Choosing a school in London can be daunting for expat and international families.
The best schools in London are over-subscribed and do not need to advertise for pupils. There are many, less renowned schools, which offer both an excellent education and a supportive environment to help your child to develop his or her full potential. For those London parents in the know, these schools offer an excellent education.
Which is the best London district to live in?
If you are relocating to London, there will be many priorities for you to consider. One of the first decisions you will make is where you decide to live.
This will depend on your commute and your budget. Richmond and Kensington and Chelsea have high quality state and private schools, though the rents are high. North London has some super schools, so you may wish to consider Hampstead and the more affordable Muswell Hill.
State, independent or international school? Which London option is best for your child?
There are many excellent schools in London, some “state” (this is what the English call free schools) and some “independent” (this is what the English call private or fee-paying schools). Depending on whether you want your child to be educated in the British, American, French or German education system, the capital has schools which cater well for all of these including the renowned Lycée Charles de Gaulle in South Kensington and the American School of London in St John’s Wood. State schools require that you already be resident in London before applying for a place. See our next question for more information on this.
How do I navigate the London schools’ application and admissions process?
You cannot apply for a place at a state school unless you already reside in London. However, you can certainly start preparations for finding a place. The most important thing you need to know is which London borough you will live in as school admissions are handled by each borough. Please see the latest results of London primary schools grouped by London borough. Once you have decided on a borough, you can telephone the Schools Admissions Team in the London borough of your choice, to enquire about places. We also provide a Schools Advice Service to help parents from abroad find the right school place for their child. Some international schools and independent (private schools) are more likely to have vacancies in the middle of the school year. Contact us for more information on this.
Moving to a new city can be stressful. However, making preparation to ensure that all the family are happily settled will help you and your children to enjoy your time in the vibrant and cultural city that is London.