One of the world's most famous schools
Few British institutions have come to symbolise “elite” as Eton. Founded in 1440 by King Henry VI to educate 70 poor boys, Eton College has become one of the world’s pinnacle schools that now teaches 1,300 boys (at annual fees of £37,000 +).
Despite the whopping costs, demand is massive. It admits fewer than one in four applicants. Its resources and results are extraordinary. For the 2015/16 academic year, for example, Eton’s boys recorded A*/A/B in 96 per cent of all A-levels taken.
On an infrastructure level, the college has 398 buildings - 78 of which are listed. Its securities investment portfolio was valued in its last annual report at £311m. This is a school that was able to fund the construction of an Olympic sports venue - its world-class rowing complex at Eton Dorney.
With wealth comes responsibility. The college has a medium-term goal of increasing the percentage of boys receiving financial help with fees to at least 25 per cent; and ensuring the number of boys paying no fees at all remains at least 70 (i.e around five per cent of the overall number of students).
It’s also bringing its resources to bear for other schools. It’s “sole educational sponsor” of Holyport College, a boarding school established under the free schools scheme, and supports the London Academy of Excellence in east London. The Brent Eton Summer School enables year 11 students in Brent to spend a week tasting the boarding school life; as Brent Council says, this “isn't for just wizz-kid students, but for anyone with the will to try hard and who wants to achieve.”
Just tell that to the old boy roster of numerous Nobel Prize winners, Academy Award winners, 37 recipients of the Victoria Cross and 19 Prime Ministers.