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A guide to private schools in Greater Manchester

Region guides
A guide to private schools in Greater Manchester

Contents

Are you considering an independent school in Greater Manchester for your child's secondary education? Find out everything you need to know about private schools in this area of the North West, including:

  • Day and boarding schools

  • Single-sex and mixed schools

Looking for grammar schools in Greater Manchester instead?

What are private schools?

Private schools, known interchangeably as independent schools, are independent of the UK government. This means that they are privately funded by parents. On the other hand, state schools (which include grammar schools, academies and comprehensive schools) are government-funded.

What are the best private schools in Manchester?

Withington Girls' School and Manchester High School for Girls have the best academic results out of all private schools in the area. Withington Girls' School is currently ranked 28th out of UK private schools and Manchester High School for Girls is ranked 63rd.

How much do private schools cost in Manchester?

The fees for private secondary education in Greater Manchester range from £2,328 to £11,119 per term (although most are in the range of £4,000–£4,400). Fees are entirely dependent on the school, including the tuition age range and whether the school offers day or boarding education. The details for each private school in Greater Manchester are included below.

What is included in the school fees?

Private school fees always include the cost of tuition (teaching) and pastoral care, such as on-site medical attention and well-being. The fees often include the cost of textbooks, materials and some extracurricular activities. Some schools include the cost of lunch in their fees, while others charge this as an optional additional cost (normally in the region of £3 per day, per student, or £200–£300 per term). Most schools charge separately for public exams (e.g. GCSEs and A levels).

Make sure to check the school website before registering your child to find out what the school fees include, as well as any other additional payments. You will likely need to pay a non-refundable fee upon registration (normally £100–£300) and if your child is offered a place, you will need to pay a refundable deposit on acceptance (usually equal to a term's fees). This information will be included in the school's admissions policy.

Help with independent school fees

Many private schools offer financial assistance to children who meet their entrance criteria. The two main types of financial assistance are bursaries and scholarships:

Bursaries in Greater Manchester Independent Schools

Bursaries are means-tested financial assistance offered to children as a discount on their school fees. They are usually offered on a sliding scale, meaning that children from lower-income households are eligible for more funding than those from families with a higher combined income. Bursaries are grants, not loans – they do not need to be repaid to the school.

Most Greater Manchester independent schools offer at least partial bursaries, with some offering up to 100% discount on school fees for families with a particularly low household income. Some schools may also offer extra assistance to cover the additional costs of private education, such as school uniforms, lunches, transport and extracurricular activities.

If you meet the school's eligibility criteria and you would like to apply for a bursary, you will normally need to complete a separate application form and provide detailed financial evidence of your income and assets. You may receive a home visit from a professional appointed by the school to assess your personal financial circumstances.

Scholarships in Greater Manchester Independent Schools

Scholarships are awards offered to candidates at independent schools who demonstrate exceptional talent in a particular discipline, such as academia, art and design, drama and performing arts, music, and sport.

Most are financial awards, although an increasing number of schools are making their scholarships honorary-only so that they can fund more bursaries for children with a financial need. Regardless of the value of the award, all scholarships are non-means-tested (parental income is irrelevant). If scholarships do offer a financial award, this is often small (typically 10% but up to 50% in some circumstances). For schools that offer both bursaries and scholarships, it is usually possible for a candidate to qualify for both.

If your son or daughter is applying for a scholarship, you will need to complete a scholarship application in addition to the main registration form. Shortlisted candidates will often be invited to an assessment, interview or audition alongside the general 11+ entrance process. They will need to maintain a standard in their chosen discipline throughout their time at the school to retain their scholarship.

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How to prepare for entry to a private school in Greater Manchester

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Girls' schools in Greater Manchester

There are three girls-only independent senior schools in Greater Manchester:

Bolton School Girls' Division

  • Address: Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4PA

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: girls only, 7–18

  • Number of students: 1,170

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,324 (includes lunch)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and non-means-tested scholarships

  • National league table rank: 178

  • 2022 GCSE results: 68.8% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 80.8% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: exam (English, maths and non-verbal reasoning), interview and current headteacher's report

Admissions information for Bolton School Girls' Division

Manchester High School for Girls

  • Address: Grangethorpe Road, Manchester, M14 6HS

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: girls only, 4–18

  • Number of students: 983

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,410

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and non-means-tested scholarships up to 50% (academic, music, sport and dance)

  • National league table rank: 63

  • 2022 GCSE results: 80.7% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 95.2% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: exam (maths, comprehension, reasoning and essay writing), interview and reference from the candidate's current headteacher

Admissions information for Manchester High School for Girls

Withington Girls' School

  • Address: 100 Wellington Road, Manchester, M14 6BL

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: girls only, 7–18

  • Number of pupils: 720

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £4,593 (includes lunch)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%

  • National league table rank: 28

  • 2022 GCSE results: 93.3% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 94.9% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: exam (English, maths and verbal reasoning) and interview

Admissions information for Withington Girls' School


Boys' schools in Greater Manchester

There are three boys-only independent senior schools in Greater Manchester:

Bolton School Boys' Division

  • Address: Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4PA

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: boys only, 7–18

  • Number of students: 988

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,324 (includes lunch)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and non-means-tested scholarships

  • National league table rank: 225

  • 2022 GCSE results: 65.2% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 74.7% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: exam (English, maths and non-verbal reasoning), interview and current headteacher's report

Admissions information for Bolton School Boys' Division

The Manchester Grammar School

  • Address: Old Hall Lane, Manchester, M13 0XT

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: boys only, 7–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,668

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £4,660

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%

  • National league table rank: 87

  • 2022 GCSE results: 88.2% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 85.7% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: assessment day (maths lesson, topic-based lesson, group activities and creative writing task), entrance exam (English and arithmetic) and reference from the candidate's current school

Admissions information for The Manchester Grammar School

Kassim Darwish Grammar School for Boys

  • Address: Alexandra Road South, Manchester, M16 8NH

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: boys only, 11–16

  • Number of pupils: 125

  • Sixth form: no

  • Religious affiliation: Islamic

  • Fees per term: £2,398

  • Financial assistance: sibling discount (15% for second sibling and 25% discount for subsequent siblings)

  • National league table rank: not provided

  • GCSE results (2019): 80% grades 9–4 (A*–C)

  • 11+ entry process: exam (English and maths), interview and report from the boy's current school

Admissions information for Kassim Darwish Grammar School for Boys


Co-educational schools in Greater Manchester

There are six co-educational (mixed-sex) independent secondary schools in Greater Manchester:

Beech House School

  • Address: 184 Manchester Road, Rochdale, OL11 4JQ

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: co-educational, 2–16

  • Number of pupils: 177

  • Sixth form: no

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £2,383

  • Financial assistance: no

  • National league table rank: not provided

  • GCSE results (2021): 100% achieved 5 or more grades 4+ (C+)

  • 11+ entry process: personal assessment and interview

Admissions information for Beech House School

Bridgewater School

  • Address: Worsley Road, Manchester, M28 2WQ

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: co-educational, 3–18

  • Number of pupils: 457

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,285 (includes lunch)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and non-means-tested scholarships up to 25% (academic, performing arts and sports)

  • National league table rank: 398

  • 2022 GCSE results: 39% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 45.6% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: computer-based exam (English and maths), free writing and interview

Admissions information for Bridgewater School

Bury Grammar School

  • Address: Tenterden Street, Bury, BL9 0HN

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: boys and girls taught separately (diamond structure), 3–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,270

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,040

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and non-means-tested scholarships (academic and specific to excellence in English, maths, science, sport, computing, music or art)

  • National league table rank: 265

  • 2022 GCSE results: 61.2% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 71.1% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: exam (English, maths and verbal reasoning) and interview

Admissions information for Bury Grammar School

Chetham's School of Music

  • Address: Long Millgate, Manchester, M3 1SB

  • Type of school: day and boarding

  • Gender and age range: co-educational, 8–19

  • Number of pupils: 327

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £3,417–£9,373 (day), £11,230–£12,256 (boarding)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested discount available to all pupils on a sliding scale

  • National league table rank: 200

  • 2022 GCSE results: 66.8% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 78.3% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: musical audition and references from the candidate's current school and instrumental tutors

Admissions information for Chetham's School of Music

Oldham Hulme Grammar School

  • Address: Chamber Road, Oldham, oL8 4BX

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: boys and girls taught separately (diamond structure), 2–18

  • Number of pupils: 806

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,200

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100% and non-means-tested academic scholarships between £1,000 and £4,000 per year

  • National league table rank: 296

  • 2022 GCSE results: 52.9% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 70.5% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: exam (English, maths and verbal reasoning), interview and a current school report

Admissions information for Oldham Hulme Grammar School

St Bede's College

  • Address: Whalley Range, Manchester, M16 8HX

  • Type of school: day

  • Gender and age range: co-educational, 3–18

  • Number of pupils: 750

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Roman Catholic

  • Fees per term: £4,225

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • National league table rank: not provided

  • 2022 GCSE results: 42% A*/A/9/8/7

  • 2022 A level results: 47% A*–B

  • 11+ entry process: exam, taster day, interview, and current school report and references

  • Open day: Saturday 1st October, Wednesday 9th November and Wednesday 7th December 2022

Admissions information for St Bede's College


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