The best primary private schools in London (2023)

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The best primary private schools in London

Excellent private primary schools in London certainly aren’t in short supply.

You may already have read our website article: ‘The Best Private Schools in London’. This mentions the options when choosing from a range of private primary schools. There’s the possibility of combining your child’s compulsory education by sending them to an all-through school. Alternatively, you can split it by sending them to a separate preparatory (age 4 up to 13) and secondary (from age 11 up to 18) school. With such a wide selection of independent schools within both age brackets in London, this second option is a popular one.

The best primary private schools in London (1)

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A guide to Private Schools in London and how to register your child in one. Includes the Top 10 primary and secondary private schools in London.

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There’s another factor that’s interesting to note. Unlike many state schools, many of the private primary schools are not co-educational. This means that these private primary schools will be ‘girls only’ or ‘boys only.’

Here’s a selection of the best independent schools for your child’s primary education in London. We have listed schools in different London boroughs including a couple of private schools in Harrow borough.

The best primary private schools in London (2)

Useful information about these private primary schools includes:

  • Website links – which give access to the Admissions policy and process/fees and when school open days, tours, (virtual or in person) are available
  • The school’s vision, mission and values
  • Their commitment to academia, co-/extra-curricular life, and the community
  • Their well-being and pastoral care programmes

1. St Philip’s School – Kensington

St Philip’s is a small Roman Catholic preparatory school for boys aged seven to thirteen. It was founded in 1934. It’s located on its foundation site in the heart of Kensington.

The school quotes that it is “well-known for creating an atmosphere that is warm, welcoming and supportive” The school’s holistic outlook allows it to personally nurture pupils in the classroom whilst also ensuring they feel a valued member of the school community.

There’s a broad curriculum. It balances academic, moral, and religious learning with creative and sporting opportunities. Educational trips to museums, galleries and historic buildings are organised on a regular basis.

The school enjoys links with a range of prestigious senior schools. On leaving, the aim is for boys to go to the school that best suits their individual needs.

2. Wandsworth Preparatory School – Wandsworth

This co-educational independent day school is for children aged four to eleven. It’s based in South West London near Wandsworth Common and not far from the River Thames.

A key aim is to “inspire and challenge children to love learning” The school has small class sizes. It also quotes an excellent ratio of staff to children. Pupils receive a high level of individual support. They quickly build strong literary and numeracy skills. A creative curriculum is employed. This is supported by a broad range of extra-curricular activities.

The school is keen that it has a fun and exciting learning environment. At the same time, preparing children for senior school entrance exams is foremost in the school’s mind. The school is “proud of its academic results with each child fulfilling their potential”. The school highlights that the pupils go on to the best secondary schools in the area.

3. Dallington School – Islington

This school in the heart of London describes itself as ‘a village school in the city’. It is family-owned and run. It quotes “We offer a child-centred, creative, holistic and ambitious experience, designed to develop the whole, unique child and to prepare them for their onward educational journey”

This is a creative co-educational North London private primary school for children aged three to eleven years old. It has been nurturing independent, curious, resilient learners for more than forty years. Children in different year groups share open plan spaces like in a modern working environment.

The school is determined to embrace new technologies, look for emerging opportunities and explore new horizons. This allows it to provide pupils with an outstanding and forward-thinking education. The school uses a ‘cross-curricular approach.’ Pupils get involved in project work across subjects. There is also an Outdoor Education Programme. Pupils will experience day and residential trips in London and beyond.

The school’s pupils have achieved places in a range of notable secondary schools.

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4. James Allen’s Girls School – Dulwich

This school, or JAGS as it is known, has a 22-acre site in Dulwich, South London. It is one of the top independent schools and the oldest girls’ school in Greater London. It was founded in 1741. Its vision is “A passion for life and learning” and its mission “a dynamic school community, nurturing self-assured and considerate individuals who thrive.” The junior school highlights that, “it creates a sense of happiness, fun and warmth in which girls are motivated to work to the best of their abilities and learn through play.”

There’s a pre-prep school for four to seven year olds. The prep school for seven to eleven year olds offers a bold and inclusive curriculum. It wants its pupils to be courageous, show commitment and respond to a constantly changing world in whatever way feels right to them.

There are plenty of sports options including football, athletics, hockey, netball and cricket. Music, art and design technology are high on the agenda of co-curricular subjects. A wide spectrum of clubs is available like Cuisine Club. A programme of school trips to e.g. exhibitions and theatre performances are a regular feature.

There is a senior school for ages eleven to eighteen.

5. Highgate School – Highgate

The co-educational school is located adjacent to Hampstead Heath and a short distance from central London. This is one of the notable North London top independent schools. The school was winner of the Times Educational Supplement (TES) Independent School of the Year award in 2020. It is a registered charity. The school strives for “continual learning and improvement, particularly with regards to equality, inclusion, diversity and sustainability.”

The junior school built and opened a new state of the art building in 2016. The Principal quotes “We want all pupils to believe that there are no glass ceilings to their learning and we aim that all strive to reach their full potential” This school, like other private primary schools has a balanced curriculum covering core subjects. Pupils’ knowledge, curiosity and development are also encouraged across other areas. For example, pupils with a strong aptitude in literacy are offered writing workshops. Each term there’s a focus on different themes. These may include creativity, problem solving and kindness.

There are various co-curricular programmes including Ornithology club and Skateboarding Club! There are far-reaching sports facilities and a wide range of sports available to pupils.

There’s an interesting range of North London private schools. Highgate School junior and senior school is one of them.

6. North London Collegiate School – Edgware

Founded in Camden in 1850 and now in Edgware, this girls’ school has a junior and senior school. It is one of several private schools in Harrow borough. It is ranked as one of the top independent schools in the UK. It states that it offers an “ambitious academic education”. It also states that it provides a “carefully judged blend of support and challenge, a friendly and warm atmosphere, glorious facilities and extensive extra-curricular activities.”

The school encourages pupils to gain excellent knowledge of a subject by not just understanding basic concepts but also from their ability to learn through experience. This is particularly key in the school’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education. For instance, pupils were tasked with building a flying machine as part of their Design and Technology studies!

The school’s Well Being and Pastoral Care programme supports every pupil individually. It’s also designed to develop the pupils’ resilience and help them deal with challenges and build their confidence.

There’s an extensive programme of performing arts, music, sport available. Sports include badminton, cricket, netball, gymnastics and much more. There is a dedicated multi-facility Sports Centre in the grounds. There are day trips to places like the British Museum, House of Parliament, also camping expeditions, and trips abroad. There are after school clubs and visiting music/acting groups.

NCLS also has a global presence with schools in various countries like Dubai and Singapore.

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7. Kings College – Wimbledon

King George IV founded the school in 1829. It was the junior department of Kings College, London. It moved from central London to Wimbledon in 1897. A separate junior school was set up in 1912.

This prestigious top academic school sits right on the edge of leafy Wimbledon Common. The junior school has around 300 boys aged 7 – 11 and the senior school has about 1,200 pupils aged 11 -18 and around 100 girls in the Sixth Form. The junior school head teacher states “Education is not just about academic subjects and extra-curricular activities. It’s about values” He writes about wanting the boys to be kind, thoughtful, courteous, tolerant and sympathetic to the needs of others”.

Having fun is an important part of the school’s ethos. It wants pupils to have a stimulating and exciting time both in the classroom and outside. Alongside the academic subjects, there’s sport, music, drama, art, design and engineering. There’s various clubs and activities on offer. It has it’s own boathouse on the River Thames at Putney. The school quotes that there’s “a strong emphasis on pastoral care and an exceptional co-curricular programme”.

Kings is on the list of top independent schools and has international connections. Pupils who move to the senior school and progress to the sixth form can study either A levels or the International Baccalaureate.

8. Orley Farm School – Harrow

Ranked one of the best independent schools in Harrow,

Orley Farm describes itself as “a co-educational, vibrant, day school that specialises in preparing children for their own journey through life”.

As one of the private schools in Harrow school states that it prides itself on educating pupils beyond entrance exams. It quotes “Our curriculum is designed to offer breadth in order that we are not simply another London Day School that crams a child to clear the bar. OFS pupils are three dimensional, with curiosity for learning and the skills to fuel that thirst; a moral compass that offers values for life and a co-curricular programme that embeds a desire to always look for new interests”.

It’s one of the private primary schools that wants to ensure that its pupils lead fulfilling lives, whatever route they choose to take. The school describes this as ‘The Orley Farm Way.’ To assist with this, the school has developed a unique innovative in-house programme, called ‘The Edge’. The programme is designed to provide pupils with a “wide range of activities, presenting them with opportunities to learn and experience many different aspects of life” It’s split into sections and covers Life and work place skills, Service, The World around us, 13 Things to do before 13.

The academic curriculum teaches a broad range of subjects including English, maths, French, History, classics, technology and sports.

Pastoral care includes having digital ambassadors, a school council, and a Junior Leadership team. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development for pupils is integrated into the learning process. The school has, amongst many other activities, trips to museums, a charity, healthy eating plans, overseas trips and theatre productions. There’s a wide range of clubs and hobbies to choose from. Whether it’s board games, Lego, Bollywood dancing, film club alongside all the major sports, there’s lots to choose from!

There are a range of private schools in Harrow and this is one to consider.

You can find out more on the best private primary schools in London by reading the following resources:

Compare the performance of schools across England against a variety of criteria: click here

You can find more information on how to apply for private primary schools in London here.

Location and budget

  • The exceptional quality of private primary schools (and secondary schools) in London makes them highly attractive, and because they appeal to local and global parents alike, there are always more applicants than places for the best independent schools in London.
  • Being in the vicinity of the school doesn’t mean an automatic place for your child.
  • Consider the location and your budget: remember that school fees tend to increase year on year.

Register interest early and keep following up

If you want your child to attend one of the best independent schools for primary education in London, plan the route early because, as mentioned, the schools are in high demand. You may need to register your child’s name at birth to have a chance of gaining a place. Build a good connection with the Admissions Office and keep in touch: the transient nature of London means places may become available when families relocate.

  • If you are thinking of moving to London, schools may offer a ‘virtual’ tour if visiting in person isn’t possible.
  • When deciding on schools, establish a strong connection with the relevant Schools Admissions Office. Build on that connection.
  • And it’s worth bearing in mind….when choosing a school, have one ambitious goal, a realistic one and a back up.

The best primary private schools in London (5)


The best primary private schools in London? ›

The top state primary school across Greater London is Mayflower Primary School in Poplar which has ranked no. 1 nationally and has 392 pupils. The school also won the award for The Sunday Times State Primary School of the Year 2020.

Which area of London has the best private schools? ›

Best private schools in London
  • Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Consistently voted one of Britain's happiest places to live, Richmond Upon Thames is an affluent residential district. ...
  • Hammersmith. ...
  • South West London. ...
  • Borough of Southwark. ...
  • Borough of Westminster. ...
  • City of London. ...
  • Hammersmith. ...
  • City of London.

Which area in London has the best primary schools? ›

The top state primary school across Greater London is Mayflower Primary School in Poplar which has ranked no. 1 nationally and has 392 pupils. The school also won the award for The Sunday Times State Primary School of the Year 2020.

What are the most famous private schools in London? ›

Some of the most popular private schools in London include Eton College, Westminster School, St. Paul's School, and Dulwich College. These schools are known for their excellent academic programs, competitive admissions processes, and high-achieving students.

What is the most popular primary school in London? ›

Mayflower Primary School

What is the most prestigious school in London? ›

1,452,848 pupils are attending 3,153 schools in London in 2020/21. This includes 2,527 state funded and 465 independent schools. The top ranked schools in London are Bigland Green Primary School, Christ Church Bentinck CofE Primary School, and The Orion Primary School. Rank is based on a overall Snobe grade.

What is the most expensive primary school in London? ›

The most expensive? St John's Wood's American School of London. With fees starting at £28,200 for Kindergarten to Grade 4 - this is an American school, after all - and rising to £31,300 for Grades 5 to 8, one can spend over £100k on education before GCSEs.

What are the strictest schools in London? ›

At the Michaela Community School near Wembley, in north-west London, there are no mobile phones, detentions are given for the slightest misdemeanour and a disused car park is the no-frills playground. The high school is famed for being Britain's strictest, and its headmistress, Katharine Birbalsingh, pulls no punches.

How much does a private school cost in London? ›

For the 2023 school year, there are 474 private schools serving 148,802 students in London. There are 24 private boarding schools located in the London. The average private school fee is £4,319.58 for day schools and £6,942.06 for boarding schools. England's average fee is £3,344.01.

How to choose primary school in London? ›

How to choose a primary school for your child. You must apply through your local authority for a place at a primary school, even if it's linked to your child's current nursery. Normal primary school admissions are at 4+ into the reception class.

What is the best primary school in England? ›

1St Antony's RC Primary School, Forest GateLondon
2St Stephen's School, East HamLondon
3Mayflower Primary SchoolLondon
4Fox Primary SchoolLondon
5=Courtland SchoolLondon
5 more rows

Which city in England has the best schools? ›

Overview: London has many of the best state schools in the country, including The Tiffin Girls' School. Boasting exceptional exam results and general progression every academic year, it also provides a highly creative learning environment.

How much does primary school cost in London? ›

When looking at the overall cost of sending a child to school (Year 1 – 11), costs vary around the UK. The average cost of sending one child to school for parents in the UK is £17,374, this increases to £21,298 for children in London.

Which part of London has best schools? ›

Guide to State Schools in London
  • Barnet. Located on the Northern edge of London, Barnet is an absolute favourite for families looking to live in larger houses with gardens, whilst keeping a public transport access to Central London. ...
  • Richmond. ...
  • Kensington and Chelsea. ...
  • Redbridge. ...
  • Westminster. ...
  • Ealing. ...
  • Wandsworth. ...
  • Harrow.

Where to move in London for best schools? ›

Best Places to Live in London with Good Schools
  • Richmond Upon Thames. The London borough of Richmond Upon Thames is filled with great schools. ...
  • Kingston Upon Thames. ...
  • Barnet. ...
  • Hammersmith. ...
  • Southwark. ...
  • Kensington and Chelsea. ...
  • Westminster. ...
  • Redbridge.
May 17, 2023

What is the hardest school to get into in London? ›

Oxford University has high entry standards. It is among the hardest universities to get into in the UK. Oxford University has a low acceptance rate of 19.1% and an average of 571 UCAS points. They will not consider you if your A-Level grades are not at least AAA.

What is the most famous England school? ›

Eton has been described as the most famous public school in the world, and has been referred to as "the chief nurse of England's statesmen".

What is the most expensive international school in London? ›

The American School in London is not only the most expensive option in London, but at over $47,000 per year, it's the only school in London in the 40K range.

How much are Eton fees? ›

2022/23 School Fee

£15,432 per half (i.e. term; there are three terms in a year). The school fees for each academic year will be set by the Provost and Fellows in the preceding May and all current and prospective parents will be notified by the end of the Summer Half.

What are the most expensive private schools in Oxford? ›

The most expensive private school was ranked as Cherwell College Oxford, according to research carried out and published by toy website PoundToy. PoundToy stated that the college charges its boarding pupils £19,000 per term which works out as £58,500 a year.

What is the most expensive private school for kids? ›

Wallingford, Connecticut is the home of the private school Choate Rosemary Hall. Its tuition fees range from $65,000 a year for boarding to $51,000 a year for the day option. With an admission rate of only 16%, the private institution is one of the most selective schools.

What is the happiest school in the UK? ›

King's College London Tops Our Ranking of the Happiest UK Universities.

What is the hardest school to get into in UK? ›

Hardest universities to get into in the UK:
  • University of Oxford. As the best university in the UK, it is no surprise that the University of Oxford has the highest entry standards among all institutions in the country. ...
  • University of Cambridge.
Apr 19, 2023

What is the lowest rated school in London? ›

The Global Academy, based in The Old Vinyl Factory, on Record Walk, Hayes, is the lowest ranked school in London to be given a score by the Real Schools Guide - it is ranked 3,144 out of 3,181 schools in the country. It was given a total score of 24.3 out of 100.

How much is a private primary school in UK? ›

The cost of private education has soared. Fees, which held steady during the pandemic, jumped by 5.1% in 2022, up from 4% in 2020-21 according to Schoolfeeschecker. The average cost per child is now £20,480 a year, or £6,827 a term for day pupils, and £34,790 a year or £11,597 a term for boarders.

Are private schools in UK expensive? ›

In addition to charging tuition fees, they may also benefit from gifts, charitable endowments and charitable status. Some of these schools (1,300) are members of the Independent Schools Council. In 2021, the average annual cost for private schooling was £15,191 for day school and £36,000 for boarding school.

How much does a teacher earn in private school London? ›

Private School Teacher Salaries in London, United Kingdom

The average salary for Private School Teacher is GBP 35,871 per year in the London, United Kingdom. The average additional cash compensation for a Private School Teacher in the London, United Kingdom is GBP 1,847, with a range from GBP 494 - GBP 6,901.

Are UK public schools better than us? ›

Based on national average statistics, most children educated in a British style are a year or more ahead of their US counterparts in math and language.

Why private schools are good in the UK? ›

A Bespoke Curriculum

One of the most prominent benefits of private schools is that they are able to teach freely of the National Curriculum, and they can be broader in their educational provision.

What is the girls school equivalent to Eton? ›

Roedean School is colloquially known as the girls' version of Eton College as the institution offers top-notch education at the highest level.

Can I go to school in London as an American? ›

If you will be studying a full-degree, you must apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa; if your degree program is 6 months or less, you need a Student Visitor Visa. You should apply online, visit the visa application center in your home country, and apply at least three months before your course in the UK begins.

What age should a child start primary school in the UK? ›

Most children start school full-time in the September after their fourth birthday. This means they'll turn 5 during their first school year. For example, if your child's fourth birthday is between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022 they will usually start school in September 2022.

What is primary school called in UK? ›

Primary schools (5 - 11 year olds)

In the UK, the first level of education is known as primary education. These are almost always mixed sex, and usually located close to the child's home. Children tend to be with the same group throughout the day, and one teacher has responsibility for most of the work they do.

How good is primary education in UK? ›

The standard of primary schooling across the UK is generally good. Fortunately, each region has an inspection body, which reviews schools and reports on the quality of their teaching. Parents can access these reports. If there are any concerns, schools must work to improve on these areas.

Which country has the best primary education system? ›

World Education Rankings
#CountrySchool Achievement
4New Zealand17.39%
97 more rows

Is primary school free in UK for international students? ›

If your child is between 4 and 18 years of age, they are allowed to attend a state-run or private primary/secondary school in the UK. You do not have to pay for state-run education.

Are London schools better? ›

London's state primary schools routinely average better SATs scores than those in the rest of England; the same goes for GCSEs and A levels in state secondary schools and sixth forms. If you know that you are looking for state maintained rather than a private school, London is certainly is a good place to be.

Which city in the UK speaks the best English? ›

University atmosphere and perfect English: these are the tricks of Cambridge, a small town of 108,000 inhabitants. Along with Oxford, the best accent one can find in the whole UK (the so-called formal English) is in Cambridge; a real delight for both neophytes and veterans in the English language.

Which area of UK has best schools? ›

Overview: London has many of the best state schools in the country, including The Tiffin Girls' School. Boasting exceptional exam results and general progression every academic year, it also provides a highly creative learning environment.

What part of England has the best schools? ›

London. Given that 13% of the UK's population live in London, it is not surprising that the capital is home to 84 schools ranked outstanding by Oftsed. Kensington and Chelsea have one of the highest concentrations of outstanding primary and secondary schools, with around 50% of those being faith schools.

Which borough in London has the best secondary schools? ›

But which area has the best secondary schools in London? While Redbridge, Southwark, Barnet and Hounslow have the highest number of Outstanding rated secondary schools, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Kingston actually have the highest proportion of Outstanding schools to schools overall.

What is the #1 school in the UK? ›

St Paul's School

What is the most popular primary school in the UK? ›

St Stephen's Church of England Primary School.

Are schools better in the US or UK? ›

Based on national average statistics, most children educated in a British style are a year or more ahead of their US counterparts in math and language.

Where is the best primary school in England? ›

1St Antony's RC Primary School, Forest GateLondon
2St Stephen's School, East HamLondon
3Mayflower Primary SchoolLondon
4Fox Primary SchoolLondon
5=Courtland SchoolLondon
5 more rows

Is the UK school system harder than the US? ›

Pace. In the case of the British curriculum, it can be found that in primary/secondary school, the level of learning in the U.K. school system was considerably higher. This is because the students have in-depth knowledge of each topic taught in each stage.

What part of London has the best schools? ›

Guide to State Schools in London
  • Barnet. Located on the Northern edge of London, Barnet is an absolute favourite for families looking to live in larger houses with gardens, whilst keeping a public transport access to Central London. ...
  • Richmond. ...
  • Kensington and Chelsea. ...
  • Redbridge. ...
  • Westminster. ...
  • Ealing. ...
  • Wandsworth. ...
  • Harrow.

What is the best school in England secondary? ›

Top 100 Comprehensive State Secondary Schools in the UK
1Dame Alice Owen's SchoolPotters Bar
2St Peter's Catholic School, GuildfordGuildford
3St Andrew's Catholic SchoolLeatherhead
4Hasmonean High School for GirlsLondon
36 more rows
Feb 22, 2023


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