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A guide to private schools in Hertfordshire

Local guide

Jan 31, 2023, 1:16 PM

A complete guide to private schools in Hertfordshire

Contents

Are you considering a private secondary school in the county of Hertfordshire for your child's education? Find out everything you need to know about selective fee-paying schools north of London, including:

  • Day and boarding schools

  • Single-sex, co-educational and diamond schools

  • An outline of the admissions processes

  • Academic results and league table rankings


What are the best private schools in Hertfordshire?

Every year in December, The Sunday Times Parent Power releases its league table for all schools in the country based on their recent exam results. Not all schools provide their data to the publication, but the following 5 private secondary schools were ranked the best in Hertfordshire for 2023:

  1. The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School

  2. Merchant Taylors' School

  3. St Albans School

  4. St Albans High School for Girls

  5. Berkhamsted School

The top 10 private schools in England


How much do private schools cost in Hertfordshire?

The fees for private education in Hertfordshire do vary between schools, but it’s worth noting that they are generally some of the most expensive in the country. Many schools in Hertfordshire have different finance brackets for their senior school year groups, where pupils in Years 7 and 8 (and sometimes Year 9) pay slightly lower fees than older years.

Day fees for private schools in Hertfordshire cost range between £5,538 and £9,440 per term (£7,000 is the average termly tuition cost). The fees for weekly boarding vary between £8,549 and £10,500 for younger pupils, while full boarding can range between £8,615 and £12,525 (although in excess of £11,000 is typical for full boarding in Hertfordshire).

Sherrardswood School in Welwyn has the lowest independent school fees in Hertfordshire for day education, while Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood is the most expensive. We’ve included the fees for all the independent senior schools in Hertfordshire below.

Free parent webinars for entry to independent schools

What is included in the school fees?

School fees always include the cost of teaching, and often include textbooks, materials and extracurricular activities. Some schools include the cost of lunch in their fees, while others charge for this separately (normally around £300 per term, per child). Most schools charge separately for entry to public exams (e.g. GCSEs and A levels).

Before registering your child with a school, we recommend that you check the school website and admissions policy in detail to find out what the school fees cover, as well as any additional payments you will have to make. You will normally need to pay a registration fee on application (typically £100–£300) which is often non-refundable, and a refundable deposit when you accept a school place.

Help with school fees in Hertfordshire

Most private schools in Hertfordshire offer financial assistance to pupils who meet their entrance criteria. The two main types of financial assistance are bursaries and scholarships. Sibling discounts are available at a few schools, with some also offering discounted fees for children of parents in HM Forces.

Bursaries

Most private schools in Hertfordshire provide means-tested financial assistance in the form of bursaries. These are offered on a sliding scale, meaning that children from households with a lower income are eligible for more assistance than those with a higher income.

Many independent schools in Hertfordshire offer bursaries that cover up to 100% of tuition fees. Some schools offer additional assistance, such as help with the cost of school uniforms, lunch, transport and extracurricular activities, to pupils who receive 100% bursaries.

If you think you might be eligible for a bursary for a particular school, you will need to supply detailed financial evidence. You may also be visited at home by a professional appointed by the school to assess your financial circumstances.

Scholarships

Scholarships are awards offered to prospective pupils who demonstrate exceptional talent in the school’s entrance exam (normally an academic scholarship), or in an extracurricular area (e.g. art, dance, design technology, drama, music, sport etc).

Most private schools in Hertfordshire offer scholarships, and many of these carry fee remission of around 10% of the school fees. Higher-value scholarships are available at Haberdashers’ Girls’ School (music scholarships carry fee remission of 25%–50%) and St Albans School.

If your child is applying for a scholarship, they will usually need to complete additional testing and an interview, alongside the main entrance process. They will also need to maintain a high standard in the area to which their scholarship applies throughout their time at the school.

Sibling discounts

Many private schools in Hertfordshire offer discounted fees (normally around 5% remission) to the second or third or subsequent siblings, on the basis that they are enrolled in the school at the same time.

The schools offering sibling discounts in Hertfordshire are Abbot’s Hill, Queenswood, Royal Masonic School for Girls, St Albans School, St Columba’s College and Tring School for the Performing Arts.


How can I help my child prepare for entry to a private school in Hertfordshire?

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Girls’ selective private schools in Hertfordshire

Abbot’s Hill School

Day-only education in Hemel Hempstead for girls aged 0 to 16.

  • Address: Abbot’s Hill School, Bunkers Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 7RP

  • Number of students: 517

  • Sixth form: no

  • Religious affiliation: Christian

  • Fees per term: £6,984 (Years 7 and 8), £7,026 per term (Years 9–11)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries (joint net income of less than £40,000), academic, art, drama, music, and sport scholarships (5–10% discount), and 5% sibling discount (second child and subsequent children)

  • GCSE results (2022): 63.3% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 6 (out of independent secondary 11–16 schools)

  • 11+ entry process: ISEB Common Pre-Test, interview and school reference

  • Open day: September

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to Abbot’s Hill School

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Haberdashers’ Girls’ School

Day-only education in Elstree for girls aged 11 to 18.

  • Address: Haberdashers’ Girls’ School, Aldenham Road, Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 3BT

  • Number of students: 1,161

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Christian

  • Fees per term: £7,172

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries (sliding scale of up to 100% for total assessable household gross income below £85,000), academic scholarships (up to 30%), art, creative writing, drama and sports scholarships (10%) and music scholarships (25–50%)

  • A level results (2022): 96.4% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 91.9% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: not provided

  • 11+ entry process: entrance exam, interview and school reference

  • Open day: throughout the autumn term

Admissions guide for Haberdashers' Girls' School

Queenswood

Day and boarding education in Hatfield for girls aged 11 to 18.

  • Address: Queenswood, Shepherd’s Way, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL9 6NS

  • Number of students: 443

  • Sixth form: no

  • Religious affiliation: Methodist

  • Fees per term: £7,660 (day fees for Years 7 and 8), £8,610/£9,390 (weekly/full boarding for Years 7 and 8), £8,925 (day fees for Years 9–13), £11,360/£12,800 (weekly/full boarding for Years 9–13). Lunch is included in all fees.

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%, 5% sibling discount (third and subsequent siblings), 15% discount for full-time members of His Majesty’s Regular Armed Forces and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and music scholarships with a small fee remission (all other scholarships are honorary only).

  • A level results (2022): 68.2% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 62.5% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 284

  • 11+ entry process: ISEB Common Entrance plus verbal reasoning paper at the school, OR the school’s own entrance exams

  • Open day: October and March

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to Queenswood

St Albans High School (STAHS)

Day-only education in St Albans for girls aged 4 to 18.

  • Address: St Albans High School for Girls, Townsend Avenue, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3SJ

  • Number of students: 1,153

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Christian

  • Fees per term: £6,915. Lunch is an additional £280 per term (or £6.00 on a daily basis).

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and academic, music and sport scholarships (10%)

  • A level results (2022): 92.7% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 90.5% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 52

  • 11+ entry process: ISEB Common Pre-Test, creative writing task, taster lesson, team activities and interview

  • Open day: October and November

Admissions guide for St Albans High School

St Francis’ College

Day education in Letchworth Garden City for girls aged 3 to 19 and boarding for girls aged 11 to 19.

  • Address: St Francis’ College, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6 3PJ

  • Number of students: 312

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £6,400 (day pupils), £12,060 (full boarding)

  • Financial assistance: academic scholarships (10–20%) and art, dance, drama, music, and sports scholarships (10%)

  • A level results (2022): 86% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 75% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 126

  • 11+ entry process: entrance exam, interview and school reference

  • Open day: October

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to St Francis’ College

The Royal Masonic School for Girls

Day education in Rickmansworth for girls aged 2 to 19 and boarding for girls aged 8 to 19.

  • Address: The Royal Masonic School for Girls, Rickmansworth Park, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 4HF

  • Number of students: 953

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £6,590 (day pupils in Years 7 and 8), £6,620 (day pupils in Years 9 and 10), £6,685 (day pupils in Years 12 and 13), £11,730 (full boarding for all year groups)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%, academic, art, drama, music and sports scholarships (up to 25), 5% sibling discount for second and subsequent siblings, and 10% discount for full-time members of HM Forces and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

  • A level results (2022): 76% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 49% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 274

  • 11+ entry process: CEM Select online assessment, creative writing task, and group discussion with the head of senior school and head of Year 7

  • Open day: October

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to The Royal Masonic School for Girls


Boys’ selective private schools in Hertfordshire

Haberdashers’ Boys’ School

Day-only education in Elstree for boys aged 11 to 18.

  • Address: Haberdashers’ Boys’ School, Butterfly Lane, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3AF

  • Number of students: 1,135

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Christian

  • Fees per term: £7,553

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries (sliding scale of up to 100% for total assessable household gross income below £85,000), academic scholarships (10–20%), and art, drama, and music scholarships (10%)

  • A level results (2022): 95.9% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 94.4% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 19

  • 11+ entry process: online exam and interview

  • Open day: October

Admissions guide for Haberdashers' Boys' School

Merchant Taylors’ School

Day-only education in Northwood for boys aged 11 to 18.

  • Address: Merchant Taylors’ School, Sandy Lodge, Northwood, Hertfordshire, HA6 2HT

  • Number of students: 946

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £7,080 (summer and spring terms), £9,440 (autumn term). School fees include the cost of lunch

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%, and non-means-tested scholarships (academic, all-rounder, art, drama, design, technology and engineering, music, and sport) up to 25%

  • A level results (2022): 94.2% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 92.6% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 33

  • 11+ entry process: entrance exam, interview and school reference

  • Open day: September and May

Admissions guide for Merchant Taylors' School

St Albans School

Day-only education in St Albans for boys aged 11 to 18 with a co-educational sixth form.

  • Address: St Albans School, Abbey Gateway, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL3 4HB

  • Number of students: 906

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £7,094

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%, scholarships (academic, art, music, and sport) normally at 10% but up to 50% in exceptional circumstances, and a 5% sibling discount

  • A level results (2022): 93.2% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 92.7% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 41

  • 11+ entry process: entrance exam, interview and group activities

  • Open day: October and November

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to St Albans School


Co-educational selective private schools in Hertfordshire

Aldenham School

Day education in Elstree for boys and girls aged 3 to 19 and boarding for boys and girls aged 13 to 19.

  • Address: Aldenham School, Aldenham Road, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3AJ

  • Number of students: 823

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £6,267 (day pupils in Years 7 and 8), £8,308 (day pupils in Years 9 and beyond), £12,372 (full boarders – Year 9 and above only)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries and non-means-tested scholarships (academic, art, design technology, music, and sport)

  • A level results (2022): 60% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 36% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 371

  • 11+ entry process: entrance exam, interview and school report

  • Open day: October

Bishop’s Stortford College

Day and boarding education in Bishop’s Stortford for boys and girls aged 13 to 18.

  • Address: Bishop’s Stortford College, School House, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 2PQ

  • Number of students: 621

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £7,423 (day pupils in Years 9–11), £12,176 (full UK boarders in Years 9–11), £7,454 (day pupils in Years 12 and 13), £12,207 (full UK boarders in Years 12 and 13)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries from 5%–100%, non-means-tested scholarships (academic, music, art and sport) and 90% discount on full boarding places for British Forces families qualifying for CEA

  • A level results (2022): 85.2% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 76% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 128

  • 13+ entry process: entrance exam and school reference

  • Open day: autumn term

Admissions information for Bishop’s Stortford College

Haileybury

Day and boarding education in Hertford for boys and girls aged 11 to 18.

  • Address: Haileybury, London Road, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 7NU

  • Number of students: 903

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £6,595–£9,920 (lower-senior day fees), £8,615–£13,580 (lower-senior boarding fees)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries (up to 100% in exceptional circumstances) and non-means-tested scholarships (academic, music and sport)

  • A level results (2022): 86.3% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 77.9% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 115

  • 11+ entry process: interview, written test papers, online CAT test, school report and school reference

  • Open day: October and November

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to Haileybury

Immanuel College

Day-only education in Bushey for boys and girls aged 4 to 18.

  • Address: Immanuel College, 87/91 Elstree Road, Bushey, Hertfordshire, WD23 4EB

  • Number of students: 684

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Jewish

  • Fees per term: £7,012. Lunch is an additional cost of £343 per term

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries and non-means-tested scholarships (academic, Jewish life and learning, art and music)

  • A level results (2022): 85.4% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 71.2% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 143

  • 11+ entry process: entrance exam and small group interviews with questions and team-based problem-solving

  • Open day: October

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to Immanuel College

Sherrardswood School

Day-only education in Welwyn for boys and girls aged 2 to 19.

  • Address: Sherrardswood School, Lockleys, Welwyn, Hertfordshire, AL6 0BJ

  • Number of students: 488

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £5,538 (Years 7 and 8), £5,980 (Years 9 and above). Fees include school lunch

  • Financial assistance: no

  • A level results (2022): 45% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 28.5% A*/A/B/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 399

  • 11+ entry process: not disclosed

  • Open day: contact admissions to arrange a visit

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to Sherrardswood School

St Christopher School (St Chris)

Day education in Letchworth Garden City for boys and girls aged 3 to 18, and boarding education for boys and girls aged 11 to 18.

  • Address: St Christopher School, Barrington Road, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6 3JZ

  • Number of students: 511

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £6,827 (day pupils), £9,258 (weekly boarders), £11,826 (full boarders)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries and non-means-tested scholarships (academic and art) of 10%

  • A level results (2022): 72% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 41% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: not disclosed

  • 11+ entry process: online CAT test, school’s own English paper and interview

  • Open day: October and April

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to St Christopher School

St Columba’s College

Day-only education in St Albans for boys and girls aged 4 to 18.

  • Address: St Columba’s College, King Harry Lane, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL3 4AW

  • Number of students: 786

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Roman Catholic

  • Fees per term: £5,983

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries, minor scholarships (academic and music) at 10%, major scholarships (academic and music) at 15%, and sibling discount (3% for the second child, 4% for the third child, and 5% for the fourth child)

  • A level results (2022): 78.3% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 69% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 194

  • 11+ entry process: CEM Select online test , interview, school reference and school report

  • Open day: November

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to St Columba’s College

St Edmund’s College

Day education in Ware for boys and girls aged 3 to 18 and boarding for boys and girls aged 11 to 18.

  • Address: St Edmund’s College, Old Hall Green, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG11 1DS

  • Number of students: 889

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Roman Catholic

  • Fees per term: £6,164 (day pupils in Years 7 and 8), £8,549–£10,255 (weekly–full boarding in Years 7 and 8), £6,647 (day pupils in Year 9 and above), £9,628–£11,672 (weekly–full boarding in Years 9 and above)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%, and scholarships (academic, all-rounder, art/design technology, music, and sport) up to 20%

  • A level results (2022): 73.9% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 44.2% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 300

  • 11+ entry process: CEM Select online assessment, interview, and school report

  • Open day: October

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to St Edmund’s College

St Margaret’s School, Bushey

Day education in Bushey for boys and girls aged 3 to 18 and boarding for boys for boys and girls aged 11 to 19.

  • Address: St Margaret’s School, Merry Hill Road, Bushey, Hertfordshire, WD23 1DT

  • Number of students: 552

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England/interdenominational

  • Fees per term: £6,423 (day pupils), £8,907–12,225 (weekly–full boarding)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries and non-means-tested scholarships (mostly honorary, but some carry fee-remission) in academia, art, drama, music, STEM, and sport.

  • A level results (2022): 68.1% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 62% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 289

  • 11+ entry process: entrance exam, interview, taster session, school report and school reference

  • Open day: September and June

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to St Margaret’s School

The Purcell School for Young Musicians

A specialist music school in Watford. The school offers day and boarding education for boys and girls aged 9 to 19.

  • Address: The Purcell School for Young Musicians, Aldenham Road, Bushey, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD23 2TS

  • Number of students: 183

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £9,014 (day pupils), £11,509 (boarding pupils)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% through the Department for Education’s Music and Dance Scheme (available on a sliding scale up to a household income of £200,000).

  • A level results (2022): 66.7% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 66.7% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 278

  • Entry process: written recommendation from current music teacher and evidence of a recent performance

  • Open day: October

Admissions information for entry to The Purcell School for Young Musicians

Tring School for the Performing Arts

A specialist performing arts school in Tring. The school offers day education for boys and girls aged 7 to 19 and boarding for boys and girls aged 8 to 18.

  • Address: Tring School for the Performing Arts, Mansion Drive, Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 5LX

  • Number of students: 361

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England/interdenominational

  • Fees per term: £7,640 (day pupils in Years 7–9), £11,940 (boarders in Years 7–9), £7,755 (day pupils in Years 10–11), £12,125 (boarders in Years 10–11), £8,585 (day pupils in Years 12–13), £12,970 (boarders in Years 12–13)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested hardship bursaries (where applicable), scholarships (theatre arts, performance foundation, acting, musical theatre, and commercial music) at 10%, means-tested music & dance scheme awards (household income must be less than £183,000), means-tested dance & drama awards (household income must be less than £90,000), sibling discount (10%), and Forces discounts (exact remission undisclosed).

  • A level results (2022): 73.5% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 43.6% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 308

  • 11+ entry process: online screening form and entrance audition

  • Open day: none published

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to Tring School for the Performing Arts


Diamond schools in Hertfordshire

Berkhamsted School

Day education in Berkhamsted for boys and girls aged 3 to 18 and boarding for boys and girls aged 13 to 18. Boys and girls are taught separately from the age of 7 to 16 as part of the school’s diamond structure.

  • Address: Berkhamsted School, Overton House, 133 High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 2DJ

  • Number of students: 1,965

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £6,325 (day pupils in Years 7–8), £7,725 (day pupils in Years 9 and above), £10,500–£12,525 (weekly–full boarding in Years 9 and above)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and non-means-tested scholarships at 10% fee-remission (academic, art, drama, music, and sport)

  • A level results (2022): 89.6% A*/A/B

  • GCSE results (2022): 75% A*/A/9/8/7

  • League table national rank: 101

  • 11+ entry process: interview, ISEB Common Pre-Test, and school reference

  • Open day: 2023 dates yet to be confirmed

Admissions information for 11 plus entry to Berkhamsted School


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