What's the Best Type of Independent School?


1. Is an independent school the same as a private school?
2. What is the difference between an independent school and a private school?
3. What are the main types of independent schools in the UK?
4. What are the best independent schools in the UK?
5. Why do people go to independent schools?
6. What are the benefits of attending an independent school?

Choosing to send your child to an independent school is a big decision. Read on to find out what makes independent schools unique from others and which type of school is right for your child’s future. 

Our independent schools guide will also consider some credible options for the best independent school in the country for your child!

Is an independent school the same as a private school?

UK Private schools and independent schools are not the same but similar to each other as both of them are not funded by the state, but by tuition fees paid by parents. 

What is the difference between an independent school and a private school?

​All independent schools are private schools. 

Though the difference between them is that all independent schools are overseen by a board of governors or trustees, while private schools may be run by a sole owner with no governing body. 

What are the main types of independent schools in the UK?

Some of the major categories of independent and private schools are:

❇️ Pre-Preparatory and Preparatory School

Schools that take students up to age seven are known as pre-preparatory schools. Whereas preparatory school teaches students up to age eleven or thirteen. 

❇️  Senior School And Sixth Form 

This school covers students from when they leave preparatory schools up to the age of sixteen or eighteen. Most senior schools have a sixth form. Though there are also separate sixth form colleges for pupils aged fifteen or older. They specialise in teaching A-Levels and preparing students for University. 

❇️  Curriculum Oriented 

Independent schools can also be categorised based on the curriculum they offer, which includes the National Curriculum, the International Baccalaureate, Pre-U, Scottish Highers, and BTECs. Some schools may offer one or more curriculums.

❇️  Faith Schools

The majority of private schools in the UK are connected to the church, mostly the Church of England. Though there are a large number of Roman Catholic schools, and a handful of Quaker schools. Some independent schools are totally non-denominational. Though these schools welcome students of all faiths.

What are the best independent schools in the UK? 

As per The Telegraph, here are the best independent schools in the UK according to the latest GCSE league tables. 

Below are the top five! 🚀 



A*/A or equivalent (%)



Oxford International College, Oxford




Cardiff Sixth Form College, Cardiff




King's College School (KCS), Wimbledon




Westminster School, Westminster




Concord College, Shrewsbury



Why do people go to independent schools?

Parents often choose an independent school for their kids as they have proven to boost academic success and consequently been beneficial for future careers. Many of these schools also offer special programmes for students with learning disabilities and high-performance students.

What are the benefits of attending an independent school?

👉  Customised learning 

Compared to state schools, the number of pupils in a classroom at independent schools are fewer. 

According to a report by My Top Schools, the average size of an independent senior school class in the UK is eighteen and many schools could even have classes that are smaller!

While the average state secondary school class has twenty-one students and state primary classes could be even larger, with an average of twenty-five children to one teacher.

So educators at independent schools have the advantage of delegating more time and attention to the individual development of each student. ✊ 

Independent schools can also tailor the curriculum for each student. This could mean offering more than one formal exam option that best suits your child’s learning style! 

At GoStudent, with 1:1 private tutoring, we offer a similar customised learning approach for each of our students! 🚀 

This approach becomes an absolute win-win situation for students’ happiness and mental wellbeing.

👉  Boosting digital skills 

The impact of the digital divide can have an adverse effect on a student's education. According to a report by Nesta, it could also leave young people, and the UK economy, poised to fall behind. 

Independent schools are often more equipped to close this divide. They can adopt innovative and emerging forms of technologies for teaching, at a quicker pace than state schools

This will encourage student’s digital creativity – making them more likely to be successful in higher education as well as the future of work. 👊 

 👉  High-quality extracurricular infrastructure 

The best independent school for your child will have more funds for developing high-quality infrastructure for extra-curricular activities than their state counterparts. 

The independent education sector also has the financial means of offering a more diverse variety of sports for students like sailing, horse-riding and golf. ⛵️ 🎠 🏌️‍♂️

This is rarely possible in state schools. 

According to a recent report by the BBC “carving out a successful sporting career [is] more likely in some sports for those who went to an independent school.” 

Regardless of whether or not your kids choose to follow competitive sports as a career, playing sports will help them build their confidence

Similarly, independent schools will also have high-tech performance art studios. This can give students an edge to mould their talent when compared to state pupils.   

👉  Better qualified teachers 

Independent schools are not obliged to hire only those teachers that hold the government-mandated Qualified Teacher Status. 

Moreover, teachers from independent schools are three times more likely to hold Oxbridge degrees than their national counterparts. This means they can give their students a deeper and more nuanced understanding of subjects beyond the prescribed syllabus. ⭐️

👉  Higher university acceptance rate

These many benefits of independent and private schools offer students a better chance of acceptance at the University of their choice. 

According to a recent report that examines the past five years of University statistics, applicants from private or grammar schools represent a majority of applicants to ‘top’ Universities. In fact, only 48% of Cambridge applicants have not attended a private or grammar school. 

Though there is considerable debate that this reveals a socio-economic bias at play. 

However, at GoStudent we believe that whether students go to an independent or state school they are bound to succeed in life with supportive and encouraging parents!  

Every child deserves to fulfil their potential, no matter what school they attend. ❤️

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