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One is more than 700 years old and among the oldest schools in the UK.Another has been the top school in the UK for A Level results for more than a decade and is one of the top A-Level schools in the world.
Some are non-selective, others pick the cream of academic success with scholarships for those who cannot afford to pay.
Wales’ independent schools all offer different perspectives in varying surroundings from city centres, to coastline and countryside.
With the exam system returning to more normality after Covid the focus is back on results but also young people’s wellbeing.
Here we take a look at the ethos, mottos, religious affiliation (or not) and costs of sending a child to private school in Wales..
With open days coming up there is a chance to see inside some of the most highly academic achieving independent schools in Wales.
Some are in impressive historic buildings with acres of grounds – many charge more than the average annual income.
You can read more about how summer 2023 exam results fell as grading returned to more normality after Covid here.
Read more: Education Minister defends lack of GCSE data on maintained schools in Wales The mum who set up her own school because she didn’t think mainstream education was good enough Kings Monkton School, Cardiff This co-educational school for pupils age three to 18 is in the heart of Cardiff.
It offers bespoke curriculums tailored to the needs of pupils, is inclusive and supports achievement for all.
Pupil number: 288 Type: Day and boarding Religious affiliation: None Ethos/motto: Be the best you can be Fees: From £10,165.00 a year in reception to £14,905.10 a year in sixth form Exam results 2023: A level A*-A 51% A*-B 76% of grades 96% of students gained their first choice university place GCSE A* – A nearly 50% A*-B 70% A*-C 90% Principal: Paul Norton Upcoming open days/evenings: Kings Monkton does not hold open days.
Parents can book a one-on-one tour of the school and meeting held by either our principal or vice principal Mrs Norton.
Website: St Michael’s School, Llanelli St Michael’s was named Sunday Times Wales Independent Secondary School of the Decade.
Pupil number: 420 Type: Day and boarding Religious affiliation: none Ethos/motto: Disce ut vivas (learn to live) Fees: From £1,965 to £4, 830 per term Exam results 2023 A Level A*-A 79.1% A*-B 94% A*-C 98.7% 91.5% of students achieved at least one A*/A grade, 80.9% of students gained at least two A*/A grade.
GCSE A*-A 87% A*-B 97.1% A*-C 99.8% 100% of students achieved five or more A* – C grades 90% of students gained five or more A*/A grades 88% of students gained seven or more A* – A grades Principal: Benson Ferrari Upcoming open days/evenings: Friday 13th October.
Open mornings and Early Years Taster sessions held throughout the year.
Website: Rougemont School, Newport This school for girls and boys is set in 55 acres of grounds on the outskirts of Newport.
It was ranked “Top 5 School in the Country” in the Sunday Times Parent Power 2023 list.
Pupil number: 740 Type: Day Religious affiliation: None Ethos/motto: A School For Life Fees: from £2990-£5322 per term from Nursery to Sixth Form Exam results 2023: A level A*-A – 66% A*-B – 82% A*-C – 93% GCSE A* -28% A*/A – 52% A*/C – 92% Headteacher/Principal: Lisa Pritchard Website: The Cathedral School, Llandaff Founded in 1880 this co-educational day school in Cardiff takes pupils aged three to 18.
It was named the third-best private school in the UK by A Level results this year by The Telegraph.
Number of pupils: 786 Type: Day Religious affiliation: Anglican Motto/ethos: First class academic teaching, excellent facilities and an extensive co-curricular programme are underpinned by high quality pastoral care and the school’s Christian ethos, giving Cathedral School pupils the opportunity to reach their full potential, both academically and personally, in a vibrant and supportive environment.
There are five qualities and virtues that form the school ethos: achievement, care, opportunity, ambition and leadership.
Fees: From £3,205 a term in nursery to £5,308 per term in sixth form Exam results 2023: GCSE The school takes England’s numbered GCSEs.
8-9: 44% 7-9: 64% The most common grade awarded overall was 9, the highest possible grade.
A level A*: 58% A*-A: 87% Pass rate 100% 98% of university applicants gained a place at their first-choice university.
The school was named the third-best private school in the UK by A Level results this year by The Telegraph.
Headteacher: Clare Sherwood Forthcoming Open Days: Whole School Open Morning (Nursery to Sixth Form) Saturday 7th October, 09:30-12:30 Sixth Form Options Evening (Year 12 Entry 2024) Thursday 12th October, 16:45-18:45 Year 7 Information Afternoon (Year 7 Entry 2024) Friday 17th November Website: Read more: Warning of £330 per month mortgage bombshell set to hit in December What happens next with Wales’ record-breaking petition to rescind the 20mph speed limit To get all the latest news on the important stories and issues affecting Wales delivered straight to your inbox sign uphere Cardiff Sixth Form College Cardiff Sixth Form College has been the top school in the UK for A Level results for more than a decade and is one of the top A Level schools in the world.
Founded in 2004 it took its first international students in 2009 and takes top academic students from all over the world as well as Wales.
Pupil number: 405 Type: Day and boarding Religious affiliation: top academic students from all over the world Motto/ethos: The college has no motto Fees: Day fees – £22,300 per year Boarding fees – £53,300 – £58,000 per year Exam results 2023: GCSE 9-8 (A*) 74.1% 9-7 (A*-A) 84.1% 9-6 (A*-B) 90.5% 10% of the cohort achieved all grade 9s in their GCSEs with 32% achieving grades 8-9 and 50% grades 7-9.
A level A* 64.8% A*-A 94.5% A*-B 99.5% Headteacher/Principal: Tom Arrand Upcoming open days/evenings – Saturday 7 October Website: Llandovery College, Carmarthenshire This college in the Carmarthenshire countryside has outstanding rugby heritage and achievements, producing world class rugby players with 50 former students having notched up over 500 caps for Wales – a record that eclipses that of any other Welsh school in the history of the game.
In 1866, Llandovery College took part in the first game that was played in Wales against St.
David’s College and was a founder member of the WRU in 1881.
That year Theophilus Aneurin Rees and Edward John Lewis represented Wales in the first international played at Blackheath against England.
Rugby continues to thrive at Llandovery College with a number of younger players selected for Wales U16, U18 and U20 teams.
Many former students play professional and semi-professional rugby including Carys Phillips and both Wales and British & Irish Lions George North and, the World’s most capped player, Alun Wyn Jones.
Type: Day and boarding Religious affiliation: Church in Wales Motto/ethos: Gwell Dysg Na Golud (Our Education is Our Wealth) Fees: Day fees from £2,755 – £7,245 per term Boarding fees from £7,755 – £10,940 per term Exam results 2023: GCSE (the school runs England’s numbered GCSEs) 9-7 (A*-A equivalent) 32% 9-4 (A* to C equivalent) 80% A Level A* 12% A*-A 33% A*-C 77% A*-E 99% Principal: Dominic Findlay Upcoming open days: Saturday October 14 Website: Christ College, Brecon Christ College takes pupils aged four to 18 Number of pupils: 392 Type: day and boarding Religious affiliation: Anglican Church in Wales Motto: They achieve because they believe they can Fees: from £9,912 per year for day pupils in year one to £36,285 per year for boarding sixth formers.
Exam results 2023: GCSE A*- B (9-5): 78% A*- A (9-7 ) 29% (2022 = 62 %) Overall Pass rate: 95% 2023 A level results A*/A 40% A*- B 67% Overall Pass rate : 99% Head/principal: Gareth Pearson Upcoming open days: 30th September 2023, 16th March 2024, 8th June 2024 Website: For the latest analysis of the biggest stories, sign up to the Wales Matters newsletter here Howell’s School, Lllandaff Built as a girls’ school in 1860, Howell’s School is an iconic landmark in a Victorian Gothic building.
The school takes boys and girls in its sixth form.
Type: Day and boarding school Pupil number: 662 Motto: Nurturing Excellence Religious affiliation: Non-denominational Fees: Termly: From £3,231.67 to £5,434 a term Exam results 2023: GCSE A*- A/9-7 68% A*-B/9-5 96% A level A* 34% A*-A 69% Head/principal: Sally Davis Upcoming open events: Monday October 2 – College Open Evening 4pm-6.30pm Saturday October 14 – Whole School Open Morning 9.30am – 12pm Saturday 14th October – Taster lessons for College 9am – 12.30pm Wednesday November 8 – Be a Year 7 student for a day (Current Year 6) – 9am – 2.30pm Website: Rydal Penrhos, Colwyn Bay This Methodist co-educational day school for children aged two to 18 has been running from premises on the north Wales coastline at Colwyn Bay for more than 140 years.
Pupil number: 350 (180 boys, 170 girls) Type: Day School motto: Veritas Scientia Fides (Truth, Knowledge, Faith) Religious affiliation: Christian Foundation in the Methodist tradition.
The school is an associated member of the Methodist Independent Schools Trust.
Fees: Pre-school: £8,400 per year then from £10,800 for pupils in year one to £17,400 in sixth form Exam results 2023: GCSE A* (9-8) 34% A* to A (9 to 7) 50% A*-C (9-4) 93% A level A*-A 40% A*-C 91% Pass rate 100% Principal: Tom Hutchinson Upcoming open days: September 30 Website: Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools The school in Monmouth in the Wye Valley was originally established by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers in 1892.
Currently there is a prep school for boys and girls aged three to 11 and single-sex senior schools for ages 11-16 and a co-educational sixth form.
From September 2024 the schools will move to co-education for pupils in years seven to 11.
The merger of the two senior schools will create a co-educational setting throughout but in the same setting in the town.
From September 2024 all pupils in Years Seven to 11 will be taught on the site that is currently home to Monmouth School for Boys.
The Monmouth School for Girls, will be the new sixth form centre for students in years 12 and 13.
Type: day and boarding Religious affiliation: Christian foundation Ethos/motto: Serve and Obey.
Fees: From £18,993 a year for day pupils in year seven to £38,541 a year for sixth form boarders or £41,844 for new foundation year sixth form boarders.
Exam results 2023: (pupils sit England’s GCSEs and A levels) GCSE At the boys’ school, a third of all grades were Grade 9-8 At the girls’ school the percentage of grades at the top level of 9 was 22.2% while 58.7% achieved grades 9-7 (equivalent of Wales’ A*-A grades) A level A*-A 38.5% Upcoming open events: Sixth Form Information Evening – Thursday October 19 2023 and Open Morning (ages 3-16) – Saturday 30th September 2023 Headteachers: Rachel Rees and Simon Dorman Ruthin School This historic co-ed school outside the town of Ruthin in the Vale of Clwyd was established in 1284.
In 1574 it was granted a Royal Charter.
The School moved to its present site in the early 1890s.
Pupil number: 350 Type: Day and boarding Religious affiliation: Non denominational Motto/ethos: Die Gratia Sum Quod Sum (By the Grace of God, I am what I am) Fees: Fees are from £13,650 a year for day pupils in form one to full yearly boarding fees of £42,700.
Exam results 2023: A level A or A* 70% A*-B 90% Headteacher/Principal: Victoria Gamble Forthcoming open day: Saturday 30th September 2023 at 10am-1pm Website: St Clare’s School Porthcawl The school in the village of Newton is close to the coast on the outskirts of Porthcawl and takes girls and boys from nursery to sixth form.
St Clare’s has been running for nearly 85 years.
A-Level results consistently achieve 100% pass rate and the school has been placed us in the top 5% of A-Level providers in the UK since 2018.
Pupil number: Type: Day Religious affiliation: Non denominational Ethos/motto: Be You Brilliantly.
Fees: From £2,835 a term for reception pupils to £4,954 a term for year 12 and 13 sixth form Exam results 2023: GCSE: A level: A*-A 39.4% A*-B 70% Headteacher/Principal: Helen Hier Upcoming open events: Open week daily from 9.30am to 12pm (booking needed) September 25-29 Website: St John’s College, Cardiff This Roman Catholic school for children aged three to 18 takes children from a range of faiths.
Type: Day School Religious affiliation – Roman Catholic Motto/ethos: Ubi amor, ibi oculus (Wherever there is love, there is vision) Fees: From £3,575 a term in reception to £5,295 a term in sixth form Exam results 2023 GCSE A* – 68% A*/A – 86% A*-B – 96% Pass rate – 100% A level A*/A 47% Headteacher: Shaun Moody Upcoming open days: St John’s College says on its website it “welcomes prospective pupils, parents and other visitors by appointment only”.
Website: Ffynone House School, Swansea Ffynone House School is a non-selective independent school for boys and girls aged 11-18 in the Uplands area of Swansea.
It is Swansea’s only co-educational independent secondary school.
Type: Day Motto: Where individuals matter Exam results 2023: GCSE 9 (A**) 16% 8 (A*) 32% 7 (A) 45% 6 (B and C) 66% 5 (B and C) 85% 4 (C) 95% A level A* 21% A*-A 42% A*-B 60% A- C 84% A*-D 93% Pass rate 100% Headteacher/Principal: Hanan Khaleel Upcoming open days: The school website says: “You don’t need to wait for an open day to visit Ffynone House School.
The best way to experience our welcoming, family environment is to arrange a visit or taster day to meet our inspiring teachers and friendly students.
Prospective parents and pupils are welcome to visit anytime throughout the school year.”

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