Greater LondonDay
172Mander Portman Woodward Birmingham32.168£7,722.00West MidlandsDay
173Our Lady of Sion School31.613£4,730.00West SussexDay
173Read School31.610£9,567.00North YorkshireBoarding
175Kensington Park School31.342£15,600.00Greater LondonBoarding
177Hurst Lodge School305£8,400.00HampshireDay
178St Mary's College29.854£3,928.00MerseysideDay
179Rochester Independent College29.4118£12,417.00KentBoarding
180Trinity School29.211£10,495.00DevonBoarding
181The Moat School28.610£12,728.00Greater LondonDay
182St Edward's Preparatory School2825£4,595.00GloucestershireDay
182Claires Court2852£6,030.00BerkshireDay
184Highclare School27.922£4,630.00West MidlandsDay
184Stover School27.921£9,625.00DevonBoarding
186Lincoln Minster School26.540£9,730.00LincolnshireBoarding
187St John's College25.519£9,975.00HampshireBoarding
188Sherrardswood School2530£5,750.00HertfordshireDay
189Beechwood School2320£10,200.00KentBoarding
190Stoke College22.23£10,750.00SuffolkBoarding
191St Dominic’s Grammar School, Brewood17.112£4,664.00StaffordshireDay
192Abbey College in Malvern16.72£9,733.00WorcestershireBoarding
193Elmhurst Ballet School1010£8,992.00West MidlandsBoarding
194Sackville School2.914£5,740.00KentDay

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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