Following complaints about the finances, buildings and management of Eton College the Clarendon Commission, a Royal Commission, was set up in 1861 to investigate the state of nine leading schools in England at the time. The Clarendon Report was published in 1864 with general recommendations on the subjects of curriculum. It gives a detailed picture of life in the nine schools. As a consequence of the Report, the Public Schools Act was passed in 1868.
The Terms of Reference for the Commission were the following:"To inquire into the nature and application of the Endowments, Funds and Revenue belonging to or received by the hereinafter mentioned Colleges, Schools and Foundations; and also to inquire into the administration and management of the said Colleges, Schools and Foundations" (Eton, Winchester, Westminster, Charterhouse, St Paul’s, Merchant Taylors', Harrow, Rugby, and Shrewsbury).
The nine "Clarendon Schools" are still regarded as being amongst the best educational establishments in England. All but St Paul's and Merchant Taylors' are predominantly boarding schools. All have excellent academic records and entry is extremely competitive.