Despite its misleading name, a “public” school in England is a exclusive prestigious private school, often with a rather distinguished historical background. Sometimes a boarding school, it is financed by bodies other than the state, in general private charitable trusts and charges fees for attendance.
They are called “public” schools because historically, they were open to any member of the public willing to pay the fees as opposed to home education with a tutor or religious schools in which membership to the church was compulsory.
Public schools today are strongly associated with the elite since they are highly selective on academic grounds as well as social and financial means. Historically, they educated the sons of the elite of Victorian politics, officers and senior administrators of the British Empire. This reputation of educating the elite remains today. In 2010 for example, a study showed that over half of Cabinet Ministers had been educated at public schools.
Some public schools for boys in England are
St Paul’s Boys’ School,