HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023

Source:Hurun Report
Author:Hurun Education

HSBC China in association with Hurun Education today released its first “HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023”, a list of the world’s top highschools, ranked according to leavers’ university destinations, co-curricular and reputation.





(12 June 2023, Shanghai, Mumbai, London) HSBC China in association with Hurun Education today released its first “HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023”, a list of the world’s top highschools, ranked according to leavers’ university destinations, co-curricular and reputation. The list aims to provide the latest insights on overseas education to help parents with early planning and preparation.   


The ranking only includes independent schools, i.e. non-state schools, with physical campuses.


"HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023" includes 168 schools from 12 countries and territories. The surveyed schools have a total of 170,000 students, with 24,000 graduating every year. On average, each high school has 990 students, with 33% of them boarders, and 140 in their final year. The surveyed high schools have a history of 195 years on average. Two thirds of the heads are male, and one third are female.


The key findings of the study are as follows:


·       48% and 38% of the world’s top high schools are from the US and UK, respectively; 8% from China;  


·       By city, 26 and 24 schools are from London and New York respectively, followed by Boston, Washington DC, Los Angles, San Francisco, Shanghai and Oxford. By region, the US East cost led with the most high schools on the list;


·       Nearly 3 in 4 (71%) are co-ed schools, while nearly two-thirds of the single-sex schools are all-girls;


·       Schools on the list on average have 990 students with 140 of them are in final year;


·       High schools on average have 195 years of history; 11 of them have over 500 years of history, while 20 with less than 50 years;  


·       52% offer boarding, 48% day school only;  


·       Average annual fees for boarding schools globally stand at USD60,000 and for day schools at USD40,000 a year;


·       Average 10% students receive financial aid; average grant 30% of the total school fees;


·       49% are based in the suburbs, a third in cities and 17% in rural areas;


·       London-based Westminster School topped the list, followed by St. Paul’s School and St. Paul’s Girls’ School;


·       5 US schools in top 10, all on East Coast led by Philips Andover Academy, followed by the Spence School, The Dalton School, the Collegiate School and the Brearley School


Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Education Chairman and Chief Researcher, said, “This is the first ranking of the best independent highschools in the world, targeted at parents looking to find the most suitable school for their children, teachers looking to work in the best schools, and university admission officers, looking to understand more about where their applications are coming from. I am delighted to partner with HSBC, a leading international bank, to put out this ground-breaking list.”


“Hurun Education has scoured the world for the best high schools of each region, taking into consideration only independent schools with physical campuses, and then ranking them based on leavers’ university destinations, co-curriculum activities and reputation. Hurun Education did not consider exam results. The whole research process took over a year, and I would like to thank the many university counsellors, overseas education advisers as well as the schools for their support.”


“Most families look to a high school for an all-rounded education and to provide the best chance for a place in a well-reputable university.”


“The schools on the Hurun list are highly selective, which is perhaps one of the reasons they are able to generate such good leaver results.”


“China and India are far and away the largest sources of students studying abroad at highschool level, followed by South Korea and Germany, with Saudi Arabia rounding out the Top 5, according to a UNESCO report. 1.5 million of these highschool graduates go on to study an undergraduate course in a country different to their home nation, 70% of whom studied in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, according to a 2020 Project Atlas report.”


“With half of the world’s top 100 universities in the US and UK, it should perhaps not come as a surprise that the top feeder schools for these universities are predominantly from these two countries.”


“China led the way in the world with the most world-class independent highschools outside of the US and UK, with more schools than the rest of the world combined. China’s top universities are predominantly only open to students from state schools, so the Chinese highschools that made the Hurun Education list are sending their students to study abroad.”


“Around half of students studying internationally follow in their parents’ footsteps and also go to study outside of their home country.”


“It takes years to build a world quality school. The Hurun Education highschools were founded in the 1820s on average, ie two hundred years ago. 11 schools have a history of over 500 years, whilst only 11 schools from the 2000s made the list, most of which are in China. These schools have had many opportunities over the years to grow their student numbers but have capped their student numbers at 1,000 students, with 140 leavers this year.”


“Schools with large campuses close to important city centers are mostly schools with histories that predate that city’s urbanization program. The Hurun Education schools in or beside London are 300 years old on average, and in or beside New York are 150 years old. The current price and lack of land available near big cities, make it all but impossible for large new campuses to come about.”


“Many of the Hurun schools have some of the best co-curricular activities (CCA) on offer, with world-class facilities and coaching staff. CCAs help students enhance their social skills, teamwork and leadership, exposing them to new interests and friends.”


“The trend towards co-ed schools is intensifying. Winchester College, for example, has just gone co-ed for the first time in its 641-year history. A third of the Hurun Education schools are single sex schools, of which 60% are girls’ schools and 40% boys’ schools. One reason for the rise in co-ed schools is the convenience it brings to families with both boys and girls.”


“The trend of day schools is growing, with only one third traditional boarding schools. Half the schools on the list are day schools only, with the other half offering certain degree of boarding.”


“80% of schools are in cities, whilst only 20%, mainly boarding schools, are in the countryside.”


“American schools provide the most financial aid, with most generous schools providing a quarter of students with a grant of 70% of annual school fees. The most generous package from UK schools, by comparison, offer 15% of students with 40% of annual school fees. Highly slecetive schools use financial aid and scholarships to attract the best students.”


“The cost of independent schools have almost doubled in real terms in the past 20 years compared with the income of the top 10 percent earners adjusted for inflation. This pricing left many families with no choice of private education.”


“The degree of transparency around school leaver destinations or matriculations varied significantly. Schools in the US were generally the most transparent with their ‘school profiles’, publishing the number of leavers and their university destinations, whilst some schools preferred only to publish offers and some, especially in Singapore, only published a list of universities that their graduates went on to, without giving any specific numbers of graduates.”


“University counsellors are becoming a more important part of highschools, especially as competition for the world’s top undergraduate courses heats up.”


“Schools in the UK like Concord College, Abbey College Cambridge and Cardiff Sixth Form started out as tutorial colleges to help students get into universities, but have evolved and are now challenging the traditional schools.”


“For the past century, the classroom of the schools on the Hurun Education list have not changed significantly. However, with the advent of ChatGPT and AI in education, we expect that future classrooms will be significantly different.” 


“Whilst the HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools is a ranking of the world’s most successful independent highschools, it is the right school for your child that is most important.”



World’s Top 10 Overall


London-based Westminster School was top, followed by St Paul’s School and St Paul’s Girls’ School. The Top 10 schools are all from either the UK or US. Top 10 global high schools on average have 333 years of history. Six are single sex schools: three boys’ schools and three girls’ schools, and four are co-ed schools.




Westminster School tops the HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023. London-based Westminster has almost 500 years of history. Over a third of its 200 graduates went to Oxbridge annually over the past three years. One in four of its 750 students are boarders.


St Paul’s School and St Paul’s Girls’ School are second and third, respectively. Like Westminster, St Paul’s, a boys’ school, has 500 years of history, while St Paul’s Girls’ School was founded over a century ago.  Both of them are day schools, although St Paul’s has a small boarding contingent. St Paul’s Girls’ is slightly bigger than St Paul’s, 780 to 570 students.



Boarding Schools


Eton College, Phillips Andover Academy and Winchester led the 59 boarding schools.  27 are from the UK, 23 from the US, 6 from China and 1 from each of Switzerland, Australia and Malaysia. 45 schools are co-ed boarding schools, 10 are all-girls and only 4 are all-boys. each boarding school on average has 213 years of history. The school size on average  has 770 students, including 160 graduates.


World’s Top 10 Boarding Schools





Day Schools


There are 109 day schools on the list, of which 57 are from the US, 36 from the UK, 8 from China, 2 from each of India and Singapore and one each from Canada, Hungary, Japan, South Korea and UAE. 81 have no boarding, whilst 28 offer some boarding, with an average of 21% boarders. Each school on average has 1,100 students, including 130 graduates . The day schools on average has 186 years of history.


World’s Top 10 Day Schools





Co-Ed Schools


120 co-ed schools made the list.  66 are from the US, 30 from the UK, 14 from China, 2 from each of India and Singapore and 1 from each of Australia, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Switzerland and UAE. Each school on average has 1,070 students, with 155 graduates. The Co-Ed schools on average has 171 years of history.


World’s Top 10 Co-ed Schools




Boys’ Schools


18 boys’ schools made the list, led by St Paul’s Schools, with 13 from the UK, 4 from the US and 1 from Canada. On average they have 970 students, including 150 graduates. The top boys’ schools on average has a history of 443 years.


World’s Top 10 Boys’ Schools




Girls' Schools


30 girls’ schools made the list, led by St Paul’s Girls’ School, with 20 in the UK and 10 in the US. The average number of students was 670, including 80 in the graduating year. The Girls’ School on average has 142 years of history. Lady Eleanor Holles is the oldest girls’ school on the list, dating back to 1710.


World’s Top 10 Girls’ Schools




Outside of US and UK


25 schools from outside of the US and UK made the list, led by Seoul International School in South Korea. 14 are from China, 2 from each of India and Singapore and one each from Australia, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Switzerland and UAE. The average size of school is 1,800 students with 190 graduates this year, with Singapore’s UWC of South East Asia and Singapore American School the largest with 5000 students. The surveyed school on average has 54 years of history, Upper Canada College is the oldest school which was founded in1829, followed by Institut Le Rosey in 1880 and Geelong Grammar School in1885.


World’s Top 10 Schools Outside of the US and UK





By Country


48% of the world’s top high schools are in the US, followed by 38% in the UK. China was third with 8%. The schools came from 12 countries.


Highschools by Countries





By City


The Hurun Education Schools came from 56 cities, led by London and New York, and followed by Boston and Washington DC.


Highschools by Cities





City or Countryside?


49% of the schools on the list are in suburban districts, 34% are in urban districts and 17% in rural districts. Of the 29 schools in rural districts, 25 are boarding schools.


Highschools by School Environment





Day or Boarding School?


52% of the schools offer boarding, with 48% day schools only.  Of the day schools that offer some boarding, the average was 21% of the students.


Day School or Boarding School





Co-ed, Girls’ or Boys’ Schools?


71% of the schools are co-ed, with 18% girls only, and 11% boys only.


Highschools by Co-ed or Single Sex Schools





Size of School


The average school had 990 students, with 140 in the final year before university. 8 schools had over 2000 students, whilst 32 schools had less than 500 students.


Highschools by Number of Students in School




Highschools by Number of Students in Final Year




History of Schools


The schools were set up in 1828 on average, 195 years ago. 2 schools have a history of over 1000 years, led by King’s School, Canterbury and Warwick School, both from the UK.


20 schools have a history of less than 50 years, led by 11 from the 2000s. 8 of the 11 youngest schools are from China.


Highschools by Age of School




The Top 10 oldest schools on the Hurun Education Schools List are all from the UK. The oldest US school, New York-based The Collegiate School dates back to 1628.


Oldest Schools from the Hurun Education Global Highschools





The oldest school from outside the UK and US on the Hurun Education Schools List is Toronto-based Upper Canada College, dating back to 1829.


Oldest Schools outside of UK and US from Hurun Education Global Highschools




Of the 11 youngest schools, 8 are from China, led by Suzhou-based UWC Changshu China from 2015, and one from each of US, UK and India.


Youngest Schools from the Hurun Education Global Highschools




Age Group


The most common intakes for the schools is at Kindergarten (32%), at 11 years (21%), at 13 years (18%) and 14 years (15%).


In the UK, the main starting points after primary school are aged 11 for the last seven years of school, or aged 13 for the last five years of school. In the US, the main starting point is aged 14 for the last four years of school.


Highschools by Student Age Group




Tuition Fees


The average annual fees for a day school in the academic year 2021/2022 stand at US$44,000, and for a boarding school was US$57,000. The most expensive is Institute Le Rosey in Switzerland, costing US$154,000 for a year’s boarding.


US schools are more expensive than UK schools. The average annual fees for day school in the US at US$51,000 compared to US$39,000 in the UK. For boarding schools, fees were US$65,000 in the US and US$52,000 in the UK.



Inclusivity and Financial Aid


Schools from the HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023 provide financial aid to 10% of students, with an average grant of 30% of the annual school fees.


US schools have the largest endowments, with the most generous schools providing a quarter of students with grants of 70% of school fees. The most generous UK schools provide financial aid to 15% of students, on average granting them 40% of school fees.


Financial Aid by Percentage of Students





Financial Aid by Grant as a Percentage of Annual Tuition Fees






The HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023 is a ranking of the top independent highschools in the world.


Coming up with the methodology for the ranking took several years.


Hurun Education only considered fulltime schools with physical campuses. Hurun Education defined ‘independent’ schools as non-government- or state-owned schools.


Hurun Education first put together a ‘long list’ of 500 non-state schools in the world, and then ranked the schools according to College Matriculation aka Leavers’ University Destinations (60%), Reputation (20%) and Co-Curricular Activities (20%).


For Leaver Destinations, Hurun Education applied an average score per leaver for the three years of 2019, 2020 and 2021, with a bonus score for less selective schools. Hurun Education only considered leaver destinations, also known as college matriculations. Offers were not considered. Some schools, that ought perhaps to have made the list, but that provide no publically available details of their leaver destinations, were not included. 


Hurun Education divided universities into four groups, based on a combination of the global university rankings by QS, US News and the Times, together with input from university counsellors from several leading highschools. Leavers going to the first group of universities were assigned 4 points, the second group 3 points and the third group 2 points.


For Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), defined as core components of the non-academic curriculum, including Sports, Creative and Performing Arts and Music, Hurun Education took into account the quality of the coaching staff (70%) and the facilities provided (30%) within a 20-minute drive from the school.


For Reputation, Hurun Education took into account the desirability of the school, the current alumni network alive today and its inclusivity as represented by Financial Aid.


Hurun Education would like to thank the many university counsellors and study abroad advisers for their input into this list, with especial thanks to Shanghai-based overseas study agency BE Education.


If you are a parent looking to find out more about these schools, or a school, or would like to find out more about the list, please contact




HSBC Hurun Education Global Highschools 2023




Appendix - By Country


US Schools



UK Schools


China Schools



Rest of World Schools



About HSBC

HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, serving approximately 39 million customers through its global businesses: Wealth and Personal Banking, Commercial Banking, and Global Banking & Markets. HSBC’s network covers 62 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America.


HSBC is the largest investor among international financial institutions in the Chinese Mainland, investing in sectors including banking, insurance, fund management, securities and financial technology. HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited (“HSBC China”)  has around 140 outlets across more than 50 cities, which is the largest service network covering the widest geographical reach by any foreign bank in the Chinese Mainland.

With knowledge of the Chinese Mainland and international operations, HSBC China is able to provide customers with a wide range of financial and banking services, including Wealth and Personal Banking (including Global Private Banking), Commercial Banking, and Global Banking and Markets. HSBC aims to become a leading international bank in the Chinese Mainland, connecting customers to opportunities in local and global markets.


About Hurun Education

Hurun Education is the education platform of Hurun Report Inc. Hurun Education started out in 2008, with the launch of the Best of British Education, the first of the Hurun Schools Guide Series, targeting Chinese parents thinking of sending their children to study abroad. 


The series expanded to cover the US, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as the Best of Cultural and Creative Arts.


Hurun Education is best-known for putting out definitive rankings.  Its flagship is the Top International Schools in China, a ranking of the 100 best-regarded international schools in the Chinese Mainland, as chosen by 300+ headmasters and other senior representatives from China’s international school system.


Other lists include a universities ranking, based on the alumni that produce the most individuals from the Hurun Rich List, as well as the most successful education entrepreneurs and largest donors to the education sector.



About Hurun Inc.

Promoting Entrepreneurship Through Lists and Research

Oxford, Shanghai, Mumbai, Sydney


Established in the UK in 1999, Hurun is a research, media and investments group, promoting entrepreneurship through its lists and research.  Widely regarded as an opinion-leader in the world of business, Hurun generated 6 billion views on the Hurun brand last year, mainly in China and India.


Best-known today for the Hurun Rich List series, telling the stories of the world’s successful entrepreneurs in China, India and the world, Hurun’s two other key series include the Hurun Start-up series and the Hurun 500 series, a ranking of the world’s most valuable companies.


The Hurun Start-up series begins with the Hurun U30s, an awards recognizing the most successful entrepreneurs under the age of thirty, and is today in seven countries. Next up are Hurun Cheetahs, Chinese and Indian start-ups with a valuation of between US$300mn to US$500mn, most likely to go unicorn with five years.  Hurun Global Gazelles recognize start-ups with a valuation of US$500mn to US$1bn, most likely to go unicorn within three years. The culmination of the start-up series is the Hurun Global Unicorn Index.


Other lists include the Hurun Philanthropy List, ranking the biggest philanthropists, the Hurun Art List, ranking the world’s most successful artists alive today, etc…


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