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Choosing A Private School

Choosing A Private School

Choosing the right school for your child can be a difficult choice. With over 1,250 private schools in the UK and 485 offering boarding this is unsurprising. Many are set in historical towns or the heart of the English countryside offering a wide range of up to date facilities and have a great range of activities on offer such as horse riding, sailing and golf.


Whether you are looking to send your child to day school or boarding one factor you should take into consideration is the location of the school. Would you like to send your child to a school in the city or the heart of the countryside? How good are the transport links and is the condition of the roads good? How far is the school from home?


A major factor to take into consideration are fees, these will vary from school to school and one region to the next. Juniors typically pay less than seniors and sixth formers being charged the most. Other fees to take into consideration include hidden costs such as study materials, school trips and unexpected charges for extracurricular activities.

Age Group Boarding Fee Day Fee (Boarding Schools) Day Fee (Day Schools) Day Fee (Average) Overall Average Fee
Sixth Form £11,821 £7,056 £5,022 £5,475 £7,631
Senior £11,001 £6,516 £4,862 £5,168 £6,122
Junior £8,243 £4,927 £4,291 £4,342 £4,409

Source: ISC annual Census 2018

Exam Results

When selecting a school for your child a good indicator of the school’s performance would be to analyse the school’s exam results over the past three years. Parents from all over the world are drawn by the success pupils enjoy at UK private schools due to the focus on STEM subjects and foreign languages that are sought by prestigious universities. Private schools also offer their students the best advice when applying to university with independent school students are twice as likely to attend a Russell Group university.

A-level, proportion A*/A grades, STEM

This information is displayed as percentages.
Source: ISC annual Census 2018


When choosing a private school it is best to choose a school with a broad curriculum. This information is typically found in the school’s brochure along with the facilities available at the school, information about the teaching staff and the school’s core values. While reviewing the brochure you can also check if the core subjects are properly catered to while reviewing areas of particular interest to yourself such as the arts, languages, sport or STEM subjects.

Social Diversity

Another  area of interest is social diversity. There are currently 53,678 non-British pupils in ISC schools with some schools priding themselves in offering a diverse student mix. Another hot topic is whether the school is single sex or CoEd. There is currently no clear evidence suggesting that sexes perform better apart however some parent may prefer separating the sexes due to religious or cultural beliefs. But with so many other factors to review should this really be the deciding factor in choosing a school, or should parents be looking more broadly at a school’s background, ethos and character?

Welcoming Environment

When choosing a private school it is best to not only visit the school on an open day but also arrange to visit on a normal school day. This will offer the chance to get a feel for the environment, the food and activities available and how comfortable the other children seem. Be sure to meet the head, or the head of admissions, to hear their views about why you should choose that school. If you are looking to board your child you should also check what activities are available at the weekend.


In conclusion there are a range of factors to take into consideration when choosing a private school taking. Getting to know your schools of choice when narrowing down your selection should not only help with your decision making but also increase your confidence in your chosen school.

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