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  1. Private Schools
February 21, 2024

Introducing the Spear’s Schools Index 2024

The definitive guide to the world's 100 leading private schools

By Edwin Smith and Matthew Goldie-Scot

The Spear’s Schools Index is now entering its fifth year. Since its launch in 2020 it has garnered growing recognition in a range of national and international media, and an established reputation as a definitive index of the world’s 100 leading private schools.

The index was conceived as a key resource for international families and advisors to (U)HNW individuals and family offices, for those supporting relocation to major international cities, and for researchers and journalists seeking insight into the world’s leading schools. 

In light of this, Spear’s has worked closely with the expert team at Thuso to refine the methodology underpinning the index, and to convene an expert panel of leading international educationalists to contribute their knowledge and insight to the research and selection process.

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Thuso’s team works closely with schools, universities, investors, family offices, and foundations internationally, with an expert team ideally placed to provide rich insight – it was for this reason that Spear’s has chosen to draw on their support to finalise the 2024 index. 

This approach, developed in collaboration with expert educationalists within the international team at Thuso, has been underpinned by the following key principles:

  • While examination results and academic attainment is a key consideration, it is not the only thing that matters. Leading schools are not necessarily the most ‘academic’: A wide range of social, cultural, and pastoral factors have been weighed in finalising the index. In some cases, some schools with strong academics have been omitted where they fall short in relation to these wider considerations.
  • Families are increasingly ‘mobile’, with new ‘global cities’ emerging as key hubs: This is particularly the case for cities such as Dubai, as well as established regional hubs in Europe, Africa, Latin America, South-East Asia, and the Pacific.
  • Reputation and standing are not insignificant: The reputation and standing of a school shape and influence its character, the parents and pupils it attracts, and its position both regionally, and internationally.

Building on these principles, Spear’s, in collaboration with Thuso, brought together an Expert Advisory Panel, jointly chaired by Matthew Goldie-Scot, managing director at Thuso Group, and Ian Douglas, Spear’s head of research. The composition of the panel is detailed further below.

In addition to the overarching principles, this panel sought to ensure: that a range of ‘international’ and ‘local’ families were catered to; that a range of geographies, demographics, and preferences were catered to (boys’ schools, girls’ schools, a range of curricula offerings, and schools catering to learners across all age ranges); that emerging markets maintained due prominence within the listing; and (most significantly) that ‘common sense’ prevailed in finalising the list, avoiding any ‘perverse’ outcomes (i.e. no schools which should clearly be included were to be omitted, and no schools included which were not among the leading institutions internationally).

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As such, the index is a valuable resource for those advising family offices, or HNW individuals directly, as well as those seeking insights into leading schools when working overseas, on diplomatic postings, or when investing in emerging markets (particularly for those seeking to acquire, or establish, leading schools internationally).

Spear’s Schools Index 2024 Directory

For ease of navigation, the top 100 schools in the Spear’s Schools Index 2024 have been separated into eight different lists based on geographic region. In the case of British schools, there are separate rankings for prep and senior schools:

Spear’s Schools Index 2024 Expert Advisory Panel

Matthew Goldie-Scot, Thuso

Matthew Goldie-Scot
Matthew Goldie-Scot

Co-chair, Expert Advisory Panel

Matthew serves as managing director at Thuso, a leading international strategic consultancy focused on education, philanthropy, investment, emerging markets, with offices in London, the EU, the UAE, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Born in Lesotho, Matthew spent much of his childhood in East Africa, and later studied at both Cambridge, and Oxford. He also taught for a number of years at Cambridge, as well as working with independent schools in a range of international contexts. Matthew has advised numerous families on the operation, expansion, sale, and acquisition of education holdings. He has also provided extensive guidance to families on their own educational planning, supporting candidates in securing places on leading executive education programmes, as well as at the world’s finest schools and universities. He has also supported the development of education-focused indices and rankings catering to HNWIs and family office advisers, including those of Spear’s and Knight Frank. His views on education are frequently reported in the national and international press. In addition to his work with private clients and investors, Matthew works as an advisor to UN agencies, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and numerous national governments. He has taught as a guest lecturer at the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, has undertaken research work with the University of the West Indies, was appointed editor of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) Status Update Report on Education in the Commonwealth, and served for c. 6 years on the Board of Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) a group of schools which caters to over 15,000 learners throughout Uganda and Zambia.

Ian Douglas, Spear’s 

Co-chair, Expert Advisory Panel

Ian oversees the operations of the Spear’s Research Unit, which produces the industry-leading indices of top wealth managers, lawyers, advisers and service-providers to UHNWs. Trained as a journalist, Ian was a key member of the Telegraph newspaper’s multi-award-winning team that reported the MPs expenses scandal. He is former head of digital at the Spectator and worked on a major digitisation project in a role at the British Library. He is also the author of Is Technology Making Us Sick?, a book about the impact of the digital age on health and wellbeing.

Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Independent Schools Association

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Rudolf has been serving as CEO of the Independent Schools Association (ISA) since September 2020. Prior to joining ISA, he was CEO of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, the subject association for Religious Education in schools. He was previously deputy general secretary at the Independent Schools Council, where he also ran the research department. He has been a governor at a foundation of independent schools, and has researched the experience of Jewish pupils at independent schools.

Sioban O’Connor, Debrett’s Education

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Sioban is a founding partner at Debrett’s Education, an education consultancy offering expert advice to families looking to access UK independent education, from pre-prep to university, and part of Debrett’s, a British professional coaching company, publisher, and authority on etiquette and behaviour, founded in 1769. Sioban has over 30 years of experience of British Independent/Private Schools.

Johanna Mitchell, Lumos Education

Johanna Mitchell

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Johanna Mitchell is an experienced education consultant and linguist, and founder and director of Lumos Education. Passionate about helping young people, she assists London, UK and international families to find the best fit nursery, school or university for their children.  Focused on the importance of global mobility, Johanna has a deep knowledge of international education systems and how to transition between them. Prior to launching Lumos Education, Johanna had a career in Whitehall. Her roles included advising on the accession of the 10 EU countries to the European Union in 2004, promoting UK science on the global stage and managing the UK-China and UK-South Africa bilateral science funds. She was headhunted in 2005 to run a small, private school for the Lawn Tennis Association to enable Junior Wimbledon players to balance their tennis careers with an academic education. 

Grace Moody-Stuart, Good Schools Guide

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Grace is director of the Good Schools Guide Education Consultants and has worked for the Guide for 20 years. She graduated from Cambridge with a Classics degree.  After a 10-year career at the Bar, specialising in pensions and childcare, Grace taught Classics at Sussex House School for 7 years, where she was assistant director of studies responsible for senior school transfer. She has long and wide-ranging experience of advising parents about schools and education, working with families with children of all different ages.  

James Mitchell, Think Tutors

James Mitchell

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

A graduate of the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, James Mitchell is a co-founder and executive director of Think Tutors, an elite professional tuition and education advisory service. Mitchell is an expert on institutional admissions. With more than 10 years of professional tutoring and mentoring experience (ranging from the pre-test at 11+ through to postgraduate level), Mitchell has developed a network of connections within the education sector, which he wields to help his clients. He forms close relationships with UHNW families in the UK and abroad, forming a bespoke strategy and actionable approach for each.

Harriet Brook, Keystone Tutors

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Harriet serves as head of consultancy at Keystone Tutors, providing families with advice surrounding UK school and university selection, and a reliable, objective outlook covering the whole scope of the contemporary educational experience. She studied History of Art and Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating Harriet spent a year working in Shanghai, where she taught English at the pioneering international school, YK Pao. Harriet returned from China in 2010 and started working at MPW London (a leading sixth form college), where she was director of studies and Easter revision course director. Harriet also worked at MPW, during which time she built up extensive knowledge of the UK education system and university application process, helping hundreds of students through their A levels and university applications. This included serving as international director of studies, travelling around China to advise international families on their UK school and university options. 

Christopher Rim, Command Education

Christopher Rim

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Christopher Rim is the founder and CEO of Command Education, a premier education and admissions consultancy based in New York City and Miami. Prior to founding Command Education in 2015, Christopher worked on building inspirED at Facebook in partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Christopher has served on multiple advisory boards including Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and panels such as the Emotion Revolution at Yale, HackHarassment by Intel, and World Internet Conference in Shanghai. He is also a senior contributor for Forbes, where he writes about emotionally intelligent leadership and education. Christopher earned his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University, using his research to develop his EQ-driven, near-peer mentoring approach. As the founder of Command Education, Christopher has been recognized on Forbes’ 30 Under 30. He received President Obama’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was named to Luce’s Young Global Leaders and People Magazine’s ‘Heroes Among Us.’

Daniel O’Brien, Thuso

Daniel O’Brien

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Daniel O’Brien, a senior consultant at Thuso, was educated at Charterhouse, the University of Cambridge and the UCL Institute of Education. He has taught at a range of institutions in the UK, in Europe, and in the Middle East, and has published highly innovative research on the use of augmented reality in mathematics education. He is currently based between the Middle East, Europe, and the United Kingdom. He has extensive experience of working with family offices and HNW individuals. Before establishing his career as an educationalist he worked in a range of senior roles in the pharmaceuticals industry, including at AstraZeneca, and Merck.

Patricia Vlad, Thuso

Patricia Vlad

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Patricia Vlad, a senior consultant at Thuso, was schooled at Concord, where she was head girl, and then studied for her BA at Cambridge, and a PGCE at the UCL Institute of Education, as well as undertaking studies with Harvard. She has worked in education in the UK, China, Dubai (where she was head of operations for a leading educational consultancy, working with prominent families and HNW individuals throughout the region), and then Singapore, where she is currently based, having served in leadership roles in a range of leading schools, as well as continuing work with private clients. She is also an IB examiner, and has been listed in Forbes’ 30 under 30.

Timothy Leddy

Timothy Leddy

Member, Expert Advisory Panel

Timothy Leddy was schooled at Regis, one of the leading schools in New York, and then read for his undergraduate degree at Magdalen College, Oxford. He has also undertaken studies at Harvard and Chicago. He supported the establishment and operations of a new school for an American family office, and has worked extensively with private clients in New York applying to highly competitive schools and universities, on which he is a leading expert.

The structure of Spear’s Schools Index profiles

Each school profiled in the Spear’s Schools Index has a ranking:

  • Top Flight indicates that a school is one of the 100 leading private schools in the world, according to the assessment of the Spear’s Research Unit, our partners at Thuso, and the expert panel of educationalists assembled to create the Spear’s Schools Index
  • Top Recommended indicates a very high-calibre school that is just outside the top 100
  • Partner indicates that a school is a commercial partner of the Spear’s Schools Index and has been profiled on this basis

Spear’s Schools Index profiles include – where available – details about the unique character of the school (‘focus’) and information about fees, academic attainment, and the number and age range of pupils.

The ‘Spear’s Review’ section of the profiles is intended as a short digest about the school and has been prepared by the Spear’s Research Unit based on information supplied by the schools themselves, interviews with school representatives, the insight and knowledge of the expert panel, and third-party data from reliable sources.

Schools included in the Spear’s Schools Index have the opportunity to enhance their profile by adding further elements such as images, video, contact details and additional information on certain parts of their approach and offering. Enhanced profiles are available for a fee.

The Spear’s Schools Index is committed to providing the best quality information to its readers and users. Therefore, commercial partnerships never influence a school’s ranking or the makeup of the top 100.

Contact the Spear’s Schools Index

Representatives of schools that wish to update their profile or find out more about the index can contact: research@spearswms.com

For commercial enquires and enhanced profiles, contact: shady.elkholy@spearswms.com

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