Head Helen Lowe is the best kind of bossy - her girls adore her and we do too. 'Parents have to know what sort of school we are, what they're getting into,' she says. Bute's winning formula: lots of competition on the sports fields and in the pool, and no competition whatsoever in the classrooms, so that 'every girl can run her own best race'. Take your chances with the ballot for places at 4+ (444 registered this year and 11 names were plucked from a hat); at 7+, entry is rigorously selective. They are looking for character and academic potential - for example, says Mrs Lowe, 'If a girl can't do something, how does she respond?' Tutoring won't swing it. If you're just looking for a way into St Paul's, you'll get short shrift; results-driven tiger mothers need not apply.

- Tatler Schools Guide 2017

An outstanding prep school, Bute House manages to combine solid substance with flair and panache.

- Good Schools Guide