Expensive Education

Expensive Education

What are the most expensive private schools in the country, and is it more expensive for boys or girls?

Private education is often expensive, but which are the private schools with the highest priced fees?

Using data compiled from all the private schools in the UK, we have created a definitive list of the most expensive schools for boarding and daytime only students and how much you would need to earn to send a child to them.


The Most Expensive Boarding Schools

When we think about traditional high priced private education in Britain we tend to think of boarding schools, the old establishments of the likes of Eton and Harrow, which are two of the most well known full boarding schools in the world, not just the UK. Between them, they have produced 33 former Prime Ministers, including the current incumbent Boris Johnson who is an old Etonian.

However, in terms of the financial costs, these two most famous names are actually ranked down in 25th and 26th places respectively, with them both charging just over £14,000 per term. This is £5,000 less than the most expensive school, Cherwell College Oxford. The almost half-century old school charges its boarding pupils £19,000 per term which works out as a huge £58,500 a year. In order to send a child to this school, you would require a minimum estimated average income of just under £100,000.

Another Oxford-based school is the second most expensive in Britain as the Oxford International College costs £53,175 a year, or £17,725 every term. The expensive price of educating a child at this prestigious school does provide results, in 2019 they were the number one ranked UK boarding school on the UK A-levels table as just under 92% of their students achieved A or A* at A level.

Most Expensive Boarding Schools

Locations of the most expensive boarding schools are certainly concentrated in the south of England, as all but one of the top thirty most expensive being located in that area. The only exception is the priciest school in Wales, the Cardiff Sixth Form College. Moreover, the highest-ranking northern school is the 55th ranked Yorkshire-based Queen Ethelburga’s which charges £13,345 per term.

There are currently eight schools that would require an estimated household income of over £90,000 to send a single child to board at, and across the entire list of private boarding schools in the UK, you would need to earn an average of over £72,000 per year.

Top 50 Most Expensive Boarding Schools

The Most Expensive Day Schools

You might suspect that the added expense of boarding would make those schools the most expensive, however, it is the private schools only attended during the day that are the most expensive. In fact, the top ten most expensive day schools charge an average of around £64,000 per year, which is just under £14,000 more than the average annual fee for the top-ranked boarding schools. On the other hand, the average cost for all 473 boarding schools is more than double that of the 1,330 day schools.

The Most Expensive Day Schools

The two most expensive schools on the list are both part of the same schools group, Oracle. The Oracle School in Congleton is ranked number one with a massive cost of £32,272 per term, and their other school in Silsoe charges £26,182. Consequently, the estimated average wage needed to send a child is north of £132,000 per year for the Congleton based Oracle School.

All of the top six ranked schools charge over £69,000 per year which means that you’d need an average estimated income of over £110,000 to afford the fees. Park House School in Peterborough is the third most expensive school and charges £25,849 a term, Highgate Hill House and Beech Lodge School’s come in fourth and fifth respectively.

Cherwell College Oxford is the highest-ranked boarding school, which also offers its services as just a day school for a lower price, they charge just over £40,000 a year for day students which is almost £18,000 less than their boarding fees. Even with this big difference Cherwell is still the tenth most expensive day school in the country.

50 Most Expensive Day Schools

The Most Affordable Schools

The Most Affordable Schools

Of course not all private schools charge the vast sums of money as the ones discussed above, in fact some are much more affordable in relative terms. The cheapest boarding school is the Abrar Academy in Garstang who charge less than one thousand pounds per term for students.

Unlike the most expensive lists, the top three ranked most affordable schools are in the north of the country, with two in Yorkshire and one in Lancashire.

Even more affordable are the day schools, with the highest ranking Belfast Academy only charging £4,095 per term. This means that you would only need an estimated annual salary of £31,318 to send a child there, which is over one hundred thousand less than the most expensive day school.

50 Most Affordable Schools

Are Boys or Girls Schools More Expensive?

Unlike most comprehensive schools across the country, private education centres are much more predisposed to having schools that only cater to boys or girls. However, even within the list of private schools, most are now coeducational and the top nine most expensive boarding and day schools all cater to students of both genders.

However, in terms of the average costs, coeducational schools are only the sixth-ranked style of boarding school and come in even lower for the average price of day schools, coeducational boarding schools charge an average of  £10,407 per term which is over £1000 less than boys only (with a coeducational 6th form) schools.

Boys-only boarding schools charge an average of £10,428 which increases to £11,669 when they also have a coeducational 6th form, the most expensive boys-only school is the highly specialised Westminster Abbey Choir School who charge £14,854 per term. Westminster is also the location of the most expensive boys only day school, the Westminster School charges pupils just under £10,500 every term.

The most expensive girls-only boarding school actually charges more than any of its male-only equivalents. Roedean School in Brighton charges girls £15,680 per term which makes it the tenth-ranked boarding school in the country, and the estimated income needed to send a child there is over £88,000. Cheltenham Ladies College is the girls only day school with the highest fees, its £9,760 per term is around £800 less than the highest-ranked boys only day school.

Are Boys or Girls Schools More Expensive


The information on private schools, school fees and school gender groups all came from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) website. When we required further information about individual schools we followed direct links from the ISC site to the schools own sites.

To work out the estimated household income needed to send a child to each school we found the average estimated cost of living for a family of four in the UK, as well as the estimated annual mortgage cost and then added these totals to the annual school fees.

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  • Peter on

    The most expensive day schools all seem to be special schools. Won’t they be paid for by local authorities? And won’t they be more expensive because the children ned 1 to 1 care etc?

  • Kevin on

    How is the expensive fees justified with data of future earnings from their graduates?

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