boarding schools in the UK
Oxford International College is a co-ed independent school based in Oxford and has teachers who are alumni from Oxford University. Source: Shutterstock

With state-of-the-art facilities, skydiving clubs, teachers with multiple qualifications and a cohort made of the progeny of the rich and famous, today’s boarding schools in the UK look very different from their origins as charity schools run by the lone literate cleric in monasteries during medieval times. As for the fees, they can be eye-wateringly expensive.

In Switzerland, the Institut auf dem Rosenberg in St Gallen charges US$150,000 for tuition and boarding fees — the most costly in the European nation. In the US, the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York charges the highest tuition (US$72,000).

In the UK, boarding schools have a reputation for producing the movers and shakers of tomorrow. Perhaps you’ve heard of the award-winning actress, Dame Kristin Ann Scott Thomas? She attended Cheltenham Ladies College. Bazid Khan, a commentator and former cricketer, comes from a family of famous people who played cricket. He attended Brighton College from 1998 to 2000. Zeinal Bava, an award-winning European chief financial officer in telecommunications, attended Concord College as a young boy.

Equally well-known as its alumni are its steep price tags. Below we take a look at five of the most expensive boarding schools in the UK for sixth formers. Bear in mind that the estimated median income in the UK is 30,800 pounds in the financial year ending 2020:

Oxford International College

Only founded in 2002, students at this boarding school in the UK are taught by some of Oxford’s finest tutors. Most of them are University of Oxford alumni, including doctorate degree holders. The boarding fee here is 17,100 pounds per term. 

Brighton College

Only a five-minute walk away from the beach is Brighton College. Founded in 1845, this independent and co-educational boarding school is known for its academic strengths — 49% of their A Levels 2020 grades were A*. It is also a plastic-free campus. Here, the boarding fee per term is 16,680 pounds. 

boarding schools in the UK

Cheltenham Ladies College in the UK is one of the best all-girl independent boarding schools. Source: Shutterstock

Queen Ethelburga’s College

Founded in 1912, this school is another independent and co-educational institution. Students at this school are taught skills such as community and teamwork, creativity and leadership. Each new pupil is assigned a mentor. Per term, the boarding fee here is 16,625 pounds.

Concord College

Throughout 80 acres, this boarding school blends modern buildings with 18th century and medieval architecture. Established in 1949, this institution is an intellectual powerhouse that boasts 85% A Levels 2020 A* and A grades. Here, the boarding fee per term is set at 15,000 pounds per term. 

Cheltenham Ladies College

One of the best known all-girl independent boarding schools in the UK is Cheltenham Ladies College. For more than 160 years, this institution is a pioneer in empowering education for girls. It achieved a stellar A Levels performance in 2020 — more than half of all grades were A*. The boarding fee here is 14,390 pounds.