Top 10 Private Schools in England (2022)

Where are the top 10 private schools in England?

Each year, The Sunday Times Parent Power releases its ‘best schools’ league tables based on that year’s GCSE and A level results. The 2022 league tables (released in December 2021) indicate that the top 10 private schools in England are all located in the South East – specifically within the City of London, Greater London, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Kent and East Sussex.

Why are private schools in England sometimes called public schools?

As the terms private and public have entirely opposite meanings, it can be confusing when you hear some private schools being referred to as ‘public schools’.

In the UK, ‘public school’ is an archaic term used for an elite group of fee-paying schools. The term first emerged in the 18th century when a small group of well-established boys’ schools distinguished themselves from the spread of grammar schools (which were free) by charging fees. These schools were Eton College, Shrewsbury School, Harrow School, Charterhouse School, Rugby School, Westminster School and Winchester College.

‘Public school’ is now considered an outdated term in the UK, with fee-paying schools now typically referred to as ‘private schools’ or independent schools’.

What is the average class size in UK private schools?

UK private schools are renowned for having smaller class sizes than their state school counterparts. While state schools will often have around 30-32 pupils in a class, private schools have a much lower pupil-to-teacher ratio.

In Key Stage 3 (Year 7 to 9), there are around 20 (normally no more than 25) pupils per class in UK private schools. As pupils move from year to year, class sizes tend to become smaller as a result of ‘streaming’ (setting classes based on academic ability) and more subject choices to choose from at GCSE and A level. Sixth form classes are typically much smaller, with around 8 to 15 students in a class.

Top 10 Private Schools in England (1)

What are the top 10 private schools in England?

1. St Paul's Girls' School (London)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (2)©

St Paul’s Girls’ School, located in Hammersmith, West London, is often top of the list in The Sunday Times Parent Power’s top independent schools. The girls’ day school was founded in 1904 to complement St Paul’s School (the boys’ counterpart), which was founded in the 16th century.

Students are known as ‘Paulinas’. There are approximately 20 students per class in the Lower School at St Paul’s Girls’ School.

St Paul's Girls' School fees

In 2021-22, the school fees are £8,802 per term (Year 7 entry). St Paul’s Girls’ School offers music scholarships for 11 plus applicants and has a means-tested bursary programme which may be available to families with a total gross household income of less than £110k.

St Paul’s Girls’ School exam results (2021)

  • A level: 97.8% A*/A/B

  • GCSE: 99.4* A*/A/9/8/7

St Paul's Girls' School: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

(Video) The Most Expensive Private Schools In The UK

2. King's College School Wimbledon (London)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (3)©

King’s College School Wimbledon is a prestigious boys’ day school situated on the edge of Wimbledon Common in South West London. Girls are accepted into the sixth form. The school was founded by royal charter in 1829 as the junior department of King’s College London on the Strand, before moving to Wimbledon in 1897.

King's College School Wimbledon fees

In 2022-23, the school fees will be £7,310 per term (Year 7 entry). King’s College School Wimbledon offers entrance bursaries of up to 100% tuition fees to eligible families as well as academic, music and sports scholarships.

King’s College School Wimbledon exam results (2021)

King's College School Wimbledon: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

3. Wycombe Abbey (Buckinghamshire)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (4)©

Wycombe Abbey is a girls’ boarding and day school located on a 69-hectare campus in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. It was founded in 1896 by Dame Frances Dove.

There are around 16 pupils per class at Wycombe Abbey.

Wycombe Abbey fees

The termly fees for Wycombe Abbey in 2021-22 are £10,315 for day students and £13,750 for boarding students. The school also offers academic and music scholarships (of limited financial value) and means-tested bursaries to girls whose parents could not otherwise afford the fees.

Wycombe Abbey exam results (2021)

  • A level: 96.7% A*/A/B

  • GCSE: 96.7% A*/A/9/8/7

Wycombe Abbey: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

4. Magdalen College School (Oxfordshire)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (5)©

Magdalen College School offers an independent day education to boys aged 7 to 18 and to girls in the sixth form. It is located in the cathedral city of Oxford, with approximately one-third of students going on to study at either Oxford or Cambridge universities after A levels.

(Video) Top 10 Independent Private Schools In UK by GCSE - Timeline 2015-2021

The average class size for pupils in Years 7 to 11 at Magdalen College School is 25.

Magdalen College School fees

In 2021-22 the fees are £6,600 per term. Magdalen College School offers means-tested bursaries to students who meet the academic standard of entry and where there is a genuine financial need for assistance. In 2019-20, one in ten pupils were on a bursary. The school also offers scholarships in academia, music, art, sport and drama as well as ‘all-rounder awards’ and ‘governors’ presentation awards’.

Magdalen College School exam results (2021)

  • A level: 96.6% A*/A/B

  • GCSE: 95.3% A*/A/9/8/7

Magdalen College School: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

5. Guildford High School (Surrey)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (6)©

Founded in 1888, Guildford High School offers an independent day education to approximately 1,000 girls aged 7-18. The Sunday Times named it the ‘South East Independent Secondary School of the Decade’ in 2021.

Guildford High School fees

Guildford High School’s fees for 2021-22 are £6,100 per term. The school offers a sibling discount of 5% (and 10% for subsequent daughters) and means-tested bursaries to eligible families. Academic and music scholarships are also available based on assessment and can be worth up to 5% off the school fees.

Guildford High School exam results (2021)

  • A level: 95.3% A*/A/B

  • GCSE: 97.2% A*/A/9/8/7

Guildford High School: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

6. St Paul's School (London)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (7)©

St Paul’s School is a boys’ independent day and boarding school located on a 43-acre site in Barnes, West London. It was founded in 1509 by John Colet, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. Boys at St Paul’s School are known as ‘Paulines’.

St Paul's School fees

The fees in 2022-23 will be £9,162 per term (or £13,788 per term for boarders). Bursaries between 20% and 100% may be available for families whose combined household income is less than £120,000. St Paul’s School also offers academic scholarships of a small financial value and music scholarships, which include free tuition on up to two instruments.

St Paul’s School exam results (2021)

  • A level: 95.4% A*/A/B

    (Video) Top Ten Public Schools in England New Ranking | Top Secondary Schools in UK

  • GCSE: 96.1% A*/A/9/8/7

7. Westminster School (London)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (8)©

Westminster School is an independent day and boarding school for boys (and girls in the sixth form) located in Little Dean’s Yard in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, City of Westminster. About half of the students go on to Oxbridge, giving Westminster School the highest national Oxbridge acceptance rate. Class sizes at Westminster School rarely exceed 22.

Westminster School fees

The fees for Westminster School in 2021-22 are £9,987 per term for day pupils and £14,424 per term for boarders. A bursary programme is in place, with approximately £1.4m of support available to pupils across the Under School (prep) and Great School (senior). Academic and music scholarships are also available.

Westminster School exam results (2021)

  • A level: 94.1% A*/A/B

  • GCSE: 98.3% A*/A/9/8/7

Year 9 (13 plus) is the main entry point at Westminster School.

Westminster School: a parents' guide to Year 9 entry

8. Brighton College (East Sussex)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (9)©

Brighton College is a co-educational day and boarding school with three sites in the East Sussex seaside town: Brighton College Nursery & Pre-Prep School, Brighton College Prep School and Brighton College. It has been awarded the title of ‘United Kingdom School of the Decade’ by The Sunday Times.

Class sizes at Brighton College are normally around 15 to 18 pupils.

Brighton College fees

The fees for Year 7 pupils at Brighton College in 2021-22 are £6,120 per term (rising to £8,900 by the end of the sixth form). Boarding is available from Year 9 and is upwards of £12,220 per term. Brighton College has means-tested bursaries available for day pupils who are eligible. A range of scholarships are also available.

Brighton College exam results (2021)

  • A level: 97.4% A*/A/B

  • GCSE: 90.9% A*/A/9/8/7

    (Video) 10 Best Private Schools in London

9. City of London School for Girls (London)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (10)©

City of London School for Girls is a day school for girls aged 7 to 18 in the Barbican, within the City of London. It is partnered with the City of London School (boys) and the City of London Freemen’s School (co-educational).

City of London School for Girls fees

The current fees at City of London School for Girls are £6,888 per term. The school usually has 12-15 bursary places to allocate at 11 plus depending on the pupil’s success in the entrance exams and interview, and the family’s financial circumstances. Music scholarships are also available for pupils at 11 plus.

City of London School for Girls exam results (2021)

  • A level: 94.4% A*/A

  • GCSE: 98.0% A*/A/9/8/7

City of London School for Girls: a parents' guide to Year 7 entry

10. Sevenoaks School (Kent)

Top 10 Private Schools in England (11)©

Sevenoaks School is an independent day and boarding school for over 1,000 boys and girls in Sevenoaks, Kent. Founded in 1432 by William Sevenoke, it is the second oldest non-denominational school in the UK. It has twice been named The Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year.

There are generally no more than 20 pupils per class in the main school, and around 10 students per class in the sixth form.

Sevenoaks School fees

The standard fees at Sevenoaks School are £8,340 per term for day pupils and £13,320 per term for boarders. At least five free places are available to successful day applicants in Years 7 and 9 for families with a gross annual income of less than £40,000. Additional funding may be available for successful day applicants whose families have a gross annual income of £100,000 or less. In addition, 55 scholarships are available (academic, art, drama, music and sport) but these will no longer carry a fee remission from 2022 onwards.

Sevenoaks School exam results (2021)

  • A level: 95.8% A*/A/B

  • GCSE: 92.7% A*/A/9/8/7

Sevenoaks School: a parents' guide to entry at Year 7 and Year 9

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(Video) Top 10 Private (Independent) Schools in the UK 2022

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Top 10 Private Schools in England (12)


What are the top 3 schools in the UK? ›

Here are the best global universities in the United Kingdom
  • University of Oxford.
  • University of Cambridge.
  • University College London.
  • Imperial College London.
  • King's College London.
  • University of Edinburgh.
  • University of Manchester.
  • University of Glasgow.

What is the most prestigious school in England? ›

University of Oxford

Which private schools are the best? ›

  • PHILLIPS ACADEMY. ANDOVER, MA. Class Size:319. ...

What is the hardest school to get into in the UK? ›

The University of St. Andrews is top on the list of hardest UK universities to get into due to its low acceptance rate and competitive admission requirements.

What is the smartest school in the UK? ›

Cardiff Sixth Form College

What school do the Royals go to? ›

Princes George and Louis, aged 9 and 4, and Princess Charlotte, 7, will all attend the private Lambrook School after the family moved their base from London's Kensington Palace to a new home on Queen Elizabeth's Windsor Castle estate.

What are the top 5 secondary schools in the UK? ›

In Detail: The Top 30 UK Independent Schools
  • The Godolphin and Latymer School. ...
  • Brighton College. ...
  • King's College School, Wimbledon. ...
  • Wycombe Abbey School. ...
  • Magdalen College School. ...
  • Guildford High School. ...
  • St Mary's School Ascot. St Mary's is a leading Roman Catholic independent secondary school for girls. ...
  • St Paul's School.
11 Jan 2022

What is the poshest school in London? ›

American School London

What is the strictest school in the UK? ›

At the Michaela Community School near Wembley, in north-west London, there are no mobile phones, detentions are given for the slightest misdemeanour and a disused car park is the no-frills playground. The high school is famed for being Britain's strictest, and its headmistress, Katharine Birbalsingh, pulls no punches.

What is the best school in the UK 2022? ›

2022 Results
#A + A* %Name
196.34St Paul's School
295.09St Paul's Girls' School
394.74Cardiff Sixth Form College
494.15King's College School - Wimbledon
73 more rows

Who is No 1 school in world? ›

QS World University Rankings 2020 – Top 10
2020 Rank2019 RankUniversity
11Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
22Stanford University
33Harvard University
7 more rows

Are private schools in the UK good? ›

Private schools have the upper hand with grades and grammars clearly demonstrate their value but other selective state schools have also achieved spectacularly in recent years' university admissions.

What are the top 5 hardest degrees in the UK? ›

It all comes down to your gut feeling – and whether you think you'll enjoy studying that subject in the long-term.
  • Psychology. Kicking off our list of the hardest degrees in the UK is Psychology. ...
  • Microbiology. ...
  • Economics. ...
  • Philosophy. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Finance. ...
  • Fine Art. ...
  • Astrophysics.

Are UK schools harder than us? ›

Pace. In the case of the British curriculum, it can be found that in primary/secondary school, the level of learning in the U.K. school system was considerably higher. The students have in-depth knowledge of each topic taught in each stage.

What are the most respected levels in the UK? ›

The reason this subject is so often considered the most respected A-Level is probably due to it teaching the fundamentals of a lot of other subjects.
1. A-Level Maths
  • A-Level Further Maths (very strong connection)
  • A-Level Physics.
  • A-Level Chemistry.
  • A-Level Biology.
  • A-Level Computer Science.
1 Jan 2021

Which city has best education in UK? ›

One best city in the UK to study, and otherwise, is Manchester. The education facilities offered in this city are unparalleled, which, coupled with its diverse environment, make it a popular choice among students. It hosts several international universities, such as: The University of Manchester.

Which part of the UK has the best schools? ›

Overview: London has many of the best state schools in the country, including The Tiffin Girls' School.

Which education is best in UK? ›

United Kingdom is well known for prestigious universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and more that provide excellent education and offer various courses for international students. The British education system has the reputation of having one of the highest education standards around the world.

Who is the most educated British royal? ›

The Most Educated Royals in the Modern UK History
  • Prince Charles. Prince Charles attended Hill House School at the age of eight before joining Cheam School a few months later. ...
  • Kate Middleton. Kate Middleton exclusively attended private schools in her early years. ...
  • Prince George. ...
  • Prince William.
11 Feb 2021

Where do the Cambridge kids go to school? ›

Perry (left) said he is "very excited" to be welcoming the Cambridge children to Lambrook School. George and Charlotte used to attend Thomas's Battersea, a fee-paying school in south London.

How much does it cost to go to Eton? ›

Eton College
School fees£46,296 per year US$55,875 per year
AffiliationsG20 Schools Holyport College London Academy of Excellence Mayo College Roxbury Latin School The Doon School
AlumniOld Etonians
27 more rows

What's the best high school in the UK? ›

Top grammar schools list: 1 - 50
School RankSchoolA-LEVEL Rank
1The Henrietta Barnett School2
2Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet1
3Wilson's School, Wallington3
4The Tiffin Girls' School6
46 more rows
26 Aug 2022

Which school in the UK has highest acceptance rate? ›

Which University in UK has highest acceptance rate? Aberystwyth University (97.6%) Bishop Grosseteste University (95.1%) Ravensbourne University London (95.1%) University for the Creative Arts (92.4%) etc.

What are the top 5 public schools? ›

Here are the best public universities in the U.S.
  • University of California, Berkeley.
  • University of California, Los Angeles.
  • University of Michigan--Ann Arbor.
  • University of Virginia.
  • University of Florida.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • University of California, Irvine.

What is the girl version of Eton? ›

There are several, including Cheltenham Ladies, Marlborough, Wycombe Abbey and Benenden. Cheltenham Ladies' College and Roedean are the only two girls' boarding schools I could name.

Where do most millionaires live in London? ›

Richest neighborhoods in London
  • Richest neighborhoods in London. ...
  • Made up of expensive Georgian townhouses, elite hotels, and gourmet restaurants, the neighborhood of Mayfair has long been one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London. ...
  • 2- Knightsbridge. ...
  • 3- Chelsea. ...
  • 4- Kensington. ...
  • 5- Notting Hill. ...
  • 6- Highbury.
18 Jul 2022

What is the richest area to live in the UK? ›

Virginia Water, Surrey

Virginia Water in Surrey consistently ranks among the highest value towns in England outside of London, according to Zoopla. As of July of 2022, the average price of a property here was of £1,681,981.

What is the poshest girls school in England? ›

Wycombe Abbey is one of the UK's leading boarding schools and the top girls' boarding school based on academic results.

What is the most elite school in the world? ›

Most prestigious universities in the world 2022
Reputation Rank 2022Reputation Rank 2021University
11Harvard University
22Massachusetts Institute of Technology
34Stanford University
43University of Oxford
6 more rows

What is the most prestigious secondary school in England? ›

Queen Elizabeth's School

What is the hardest school to get into 2022? ›

Top 10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into
  1. Harvard. Cambridge, MA. 3.19%
  2. Columbia. New York, NY. 3.73%
  3. Caltech. Pasadena, CA. 3.92%*
  4. Stanford. Stanford, CA. 3.95%*
  5. MIT. Cambridge, MA. 3.96%
  6. Princeton. Princeton, NJ. 4.38%*
  7. Yale. New Haven, CT. 4.47%
  8. Brown. Providence, RI. 5.03%

Which is the No 1 school in World 2022? ›

The best university in the world, for a 10th consecutive year, is Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which earns perfect scores across the research and the employability indicator.

What is the most popular school in the world 2022? ›

Here are the best global universities
  • Harvard University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University.
  • University of California Berkeley.
  • University of Oxford.
  • University of Washington Seattle.
  • Columbia University.
  • University of Cambridge.

What is the most elite private high school? ›

Phillips Academy Andover

#1 Best Private High Schools in America.

What is the richest private school in the world? ›

Institut Le Rosey
Student to teacher ratio5:1
Annual tuitionCHF 130,500 ($136,000) (varies within different age groups, and does not include bonus going up to another CHF 20,000, to a total of CHF 150,500 ($157,000))
15 more rows

Where do most Eton students go to university? ›

Each year many of the students (the number has varied from 65 to 95 in recent years) go on to study at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Is Oxford better than Harvard? ›

The QS World University Rankings for 2022 have Oxford at second, Cambridge in joint third place and Harvard coming in at fifth. By contrast, the Times Higher Education Rankings puts Oxford in the first position, with Harvard in joint second and Cambridge in joint fifth.

What country has the best education? ›

United States

Which country is top 1 in education? ›

Top ten countries with the best education systems in the world 2020
Top 10 Best Countries for Education
1.The United StatesThe United Kingdom
2.The United KingdomThe United States
7 more rows

Do most British kids go to private school? ›

In the UK 93% of the children in England and Wales go to "state schools". State schools are non fee-paying, funded from taxes and most are organised by Local Authorities (LA).

What percentage of UK children go to private school? ›

The independent sector educates around 5.8% of the total number of school children in the UK and around 6.4% of the total number of school children in England.

Why do parents choose private schools UK? ›

Leading motives for parents to choose private schooling are the wish for their children to gain better academic results through smaller class sizes and better facilities, and to mix with a preferred peer group.

What school is number 1 in the world? ›

1California Institute of Technology (Caltech)USA
2Harvard UniversityUSA
3Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)USA
80 more rows

What is the number 1 top school? ›

University of California, Berkeley
  • #1. in Top Public Schools (tie)
  • #20. in National Universities (tie)

What is the hardest school to get into? ›

Top 10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into
  • Caltech. Pasadena, CA. 3.92%*
  • Stanford. Stanford, CA. 3.95%*
  • MIT. Cambridge, MA. 3.96%
  • Princeton. Princeton, NJ. 4.38%*
  • Yale. New Haven, CT. 4.47%
  • Brown. Providence, RI. 5.03%
  • Penn. Philadelphia, PA. 5.87%*
  • Vanderbilt. Nashville, TN. 6.1% *Indicates class of 2025 data.

What is the best secondary school in England? ›

Top State Secondary Schools in England 2022 - League Table
1Queen Elizabeth's School, BarnetBarnet
2The Henrietta Barnett SchoolLondon
3Wilson's School, WallingtonWallington
4The Tiffin Girls' SchoolKingston upon Thames
150 more rows

Which country has the hardest education? ›

Which country has the hardest education system? South Korea, Japan, Singapore are a few countries which have one of the hardest education systems. Which country has the hardest math? The United Kingdom, The United States of America, etc are the countries having one of the best education systems.

What country has best education? ›

Table of Content
RankCountryQuality Index
1United States78.2
2United Kingdom72
16 more rows
12 Jul 2022

What is the most famous school on Earth? ›

  • Harvard University. United States|Cambridge (U.S.) ...
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States|Cambridge (U.S.) ...
  • Stanford University. United States|Stanford. ...
  • University of California Berkeley. ...
  • University of Oxford. ...
  • University of Washington Seattle. ...
  • Columbia University. ...
  • University of Cambridge.

Who is the top 10 school? ›

Top 10 Schools in India | Updated 2023-24
  • Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, Delhi.
  • Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul International School, Hyderabad.
  • Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai.
  • St. ...
  • Sainik School, Ghorakhal.
  • Greenwood International High School, Bangalore.
  • Emerald Heights International School, Indore.
  • The Scindia School, Gwalior.
15 Sept 2022

Which school has the best system? ›

With universities like Harvard University, University of Oxford, Yale University, and MIT, the United States has, without a doubt, the best education system in the world.


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