Eton college
Pupils at Eton Getty

After a study from Durham University found that students in private schools are up to two years ahead of their state school contemporaries, the debate around private schooling has been reignited. The biggest differences the researchers found were in French, History and Geography.

Without taking into account the background of the pupils, GCSE results of private school students were almost two grades higher than state school students. But how much does it really cost to send a child to private school? Here's the list of the 10 most expensive private schools based on their highest fees without any scholarships.

All of the prices listed are full boarding for a full year.

1. Hurtwood House – £39,555

Dorking, Surry

Co-ed sixth form college, the smallest on this list – only 340 pupils according to the Good Schools Guide. Particularly known for its focus on creativity and the arts.

Famous alumni:

Emily Blunt, actress

Hans Zimmer, composer

2. Cheltenham Ladies' College – £37,275

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

These fees are for a full-time boarder joining in sixth form (it's a bit less if the student joins at a younger age). It's a girls school (hence the name) founded in 1853.

Famous Alumni:

Kristin Scott Thomas, actress

Talulah Riley, actress

Amber Rudd, Conservative MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons

3. Malvern St. James – £37,125

Malvern, Worcestershire

Again, those are the fees for a boarder joining in sixth form. Girls school founded in 1893 – originally known as Malvern Girls College before a merger with St James School in 2006.

Famous Alumni:

Barbara Cartland, author

Caroline Lucas, Green MP

4. Malvern College – £36,288

Malvern, Worcestershire

Malvern has it all going on (if it all is expensive private schools). Those fees are for new sixth form joiners. Founded in 1865, co-ed.

Famous Alumni:

Aleister Crowley, occultist

C.S Lewis, author

Jeremy Paxman, broadcaster and journalist

Francis Aston, winner of 1922 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

4. Tonbridge – £36,288

Tonbridge, Kent

Joint forth place, the first all-boys establishment on our list. Founded in 1553, currently schooling about 800.

Famous Alumni:

Derek Barton, winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Dan Stevens, actor

Tim Waterstone, found of Waterstones bookstores

EM Forster, author

6. Harrow – £36,150

Harrow, London

All-boys, London-based. Founded in 1572, about 800 pupils.

Famous Alumni:

Winston Churchill, UK Prime Minister

Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India

Lord Byron, poet

Benedict Cumberbatch, actor

James Blunt, musician

7. Eton College – £35, 721

Windsor, Berkshire

Boys school, founded in 1440. A noted favourite of the British aristocracy, 19 UK Prime Ministers are counted in its alumni (not all will be listed here).

Famous Alumni:

Prince William, second-in-line to the throne.

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

Eric Blair, author known as George Orwell

Hugh Laurie, actor and musician

8. Wycombe Abbey – £35,700

High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Girls school, founded in 1896. About 540 students.

Famous Alumni:

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, judge

India Knight, journalist

Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One

9. Winchester – £35,610

Winchester, Hampshire

Boys school, founded in 1382. Around 670 students.

Famous Alumni:

Joss Whedon, screenwriter

Anthony Trollope, author

Geoffrey Howe, Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher

10. Charterhouse – £35,529

Godalming, Surrey

Boys school, co-ed sixth form. Founded 1611, last on the list, around 800 students.

Famous Alumni:

William Makepeace Thackeray, author

David Dimbleby, presenter and journalist

Jeremy Hunt, Conservative MP and Secretary of State for Health