View all newsletters
Have the short, sharp Spear's newsletter delivered to your inbox each week
  1. Private Schools
February 16, 2024

The most expensive schools in Britain: from Eton to Gordonstoun

These schools, featured in the Spear's Schools Index 2024, all charge more than $60,000 a year

By Livia Giannotti

If there is one thing many HNW families will agree on, it’s that you can’t put a price on education. That’s why the 10 elite boarding schools below remain eternally popular, despite being among the most expensive schools in Britain.

[See also: The most expensive private schools in the European Union]

Every year, the Spears School Index recognises the 100 best schools in the world, from Abu Dhabi to New York. But it is not a coincidence that Britain remains one of the predominant destinations for elite education, as its longstanding tradition of private boarding schools has shaped generations of world-class leaders.

Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

While the quality of education is determined by more than just fees, they can often be an indicator of high-end private teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and exclusive activities. Each of these 10 schools can charge more than $60,000 a year.

[See also: Are advanced fee payment schemes a way to avoid Labour’s proposed private school VAT levy?]

The reality is that the most expensive boarding schools in Britain might become even pricier in the coming months. Sir Keir Starmer has indicated he would consider levying VAT on private school fees if Labour wins the next general election, meaning fees could be hiked by 20 per cent.

These are the 10 most expensive British boarding schools in the Spear’s Schools Index 2024, presented in partnership with Thuso:

The UK’s most expensive boarding schools

Concord College: $68,500 per year

With 40 nationalities represented among students, Concord College has a strong international community in the heart of the British countryside. As a majority of students come from outside the UK or have grown up in international settings, the boarding school has a particular emphasis on creating a home away from home.

The dedication to pupils’ personal and social development does not come at the expense of academic excellence. With an average class size of 12, students are encouraged to reach the school’s high standards and consistently rank among the top – in 2023, 90 per cent of GCSE grades were 7 or more.

Brighton College: up to $67,000 per year

Brighton College on a glorious sunny day
Brighton College is among the most expensive boarding schools in Britain

Its commitment to turning out well-educated, intellectually curious and kind pupils explains why Brighton College is regularly placed top of UK academic tables. Inclusivity is key and the individual is celebrated – motivated self-starters do well here. The progressive philosophy of learning that is adopted also makes it a place where students can discover and reach excellence in artistic disciplines such as music, dance and drama.

Cheltenham Ladies’ College: up to $64,500 per year

Although highly academic, Cheltenham Ladies’ College passionately believes that education is about more than just grades – it is about shaping the person you will become and empowering a generation of young women. The extensive co-curricular programmes offer plenty of opportunities to develop the skills that pupils will need to be well-rounded, self-confident girls, and to believe that nothing is beyond their reach. The school is strong on sport and design, with alumni including British fashion designers Amanda Wakeley and Katharine Hamnett

Sevenoaks: up to $64,200 per year

One of the largest International Baccalaureate schools in the world, Sevenoaks was the first British institution to adopt the IB programme, with stunning results – 57% scored above 40 last year, compared to the world average of 30. Sevenoaks pioneers an international approach, mixing traditional values with innovative learning, all set within a leafy campus close to London. This school values an ethos of service and remains very committed to its local roots and history – even with its international community.

Harrow School: $63,800 per year

Pupils in boaters at Harrow School
Students at Harrow between classes / Image: Getty

Steeped in tradition, Harrow is one of Britain’s best-known schools. Its guiding ethos – that ‘success should be measured not by grades but by one’s influence on the world’ – is delivered by encouraging within its students a love of learning, an ability to lead and the chance to serve, as befits the alma mater of alumnus Winston Churchill.
Harrow is also known to provide students with a like-minded community for life, with frequent alumni gatherings and continued traditions.

Eton College: $63,600 per year

Eton, a leading British private boarding school
Eton College (pictured) is arguably the most famous boarding school in Britain – and is one of the most expensive / Image: Shutterstock

Eton’s esteemed reputation precedes it, and it only seems right. While academic achievements are highly valued, Eton looks for that ‘little bit extra’ that makes a boy stand out. The school day is long and demanding but the opportunities on offer are outstanding. Leavers progress to the top UK universities and institutions, and there are growing numbers heading to the Ivy League. Eton’s cherished principles of camaraderie and excellence are embodied by the first-class sporting facilities that are available to students, including 40 football pitches, 19 cricket pitches and 50 tennis courts.

Westminster School: $62,500 per year

Westminster School in London
Westminster School in London is a leader in UK education

Nestled within the shadow of Westminster Abbey, the school inhabits some of London’s original medieval buildings. As an academically selective school, Westminster School demands intellectual risk-taking from its pupils, who are encouraged to learn for the sake of learning, not just to pass exams. Curiosity and open-mindedness are at the heart of the school’s spirit.
Results are outstanding at the institution, with a high percentage of pupils securing Oxbridge or Ivy League places.

Winchester College: $62,500 per year

Winchester College is one of the most popular boarding schools in Britain / Image: Getty

Intellectual rigour is the hallmark of a Winchester education, the scholarly atmosphere offering ‘an adventure for curious minds’. Boys – and now sixth-form girls – develop a love of learning, exploring ideas and making connections. The school’s values of curiosity, foresight and leadership, along with its motto ‘‘Manners Makyth Man’, are at the heart of the educational approach since its foundation in 1382.

Winchester College places a strong emphasis on community outreach. It regularly encourages students to get involved in initiatives such as volunteering in medical wards for patient care, visiting local nursing homes and working for homelessness charities.

Gordonstoun: up to $62,300 per year

This full boarding school, located on the coast in the north-east of Scotland, is a pioneer in holistic education. Gordonstoun‘s founder, Kurt Hahn, believed in preparing pupils for life, not just exams, and learning comes as much from expeditions like sailing the school yacht around Skye and being involved in local services as it does from classroom teaching.
From adventure activities to a popular drama department, the school offers a curriculum that broadens minds as well as opportunities and focuses chiefly on raising resilient young adults.

Wellington College: $61,800 per year

This hugely popular school, set within 400 leafy acres in Berkshire, is proud of its history and heritage, but also of its modern perspective. One of the first schools to embrace mindfulness and establish a Mandarin centre, Wellington College has exported its ethos of respect, integrity and courage to six sister schools across the world.
Wellington is particularly committed to the physical and psychological well-being of its students, with notably a happiness course in its curriculum and healthy eating as one of its main priorities.

Content from our partners
Stoneweg, Icona, and CBH Strengthen Partnership with Cromwell Acquisition, Adding €4 Billion AUM to Stoneweg
Why investors should consider investing in nature
HSBC Global Private Banking: Revisiting your wealth plan as uncertainty abounds

Topics in this article : ,
Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network