Clifton College

Type of school: Co-Ed Senior school with a junior department or a prep school

Nearest international airport: Bristol (15km)

Age Range: 2-18

Number of pupils: 1247

Number of boarders: 395

Fees per term: Boarding: £7,140–£12,260
Day: £3,150–£8,110


clifton college cricketFounded in 1862, Clifton College is a leading UK public school for boys and girls aged 2 to 18. The distinctive, historic buildings of our School provide an inspiring backdrop for learning and contain some of the finest facilities available. While we are certainly an established school, we are not conventional. The opportunities and choice that exist here reflect the world beyond, building confidence and encouraging expansive thinking and endeavour. Located in what the poet Betjeman described as ‘the handsomest suburb in Europe’, both the Preparatory School and Upper School share the same splendid setting in Clifton. The School is surrounded by more than 400 acres of protected parkland on The Downs, and neighbours Bristol Zoo, where legend has it that pupils can hear the sounds of lions roaring at feeding time.

Academic excellence

At Clifton, our teachers and coaches are highly qualified and experts in their field. Our teachers inspire, encourage and prepare their pupils to follow and fulfil their dreams. Academic standards are high and the School is equally strong in science, mathematics, literature, languages and the arts. Clifton has always inspired its pupils to become the best possible versions of themselves. They are instilled with a desire to succeed in academic, co-curricular or community-based activities. Through this, pupils develop self-confidence, without arrogance, to tackle any challenge they may face.

98% of the pupil body goes on to higher education with 80% attending Russell Group and 1994 Group universities. In 2015, 83% of A Level pupils gained A* to B grades with 55% A* to A grades. At GCSE, 91% of pupils gained A* to B grades and 74% A* to A.

Our recent high achievers include GB hockey player Lily Owsley, who won her first cap for the England hockey team at the age of 18; Julia Hwang, an internationally recognised violinist, who featured in The BBC Young Musician of the Year; Lea van der Zwalmen who was crowned Rackets Open Champion 2015 as well as winning the Under 19 French Open Squash title; and Carwyn Penny who represented Wales at under-18 level rugby in 2016.

Tuition in English as a second language

Photo of clifton coll percival lib 200x300Overseas pupils for whom English is not their first language are entitled to extra English tuition within the curriculum. EFL is offered as an academic subject in its own right and as an extra, to help individual students access the curriculum as well as other areas of school life. There is also an Academic Preparation Course, designed for motivated overseas students aged 14–17. This popular two-week course takes place in the summer holiday.

Facilities and new developments

There is an enviable mix of modern facilities and traditional 19th-century architecture, including the Percival Library, a beautiful Grade II listed building. In 2014, the Preparatory School and Pre-Preparatory School merged to form Clifton College Preparatory School, providing seamless transition from Early Years through to Year 8. A new English and Modern Languages faculty building opened in September 2015 to provide state-of-the-art facilities and focused teaching for a wide range of languages. The School’s impressive sports facilities total 90 acres. The water-based hockey pitch, 3G rugby pitches and the netball and tennis dome are unique to the School, accompanied by a range of traditional courts including rackets, fives and real tennis. Clifton is one of only four schools in the country to have a real tennis court on campus. The School has a 330-seat, purpose-built theatre and enjoys an annual House Drama Festival Week where all 11 Upper School houses stage their own play produced entirely by pupils. The School also puts on a ‘big show’ each year – previous productions include Oliver and Chicago – as well as an annual outdoor production of Shakespeare. The Joseph Cooper Music School opened in 2009 and its impressive facilities include 15 rehearsal rooms, two technology suites and four recording studios.

Scholarships, awards and bursaries

Clifton offers a wide variety of scholarships, awards and bursaries at ages 11+, 13+ and 16+. Bursaries are also available for the Armed clifton college pupilsForces and siblings. For more information on these please visit our website at

The house system

There is no such thing as a ‘typical Cliftonian’ – all pupils can be themselves, form friendships quickly and easily and, whether day pupils or boarders, can feel sure that Clifton is the right school for them. Ask any of our pupils and they will tell you that Clifton is their second family. The School provides a real sense of community, both to its pupils and

their families. Pupils form friendships that last a lifetime, with many opportunities in the years after school to network and join together again through the Old Cliftonian Society.

Our care extends from children of Nursery age through to Sixth Form, and offers a home-from-home environment for each of our pupils. With houses at the centre of the Clifton community, inter-house competitions form a fun and exciting part of school life, allowing houses to compete across a variety of talents from the House Play Festival to inter-house debating.

Spiritual and social development

Whilst the School has a firm Christian foundation, we welcome pupils of all faiths, giving them the chance to explore and to question spiritual issues affecting the world and themselves. Clifton’s relationship with the Jewish community goes back to the founding Head Master, John Percival; facilities for the Jewish community are run from The Polack Centre which has its own synagogue.

Preparing for lifeclifton college oliver

The Upper School offers a very broad range of subjects, especially at A Level, which includes philosophy, psychology, politics, photography, sports studies, religious studies, business studies and economics. The most popular subjects at A Level are mathematics and the sciences. Full support is given to help students make the appropriate decisions and the timetable is structured to meet each pupil’s needs.

What makes Clifton special?

Clifton College is uniquely situated in the leafy suburbs of Bristol, making for easy access to a wide range of activities from rock climbing at the Avon Gorge or sailing on the Chew Valley Lake, to visiting the museums and art galleries just a ten-minute walk from the College. The extensive offering of games, activities and events that take place outside the classroom are more than just add-on ‘extras’, they form part of the well-rounded education that is the ‘Clifton lifestyle’. We offer a flexible range of childcare options to enable busy working families to juggle personal and business commitments in the knowledge that their children are well looked after and, most importantly, having fun.

Clifton College offers a seamless education for boys and girls aged 2 to 18. Our pupils really enjoy their time here and leave confidently ready for adult life. Parents can be secure in the knowledge that their children are happy, motivated, successful and fulfilled, and that Clifton offers an environment in which they will be safe and flourish.