In the UK, the term "Private School" has, as usual, a slightly different meaning. There are three layers of British schooling, the State Schools, the Public Schools and the very rare Private schools.

A state school provides free education to any children of the correct ages with its catchment area. It is owned and sponsored by the state and the local education authority.

A Public school is merely that - available to any member of the public who can pay its fees and pass its entrance exam. Catchment areas do not play a part in the role of public schools since without exception they offer some form of boarding.

A Private school is one which is not available to every member of the public. For example, some schools are available only to those of a certain religion, others cater specifically to children whose parents are involved in a particular profession, particularly the military.