Top 10 Day Schools In The UK – The Complete Guide For 2024

Searching for the finest day schools in the UK? Look no further! Whether you’re seeking a primary school to lay a solid foundation or a secondary school to propel your child towards a successful future, our top 10 list encompasses a range of options to cater to various needs and preferences. Each school in this list offers a distinctive approach to education, ensuring that students receive a comprehensive and enriching learning experience. 

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Table of Contents

Top 10 Day Schools in the UK

1. Cardiff Sixth Form College

Cardiff Sixth Form College (CSFC) is a prestigious private institution located in Cardiff, Wales, known for its exceptional academic standards and focus on preparing students for top university admissions. Renowned for its rigorous A-level programmes in science, mathematics, and business, CSFC consistently ranks among the top-performing schools in the UK. With a commitment to academic excellence, the college boasts a track record of placing students in prestigious institutions worldwide, including those in the Russell Group and Ivy League. The college’s international student body contributes to a diverse and multicultural learning environment. 

2. The Cathedral School Llandaff

The Cathedral School Llandaff is a co-educational independent school located in Llandaff, a district in the western part of Cardiff, Wales. Established in 1880, the school has a strong historical and educational presence in the region. It caters to students from nursery through to sixth form, providing education in a range of subjects. The school has a connection with the nearby Llandaff Cathedral, and its ethos often incorporates values such as community and a commitment to academic and personal development. The curriculum encompasses a variety of subjects, and the school places importance on extracurricular activities and pastoral care. 

3. Highgate School

Highgate School, situated in London, is a renowned independent day school with a rich history dating back to 1565. Known for its academic rigour and commitment to holistic education, the school offers a wide range of subjects and a vibrant extracurricular programme. Highgate School places great importance on intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and character development. According to the Sunday Times’ 2021 School Guide, Highgate School won the coveted London Independent School of the Decade award! For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please refer to the school’s official website.

4. Guildford High School

Guildford High School is a prestigious all-girls day school situated in Guildford, Surrey. Founded in 1888, the school has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence and a supportive learning environment. Guildford High School offers a well-rounded education, combining rigorous academics with a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and community service.

The school’s commitment to empowering young women and fostering intellectual curiosity is evident in its strong track record of academic achievements and university placements. To obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information about Guildford High School, please visit their official website or consult one of our in-house consultants.

5. City of London School For Girls

City of London School for Girls is a highly regarded independent day school for girls situated in London. Opened in 1894, the school provides an outstanding education for able students from all backgrounds, cultures and faiths. With a strong focus on academic excellence, the school provides a stimulating and supportive environment for students to thrive. It offers a diverse curriculum, a wide range of extracurricular activities, and opportunities for personal growth and leadership development. For detailed and up-to-date information about City of London School for Girls, please refer to their official website.

6. James Allen's Girls' School

James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) is a well-established independent day school for girls located in Dulwich, South London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1741, the school has a long history and a reputation for providing high-quality education. JAGS offers education for girls from the age of 4 through to 18, covering the key stages from reception to sixth form.

The school places a strong emphasis on academic excellence, and students typically follow the British curriculum, including GCSEs and A-levels. Beyond academics, JAGS is known for fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment. The school encourages participation in extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and community service.

7. Magdalen College School (MCS)

Magdalen College School, located in Oxford, is a well-regarded independent day school with a rich history dating back to 1480. The school places a strong emphasis on academic excellence and holistic development. It offers a broad curriculum, including a wide range of subjects and extracurricular opportunities. Magdalen College School is known for its supportive environment, encouraging students to explore their interests and achieve their potential.

MCS easily ranks in our top 10 list as almost all their pupils proceed to prestigious universities in the UK or abroad. More impressively, around 25% of their Sixth Form pupils obtain offers from Oxford or Cambridge. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the school’s official website.

8. King Edward VI High School for Girls (KEHS)

King Edward VI High School for Girls, located in Birmingham, is an esteemed independent day school for girls. Known for its academic rigour and supportive environment, the school aims to empower girls to achieve their full potential. It offers a wide range of subjects and extracurricular activities to foster well-rounded development.

The Sunday Times recently rated KEHS number one in the Midlands Top 10 Independent Schools for their outstanding education. It takes pride in valuing each girl and helping them navigate wisely the choices ahead, giving the opportunities to develop their leadership and collaborative skills as well as resilience. For more detailed information, please refer to their official website.

9. The Perse School

The Perse School offers a comprehensive curriculum, including a range of subjects at both GCSE and A-level. The institution emphasises a well-rounded education, encouraging students to engage in extracurricular activities such as sports, arts, and community service.

The school is divided into different sections, including the Pre-Preparatory School, the Prep School, and the Upper School, each tailored to the specific educational needs of the students in those age groups.

10. Alleyn's School

Alleyn’s School is a respected independent day school located in Dulwich, London. With a reputation for academic excellence and a supportive learning environment, the school aims to nurture students’ intellectual, social, and personal growth.

Alleyn’s School offers a broad and varied curriculum, along with a range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for artistic and sporting pursuits. Among the many aims of the institution, they strongly preach Alleyn’s ROCCK, which includes Respect, Opportunity, Curiosity, Courage and Kindness. These are strong values I would personally want my children to have. For specific details about Alleyn’s School, please visit their official website.

Latest Day School League Table

RankSchool NameA*/ACandidatesFees (£)LocationBoarding Type
1Cardiff Sixth Form College94.7155£22,300CardiffDay
2The Cathedral School Llandaff86.462£15,924CardiffDay
3Highgate School86.1191£25,515Greater LondonDay
4Guildford High School84.993£20,847SurreyDay
5City of London School For Girls83.1100£23,778Greater LondonDay
6James Allen's Girls' School82.595£22,725Greater LondonDay
7Magdalen College School82.1155£21,777OxfordshireDay
8King Edward VI High School for Girls77.792£15,129West MidlandsDay
9The Perse School77.7213£21,183CambridgeshireDay
10Alleyn's School77.4156£25,020Greater LondonDay
11Reigate Grammar School75.6143£22,995SurreyDay
12Eltham College73.9113£22,230Greater LondonDay
13Withington Girls' School73.968£14,676Greater ManchesterDay
14Royal Grammar School Guildford73.7142£22,572SurreyDay
15Wimbledon High School GDST71.296£23,154Greater LondonDay
16The Manchester Grammar School71.2196£13,980Greater ManchesterDay
17South Hampstead High School GDST70.463£22,764Greater LondonDay
18Howell's School, Llandaff GDST69.673£16,302CardiffDay
19Royal Grammar School69.6187£16,521Tyne and WearDay
20Merchant Taylors' School68.3143£23,600HertfordshireDay
21Leicester Grammar School68.2108£15,918LeicestershireDay
22St John's College, Cardiff67.643£15,885CardiffDay
23Notting Hill and Ealing High School GDST66.569£20,868Greater LondonDay
24University College School, Hampstead66.2167£25,413Greater LondonDay
25King Edward's School65121£17,250SomersetDay
26Surbiton High School64132£21,531SurreyDay
27Trinity School63168£22,685SurreyDay
28Redmaids' High School62.662£17,250BristolDay
29Sheffield High School for Girls60.790£14,985South YorkshireDay
30Exeter School60.7107£16,710DevonDay
31Leicester High School for Girls59.422£14,460LeicestershireDay
32The Grange School59.182£13,065CheshireDay
33St Albans School58.9148£21,282HertfordshireDay
34Nottingham High School58.7129£17,937NottinghamshireDay
35The Abbey School58.169£21,750BerkshireDay
36Norwich High School GDST57.643£16,023NorfolkDay
37Churcher's College57.1155£18,735HampshireDay
38Colfe's School56.5126£20,460Greater LondonDay
39St Dunstan's College56.368£21,321Greater LondonDay
40Walthamstow Hall54.857£22,065KentDay
41Ashbourne College54280£30,000Kensington & ChelseaDay
42Bradford Grammar School53.4132£14,811West YorkshireDay
43Birkenhead School53.446£14,865MerseysideDay
44St John's Preparatory and Senior School5332£16,500HertfordshireDay
45Bristol Grammar School52.6122£17,385BristolDay
46Babington House School52.28£18,030KentDay
47Yarm School52119£14,763North YorkshireDay
48The Grammar School at Leeds51.8174£16,389West YorkshireDay
49Ibstock Place School51.865£25,785Greater LondonDay
50Derby High School51.436£15,330DerbyshireDay
51Forest School50.4136£24,555Greater LondonDay
52Queen's College London50.352£23,985Greater LondonDay
53Solihull School50.2139£16,875West MidlandsDay
54RGS Worcester49.4125£16,794WorcestershireDay
55The King's School, Chester49109£14,748CheshireDay
56Immanuel College48.467£22,509HertfordshireDay
57The Maynard School48.253£16,542DevonDay
58Clifton High School47.741£16,530BristolDay
59Farnborough Hill47.330£17,985HampshireDay
60Dame Allan's Senior Schools46.9112£14,997Tyne and WearDay
61Norwich School46.5167£18,855NorfolkDay
62Nottingham Girls’ High School GDST46.468£17,937NottinghamshireDay
63Loughborough High School45.869£16,170LeicestershireDay
64Wolverhampton Grammar School45.159£15,600West MidlandsDay
65Bromley High School GDST44.968£20,562Greater LondonDay
66The King's School44.8123£17,295WorcestershireDay
67The King's School in Macclesfield44.8114£15,315CheshireDay
68Hill House School43.550£19,800South YorkshireDay
69Reading Blue Coat School43.4144£19,965BerkshireDay
70Queen's Gate School42.939£25,326Greater LondonDay
71St Gabriel's School42.421£21,078BerkshireDay
72St Gerard's School Trust42.16£12,480GwyneddDay
73Queen Elizabeth's Hospital41.5109£17,085BristolDay
74Wellingborough School41.580£19,071NorthamptonshireDay
75AKS Lytham40.740£13,659LancashireDay
76Bablake School40.186£15,150West MidlandsDay
77Cheadle Hulme School40129£14,592CheshireDay
78St Benedict's School39.892£20,907Greater LondonDay
79Wetherby Senior School39.242£29,085Greater LondonDay
80Stafford Grammar School39.241£13,938StaffordshireDay
81Oldham Hulme Grammar School38.953£13,470Greater ManchesterDay
82King Henry VIII School38.677£15,150West MidlandsDay
83Newcastle High School for Girls GDST3861£14,331Tyne and WearDay
84Bolton School Girls' Division37.8108£13,632Greater ManchesterDay
85Victoria College37.277£7,512Channel IslandsDay
86Claremont Fan Court School37.167£22,005SurreyDay
87Salesian College36.381£14,703HampshireDay
88The John Lyon School36.156£21,300Greater LondonDay
89Streatham and Clapham High School GDST35.858£21,003Greater LondonDay
90Old Palace of John Whitgift School35.745£19,350Greater LondonDay
91Mander Portman Woodward (MPW)35.6231£34,233Greater LondonDay
92Stockport Grammar School35.2156£13,215CheshireDay
93The Ladies' College35.153£14,010Channel IslandsDay
94Durham High School for Girls33.323£14,952DurhamDay
95Lichfield Cathedral School33.328£15,588StaffordshireDay
96St Columba's College3370£19,338HertfordshireDay
97Lewes Old Grammar School32.531£16,182East SussexDay
98Hymers College31.692£13,032East YorkshireDay
99Elizabeth College30.686£14,721Channel IslandsDay
100Sutton High School GDST30.634£20,313SurreyDay
101Shrewsbury High School GDST29.442£16,731ShropshireDay
102Alderley Edge School for Girls28.728£15,165CheshireDay
103Hampstead Fine Arts College27.994£26,160Greater LondonDay
104St Mary's College25.356£12,396MerseysideDay
105Westfield School2511£16,686Tyne and WearDay
106Mander Portman Woodward Birmingham24.672£23,913West MidlandsDay
107Ealing Independent College22.226£18,495Greater LondonDay
108Langley21.741£17,880NorfolkDay
109Sackville School21.116£18,690KentDay
110More House School19.618£24,825Greater LondonDay
111Claires Court18.978£18,990BerkshireDay
112Sherrardswood School18.735£19,017HertfordshireDay
113St Edward's Senior & Sixth Form15.626£18,915GloucestershireDay
114Highclare School1417£15,975West MidlandsDay
115St James Senior Boys' School12.935£22,905SurreyDay
116St Bede's College12.349£12,675Greater ManchesterDay
117St Dominic’s Grammar School, Brewood6.815£8,925StaffordshireDay
118Alton School01£14,985HampshireDay

Frequently Asked Questions about UK Day Schools

A day school is an educational institution where students attend classes during the day and return home in the evenings, as opposed to boarding schools where students reside on campus.

Consider factors such as academic reputation, curriculum offerings, extracurricular activities, location, class sizes, facilities, and the school’s ethos. Visiting schools, attending open houses, and talking to current students and parents can also help you make an informed decision.

Day schools in the UK usually cater to students ranging from early years or nursery (ages 3-4) to secondary school (ages 11-16 or 18). Some schools offer education from primary (ages 4-11) to sixth form (ages 16-18).

Day schools in the UK may follow various curricula, including the national curriculum of England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Some schools may offer international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).

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