These are UK’s best private schools, according to a prestigious ranking

The Carfax Education Index has ranked Britain’s 30 best private schools

Annie McNamee
Written by
Annie McNamee
Contributor, Time Out London and UK
Dulwich College, London
Photograph: Lukasz Pajor /

Ah, private schools. Although most of us will never set foot in them, their students end up making a lot of the big decisions about life in this country. Last month we discovered Britain’s most expensive private schools and which UK schools are considered the best on the planet and now, thanks to Carfax Education’s ‘Schools Index’, we’ve got another perspective on the best of the best. 

The ranking is specifically for senior schools – so exam age students doing GSCEs, A Levels, or the International Baccalaureate, which is an exam board you won't have heard of unless you attended one of these schools (or went to Bristol/Exeter/Edinburgh Uni with someone who did). 

Each school gets a short, one line commendation from Carfax detailing what makes them so special. For instance, Eton College is described as promoting ‘independent thought and learning in the pursuit of excellence’, which sounds like a lot of nothing if you’re being cynical.

Although, it’s at least better than Gordonstoun, Scotland’s most expensive elite college, which sums up its mission with the line, ‘there is more in you’. With a price tag of £48,000 per year per student, they’re probably referring to money. 

The UK’s 30 best independent senior schools, according to the Carfax Schools Index (in alphabetical order)

  • Benenden School, Kent
  • Brighton College, Brighton
  • Charterhouse, Surrey
  • Cheltenham Ladies College, Cheltenham
  • Concord College, Shrewsbury
  • Downe House School, Berkshire
  • Dulwich College, south London
  • Eton College, Windsor
  • Fettes College, Edinburgh 
  • Gordonstoun, Elgin
  • Harrow School, northwest London
  • King’s College School, southwest London
  • Marlborough College, Marlborough
  • Millfield School, Somerset
  • North London Collegiate School, north London
  • Sevenoaks School, Kent
  • Shrewsbury School, Shrewsbury
  • St. Paul’s School, central London
  • St Paul’s Girls’ School, central London
  • The King’s School, Canterbury
  • The Perse School, Cambridge
  • Tonbridge School, Kent
  • Uppingham School, Rutland
  • Wellington College, Berkshire
  • Westminster School, central London
  • Winchester College, Winchester
  • Wycombe Abbey School, Wycombe

Each school on the list comes with a hefty annual fee, high academic expectations, and a shot at being the next high-flying politician. For more details on each of these institutes of excellence, head to the School’s Index website and have a look at how the lucky ones live. 

RECOMMENDED: 7 of the UK’s best private schools are in London, according to a prestigious ranking.

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