Best Private Schools In London – The Complete Guide For 2024

London, the cultural and educational hub of the United Kingdom, boasts a rich tapestry of prestigious private schools, each offering a unique blend of academic excellence, holistic development, and unrivaled opportunities. Within this article, we unveil the best private schools in London, highlighting their distinctive attributes, exceptional faculties, and the enriching experiences they offer to students. Whether you seek a nurturing environment, a rigorous academic curriculum, or specialised programmes to foster your child’s talents, our curated insights will guide you in making a well-informed decision regarding your child’s educational journey.

best private schools in london

Table of Contents

What is a Private School?

Private schools, also known as independent schools, are educational institutions that are not funded or maintained by the government. Instead, they are privately funded and operated. Private schools in the UK often charge tuition fees for students to attend, and they have more autonomy over their curriculum, admissions policies, and overall management compared to state-funded schools.

Private schools in London are considered to offer high-quality education and often have a reputation for providing excellent facilities, resources, and dedicated teaching staff. They are typically seen as providing a more exclusive and tailored educational experience compared to state-funded schools, and they may have a specific educational philosophy or approach to teaching.

Parents who choose private schools for their children often do so based on factors such as academic reputation, individual attention, specialised programmes, and the belief that private education offers unique opportunities and advantages for their child’s development and future prospects.

London Private School Fees

Annual school fees for private schools in London tend to be higher than other cities. They typically range from £10,000 to £30,000 per year, with some elite schools charging even more. So in case you’re wondering, here’s what you’re paying for: 

  • Age: Private school fees typically increase as students get older. 
  • Academic success: Some private schools in London have a much higher demand due to their academic track record, and thus have the ability to increase their fees. 
  • Facilities: Private schools in London do pay attention to non-academic pursuits such as sports and other activities. These facilities require high capital investment and maintenance, leading to an increase in fees. 
  • Pastoral care: While expensive fees do not automatically translate to the best of pastoral care, this remains one of the top priorities for many parents. 
  • Geography: Living in London can be quite expensive. You need to consider the cost of accommodation, transportation, and other daily expenses. Depending on the exact area, rental prices can vary quite a bit. However, transportation networks do tend to be better in more central areas, which can impact transportation cost. 

Best Private Schools in London

1. Highgate School Review

Highgate School, located in North London, is a distinguished educational institution with a rich history and a commitment to academic excellence. Nestled in the vibrant community of Highgate, the school provides a nurturing environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and personally.

With a legacy dating back to its foundation in 1565, Highgate School has evolved into a modern and dynamic institution while maintaining a strong emphasis on tradition and values. The school’s dedicated faculty and staff are passionate about cultivating a love for learning and encouraging students to explore their intellectual curiosity.

2. City of London School for Girls Review

City of London School for Girls is an independent day school for pupils aged 11-18 situated in the heart of the Barbican. This fine institution built its walls on 3 pillars: Respect, Responsibility, and Resourcefulness. With a strong culture of inspirational learning and self-reflection, CLSG has been developing generations of impactful women since 1894. Here’s to many more amazing years.

3. James Allen's Girls' School Review

James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) is a prestigious educational institution located in London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1741, JAGS has a rich history of providing exceptional education to girls, fostering a culture of academic excellence, personal development, and community engagement.

4. Westminster School Review

With 98% 9-7 at GCSE and 92% A*/A at A level, need I say more? Well, Westminster School is much more than their academic success. There is an overwhelming choice of extracurricular opportunities. Aside from sports, music and art, teachers and students are also active in voluntary work to impact the lives of the society. Did you notice that it is also the only London boarding school in the top 10 this year? Here’s what Westminster looks like from inside those great walls: 

5. King's College School (KCS) Review

King’s College School offers both deep and broad curriculum that allows their students to grow in various directions. This has led to various awards and recognitions including The Sunday Times’ Top Boys or Co-ed School in London. This is a school with the highest levels of both ethical and academic principles, an environment most parents long for their children. 

On top of the outstanding academic results, there is a great emphasis being placed on equality, diversity, and inclusivity. In addition, they are actively trying to minimise the ecological impact from school operations, educating staff and students to be as green as possible. 

6. Alleyn's School Review

Alleyn’s School embeds its school values, Alleyn’s ROCCK (Respect, Opportunity, Curiosity, Courage and Kindness), across the school, from staff to pupils. Excellent results and student performance are a by-product of the education system here, not the goal. Besides that, the pursuit of curiosity and passion is nurtured from a very young age. This allows students to discover who they are through a host of activities, be it sports, arts, or others. 

7. Eltham College Review

Eltham College is one of the top day school in London, proudly standing upon its Christian principles since Day 1. Small classes, specialist teachers, excellent pastoral care, state-of-the-art facilities, Eltham covers them all. The school has seen many major developments over the years such as eliminating boarding and the construction of new facilities. In addition, they started accepting girls in 2020 and will finally be fully co-educational this year. 

8. Wimbledon High School Review

Nestled in the vibrant community of SW19, Wimbledon High School (WHS) warmly welcomes students to a rich tapestry of learning and growth dating back to 1880. Infused with the unique Wimbledonian Spirit, WHS values both academic rigour and the development of character, ensuring girls of all ages find a supportive environment to flourish. With a diverse range of opportunities spanning academics, pastoral care, and co-curricular activities, WHS, as a proud member of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), stands as a testament to nurturing individual potential. Students are encouraged to explore, discover, and develop their passions, preparing them for a future where they can confidently contribute to the world around them.

9. South Hampstead High School Review

South Hampstead High School offers an enriching educational journey where academic excellence intertwines with a holistic approach to personal growth. Renowned for its exceptional academic results and esteemed university placements, the school goes beyond mere achievements, prioritising a bespoke and forward-thinking educational experience for each student. Embracing innovation, South Hampstead empowers girls to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving world, instilling values of kindness, curiosity, and community engagement. As a member of the GDST, South Hampstead High School specialises in preparing young women for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

10. Notting Hill & Ealing High School Review

Notting Hill & Ealing High School is the oldest school founded by the Girls’ Day School Trust, leading the way for 24 other schools in spearheading girls’ education. Here, girls thrive in an environment that seamlessly integrates academic ambition with a supportive community spirit. Visitors often remark on the school’s unique atmosphere, where girls actively support, celebrate, and encourage one another. Also, their dedicated teachers and support staff inspire students to believe in themselves, prioritising not only academic results but also a holistic approach to learning that extends beyond the curriculum. With a strong emphasis on pastoral care, girls learn the values of kindness, generosity, and leadership, empowering them to voice their ideas and lead their own initiatives.

London Private Schools Ranking - League Table

School NameA*/ACandidatesFees (£)LocationBoarding Type
4Highgate School86.1191£25,515Greater LondonDay
7City of London School For Girls83.1100£23,778Greater LondonDay
8James Allen's Girls' School82.595£22,725Greater LondonDay
9Westminster School82.3199£34,389Greater LondonBoarding
10King's College School (KCS)82.3159£25,890Greater LondonDay
16Alleyn's School77.4156£25,020Greater LondonDay
19Eltham College73.9113£22,230Greater LondonDay
23Wimbledon High School GDST71.296£23,154Greater LondonDay
25South Hampstead High School GDST70.463£22,764Greater LondonDay
33Notting Hill and Ealing High School GDST66.569£20,868Greater LondonDay
34University College School, Hampstead66.2167£25,413Greater LondonDay
39Dulwich College64.8227£24,693Greater LondonBoarding
51Whitgift School58.8140£24,462Greater LondonBoarding
58Colfe's School56.5126£20,460Greater LondonDay
59St Dunstan's College56.368£21,321Greater LondonDay
76Ibstock Place School51.865£25,785Greater LondonDay
80Forest School50.4136£24,555Greater LondonDay
81Queen's College London50.352£23,985Greater LondonDay
104Bromley High School GDST44.968£20,562Greater LondonDay
112Queen's Gate School42.939£25,326Greater LondonDay
123St Benedict's School39.892£20,907Greater LondonDay
124Wetherby Senior School39.242£29,085Greater LondonDay
136The John Lyon School36.156£21,300Greater LondonDay
137Streatham and Clapham High School GDST35.858£21,003Greater LondonDay
139Old Palace of John Whitgift School35.745£19,350Greater LondonDay
140Mander Portman Woodward (MPW)35.6231£34,233Greater LondonDay
170Hampstead Fine Arts College27.994£26,160Greater LondonDay
180Ealing Independent College22.226£18,495Greater LondonDay
186Kensington Park School20.537£27,350Greater LondonBoarding
187More House School19.618£24,825Greater LondonDay

How are the Rankings Measured?

This ranking is based on the percentage of GCSE/IGCSE entries awarded 9-7 or A* and A grades. However, it is important to note that these information are not freely available, and some schools may decide not to publish their results. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Private Schools in London

Private schools in London are independent educational institutions that are funded by tuition fees and donations, whereas state schools are funded by the government and offer free education. Private schools often have smaller class sizes, more extensive facilities, and a wider range of extracurricular activities.

The application process for private schools in London typically involves completing an application form, attending an interview, and possibly taking an entrance exam. Some schools may also require references or a personal statement. Deadlines for applications can vary, so it is important to check with each school for their specific requirements and timelines.

Private schools in London offer a range of curricula, including the British National Curriculum, International Baccalaureate (IB), and various international curricula. Many private schools place a strong emphasis on academic rigor, while also providing a well-rounded education with a focus on extracurricular activities, character development, and critical thinking skills.

To assess the quality of a private school in London, consider factors such as academic results and university placement records, inspection reports from independent regulatory bodies like Ofsted, the reputation and qualifications of the teaching staff, the range of extracurricular activities offered, and the overall ethos and values of the school.

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