London has some of the most prestigious and high achieving private schools in the UK, if not the world. If you’re thinking about secondary education for your child, and are looking at the independent sector, it’s never too early to start investigating the schools that might be right for them - and if you’re considering a house move too, the areas of London that will give your child an easy commute.
The latest listing from the Times’ Parent Power guide to UK schools was issued in December. Of the guide’s top 50 UK private schools, half are based in London.
This guide’s rankings are based on three-year analysis of results from 2017 to 2019. It doesn’t reference the past two years’ grades, which were based on teacher assessment as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
To help you start your research, here are the London private schools which feature in the Parent Power guide’s top 20, in order of placement:
St Paul’s Girls’ School, Hammersmith
This prestigious establishment, for girls aged 11 to 18, has been named the best independent school in the UK by the Times in 2022 and nine times in the past decade. Founded in 1904 to complement the boys’ school, it sent an impressive 44 students to Oxbridge colleges last year and 19 to universities in the US and Canada.
Results: 97.8 per cent of A-level students were awarded grades A* to B, 99.4 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: Comedian Jennifer Saunders, TV presenters Susannah Reid and Sophie Raworth and actor Rachel Weisz.
Where to live: Consider west London locations including Hammersmith, Chiswick, Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham.
King’s College School, Wimbledon
Situated next to leafy Wimbledon Common, King’s College is an independent day school for boys aged seven to 18 and girls at sixth form. It was founded in 1829 by royal charter, and describes itself as “one of the most academically successful schools in the world”. The school offers the international baccalaureate as well as A-levels and is a regular in the Times’ top five - currently sitting at number two.
Results: 96.9 per cent of A-level students awarded grades A* to B, 96.5 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, TV medics Chris and Xand Van Tulleken and singer Marcus Mumford.
Where to live: As well as Wimbledon, think about Putney, Fulham Chelsea, Battersea and Clapham.
St Paul’s School, Barnes
Based in Barnes, St Paul’s has been a school for boys for more than five centuries. The school promises an “outstanding, all-round education” for "gifted boys" aged seven to 18. It is sixth in the UK according to the Times.
Results: 95.4 per cent of A-level students awarded grades A* to B, 96.1 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: Former Chancellor George Osborne, journalist and presenter Dan Snow and actor Rory Kinnear
Where to live: consider Barnes, Kew, Richmond, Putney, Fulham Chelsea, Battersea and Clapham.
Seventh is Westminster, the only ancient London school to occupy its original site - its heritage can be traced back to the 10th century. You’ll find it bang in the middle of a World Heritage location, next to Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster. The school admits boys aged seven to 18 and girls in the sixth form.
Results: 94.1 per cent of A-level students awarded grades A* to B, 98.3 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: Documentary maker Louis Theroux, former Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Actor Helena Bonham Carter.
Where to live: The school is so centrally located it can be reached easily from most London areas including Chelsea, Battersea, Clapham, Kensington and Knightsbridge.
City of London School for Girls, Farringdon
Based in the Barbican complex, the City of London School for Girls was founded in 1894 and has an enviable reputation for its academic credentials and its extra-curricular activities. It comes eighth in the Times table.
Results: 95.1per cent of A-level students awarded grades A* to B, 95.4 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: TV presenter Claudia Winkleman, historian Alison Weir and singer Dido.
Where to live: Islington or any central London location such as Belgravia, Chelsea or Knightsbridge.
The Godolphin and Latymer School, Hammersmith
This independent school for girls aged 11 to 18 has a six-acre campus close to the river Thames and Hammersmith Broadway. It currently takes 12th place in the Times listings.
Results: 93.5 per cent of A-level students awarded grades A* to B, 97 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: First Lady Carrie Johnson, Cookery writer Nigella Lawson and TV presenter Davina McCall
Where to live: Hammersmith, Chiswick, Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham.
North London Collegiate School, Edgware
North London day school for girls aged four to 18, founded in 1850 and promising “a pioneering and ambitious education for a rapidly changing world”. It is currently rated 14th.
Results: 92.5 per cent of A-level students awarded grades A* to B, 97.1 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: TV presenter Esther Rantzen, former Vogue editor Anna Wintour
Where to live: Central London location such as Belgravia, Chelsea or Knightsbridge.
Lady Eleanor Holles, School, Hampton
One of the oldest girls' schools in the UK, Lady Eleanor Holles is based in Hampton 10 miles from central London. The school boasts that more than 90% of the Class of 2021 achieved their first-choice university destination. It is placed 18th in the country by the Times.
Results: 94.2 per cent of A-level students awarded grades A* to B, 92.5 per cent awarded grades 9 to 7 at GCSE.
Famous alumni: journalist Lynn Barber, actor Saskia Reeves, DJ Annie Nightingale.
Where to live: Hampton, Richmond, Fulham, Chelsea, Battersea and Clapham.
If you are thinking about a house move, and schools are a factor, talk to us – we can help you find the right property for you and your family.