London Schools In The Good Schools Guide
Need to find a school inside the M25?
There are very many good schools in central and outer London but, with a population of 7 million, places at good schools can be in short supply. So how do you get ahead of the crowd?
Fortunately The Good Schools Guide is on hand to help. We have considerable data on almost all London schools and we have visited, researched and reviewed many of the good independent and state schools in London.
What The Good Schools Guide can offer London parents
Reviewed schools Our selection of reviewed schools is a personal one - based on information from our team of London editors, parents and moles - designed especially to help you make the right choice (see below).
Special school reviews A number of special schools (and mainstream schools with good provision for children with a range of special needs) are reviewed. The reviews appear on this website but not all appear in the printed guide.
SEN Survey Thousands of mainstream and special schools have completed our detailed SEN questionnaire. Feedback is given on the individual school pages. If you are a subscriber you will also have access to SEN data.
Exam results Subscribers gain unlimited access to detailed KS2, GCSE and A-level examination results.
University statistics We provide the ultimate in uni stats. We publish detailed results of which universities, and what courses, pupils go on to (for almost all senior schools).
Entry and exit schools See which schools, pupils at state primary schools, move on to and for state secondary schools, see which primary schools pupils attended.
Catchment maps See which areas children, at a given school, come from.
How good Is a school for my child? Even good schools are not necessarily great for all children. Our examination of value-added data helps you pin-point which schools are good for the brightest, the average child and the less able. We also have detailed subject information which indicates the subjects that individual schools excel at (and those that 'could do better)'.
All these features are available to subscribers. An introductory subscription to The Guide costs £9.99 for one month or £39, (that's equivalent to just £3.25 a month) if you purchase an annual subscription. A truly small price for great help and advice.
Schools we review in inner and outer London
Almost all of the features above are offered for virtually all London schools, however our reviews are special and limited to those schools we hand-pick, so naturally not all schools will have a review.
We review almost 400 schools within the M25
- 18 special schools
- 270+ independent mainstream schools, 30+ of which take boarders - (very few schools within London have boarding facilities)
- Approx 100 independent senior schools
- 60+ state secondary schools
- 200+ state junior or independent fee-paying prep schools
For reviewed schools - uncover:
And, for those in need of a little 'extra help', we also review a number of London based tutor agencies.
Typical Good Schools Guide reviews of London schools
Not sure what is in a Good Schools Guide school review?
Schools are unique and so are our reviews.
We don't cover all the same information for all schools but normally we write about the Head, give an insight into entry and exit criteria, and remarks for junior/prep and infant/pre-prep schools. Senior schools include additional sections for academic performance, pastoral care (and discipline), sports, drama, music, art, extra-curricula activities, money matters (for fee-paying schools) - in fact whatever makes the school tick.
We describe the background and atmosphere, even write about typical parents and what kind of child the school suits (and who it doesn't and of course include our personal remarks and findings. Schools are asked to check for factual inaccuracies and update factual changes but in all other respects 'The editor's decision is final.' This doesn't always please schools but it delights parents!
Snapshots from Good Schools Guide reviews..
As well as the snapshots from reviews you can sample reviews in full. To read the sample reviews and to browse the data and other information we carry, simply click on either:
Since January 1993, Mr Gerry Loughran (early fifties), a bright eyed-Geordie who steadfastly refuses to be tempted away into inspecting or the like – 'I don't want to leave the chalk face!' He's taught and co-ordinated and led at four other primaries in central London before Sir John Cass and still works alongside teachers... [Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School - state 3-11]
Since 2005, Dr Stephen Spurr DPhil, an Oxford and Sydney classicist (late fifties), married, one son, one daughter. Dr Spurr was previously head of Clifton College for five years, prior to which he was at Eton for 16 years, successively as head of classics and as housemaster. Dr Spurr holds one of the most coveted posts in independent education, one regarded with awe, even wariness, by some. It can be a high profile job, but the elegant and quietly-spoken Dr Spurr has been assiduously keeping out of the press. His headship involves daily interaction with, possibly, the most erudite, stimulating, challenging and entertaining community of pupils, staff and parents in the business. In measured, almost laconic, tones, he...[Westminster School - Independent 12-19)
The academic entrance test is largely diagnostic: 'They cover the curriculum in half the time available to normal schools, so they must be reasonably bright'. They must also be willing to learn: 'In our small mixed ability classes a few children who weren't interested would have an appalling effect. They're training for a career that will offer them an extraordinary range of experiences: they don't have the right to circumvent their academic obligations.'... [Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, London - Indepedent 14-19]
A genuinely comprehensive school, with no selection by ability or specialist places. Wide ability range, including more than its fair share of students with statements of special education need. A strong cohort of dedicated teachers...Particularly successful GCSE subjects are Spanish, English, English literature, history and ICT... Students are now set from year 7 in maths and year 8 in modern languages and other subjects from year 9. Students learn French or Spanish, but not both, in years 7-9. [Acland Burghley School - State 11-18]
Games, Options, the Arts
Parents who rave about the musical standards – 'the concerts just blow you away – it's like going to a serious musical event' – acknowledge that only the best will get in on the act. Opportunities like GCSE photography work in the highly professional Metro Studios only available to the three or four girls whose applications to take the course are considered sufficiently impressive. This is the reality of a state-funded school but it must be trying for the also-rans and would-bes...[The St Marylebone C of E School - state 11-18]
Onsite is a tiny Astro’d playground – good for netball shooting practice but no more – but a good sized gym, a fitness suite and, surprisingly, a basement swimming pool, opened in 1996, somewhat improbably, by Old Girl, Joan Collins. Swimming one of the more competitive of the school’s sports. Sport compulsory for all but lots of choice by the time you’re in the sixth and Zumba is a recent, popular addition – along with...[Francis Holland School - Independent 11-18]
Background and Atmosphere
Founded on the site of Hackney Downs School, once a successful local grammar school, whose alumnae include Sir Michael Caine and Harold Pinter. By the 1990s, however, it had become notorious as ‘the worst in Britain’ and was eventually demolished. Mossbourne was rebuilt on the same site, a tricky triangle bounded on two sides by railway lines. Founding principal Sir Michael Wilshaw worked alongside architects...[Mossbourne Community Academy - State 11-18]
Founded by parents in Hampstead in 1898, original aim was to provide an education based on what was best for the child and encourage learning for its own sake. Part of the progressive movement, sees its kindred schools as Bedales in Hampshire and St Christopher in Letchworth. Moved to its current site, a leafy patch of north London opposite Golders Hill Park, in 1921, and has recently expanded, with a new school building for the infants across the road from the main site at Ivy Wood, once the home of Anna Pavlova... [King Alfred School - Independent 4-18]
Pastoral Care and Discipline
This is a sixth-form college, with an atmosphere to match and a lighter touch than most schools. 'You need to be self-motivated,' said a parent, 'because they won't stand over you.' However, Candi is particularly praised for its academic support, with students' progress carefully monitored and regular reports to parents. The discipline is strict, with no quarter for bad behaviour...[City and Islington College - state 16-19]
From age 9 all are encouraged to spend two nights a week boarding - this offers opportunities to develop social, communication, life and independence skills. Post 16, all students board in a nine week block and participate in an extensive programme of self-help, life skills and independence training. Importantly, boarding provides respite for families and undoubtedly means some children, who might otherwise be in full-time residential provision, can stay with their families. All boarders have a comprehensive care plan developed with parents and staff.. [Linden Bridge School - State special school - 4-19]
As yet, the school is unable to offer bursaries to pupils but will assist parents with tribunals and the statementing procedure. Approximately 26 per cent of pupils have a statement of special educational needs and are funded by their local authorities. [Fairley House School - Independent special school 5-14]
The school has successfully met its target to double the amount of means-tested fee assistance available and provides over 50 bursaries per year. There are also various scholarships, though the head regards these as ‘basically pat-on-the-back awards’, feeling that they should be means-tested rather than..[University College School - London Independent 3-11]
Seventy on list for 20 available places at 4+, so best to put children down early. Informal assessment in November before year of entry. More places at 7+ when boarding choristers also start... [St Paul's Cathedral School, London Independent 4-13]
Well oversubscribed and no guaranteed transfer from nursery to main school, so priority given to practising Roman Catholics, with distance from the school used as a tie-breaker. Within this category, first Catholic looked after children, then baptised, practising siblings, then baptised practising Catholics, then..[St Vincent de Paul RC Primary School - State 3-11]
About half each year to Holland Park, several recently to the spanking new Chelsea Academy. About a third to independent schools – a wide range including Latymer Upper, Godolphin and Latymer, City of London Boys and Girls, St Paul's boys and girls, some board at eg Christs Hospital and Cheltenham Ladies College, some win scholarships to eg Charterhouse. 'They can go wherever they want' said one parent. Mr Cotter meets all secondary heads 'they generally like Fox children' he says proudly... [Fox Primary School - State 4-11]
Most stay the full seven years though three or four are tempted post-GCSE by Westminster or boarding. High mistress says, 'I know Westminster is a vibrant intellectual community – almost as vibrant as this one.' But very few go. 'The education they have here cannot be matched,' says head – 'the opportunities for creativity and leadership cannot be replicated. They grow to become very committed to the community.' When they leave after A levels, their attainment is unique. Around half to Oxbridge and increasing numbers to Ivy Leagues. The rest mostly to...[St Paul's Girls' School - Independent 10-19]
Good family-orientated urban school with international flavour. Well geared for the smart, curious and self-motivated student, but the average student would do very well here. Wait and see how the new administrative triumvirate will work and what Cognita will do with the school they claim will be their international flagship. [Southbank International School - independent 11-18]
Calling this a state primary school is rather like calling St Paul’s Cathedral a church. It is one of the largest and best-equipped in the country, and not content with opening a middle school on the same site, is making history by starting its own country boarding secondary school, which will be entirely free of charge (unlike other state boarding schools, which charge for board and lodging, though not for tuition)...[Durand Academy - State 3-11]
Please note, we do NOT review all London schools. Look for or select 'In the Good Schools Guide - Yes' when you search.
Living in one London borough does not preclude your children from attending school in another borough so you may wish to extend your search beyond your immediate local authority (LA).
|Barking & Dagenham||Barnet||Bexley||Brent|
|Bromley||Camden||City of London||City Of Westminster|
|Hackney||Hammersmith & Fulham||Haringey||Harrow|
|Kingston Upon Thames||Lambeth||Lewisham||Merton|
|Newham||Redbridge||Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea||Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames|
|Southwark||Sutton||Tower Hamlets||Waltham Forest|
How do I search for London Schools?
Use our 'Find a School' search to locate schools in, or near to, London that meets your criteria. You can search for all schools or just those reviewed by the GSG team.
Don't forget to select the local authorities that are of interest to you. You can even limit your search to include only those schools reviewed by The Good Schools Guide - simply select 'In Good Schools Guide' = 'Yes'.
A GSG School indicates schools reviewed in The Guide. We carry lots of information on all London schools including detailed examination results and performance analysis. However, only schools with the symbol shown have been visited and reviewed by The Good Schools Guide team.
How we help you delve beyond the headline hype
On this site you will find a wealth of information to help you uncover and choose the right school for your child.
We have an extensive search facility - simply enter your criteria to locate potential schools. Use 'My Schools' to save your short list of schools. You have to be registered to use my schools. If you are registered AND a subscriber you can not only save your preferred schools but analyse and compare them too...
How do I compare the schools that I have shortlisted?
A school may have good results overall but not actually perform well in all subjects or for all children.
You can compare performance at KS2 (English state schools), GCSE and A-level.
Performance between schools varies tremendously, importantly it can even vary within a school. Some schools excel in Chemistry, yet fall short of the mark in maths. GCSE performance may be superb but A-level fail to make the grade. Subscribers to this website can use our extensive data to find how English state (and senior independent) schools compare overall and in chosen subjects and subject combinations. (The graphs are interactive so hovering over a bubble will reveal the school name. The school represented by the bright yellow bubble - top RHS - in the chart above s a top performer for both of my chosen criteria).
How do I tell if a school is good for a child like mine?
|Red = excellent value added||1st Features the most able children (top 25%)|
|Yellow = Some value added||2nd Includes those who are above average|
|Green = Could do better||3rd Contains those who are below average|
|Blue = Failing to add value||4th Is the group who are struggling|
To use the charts decide if your child is very clever, above average, below average or struggling. Look at the corresponding set of bars. If your child is below average use the 3rd set. You will see the school has excellent value-added for a few, but it appears the rest are could do better with the school seemingly failing to add any value-added to this group.
The value added charts illustrated are available for English state schools and English independent senior schools at sixth-form.
The very short red and yellow bars are a worry as these indicate the proportions of children that the school positively adds value to.
The school in the chart above is failing to do well by a lot of children
but especially the least able (the 4th set of bars on the chart)
On the other-hand - the chart below shows a school that is especially successful with the less able. The tall red bar fronting the 4th group/quartile shows very good value added - there is no green or blue bar for this group- fantastic! All of the least able experience greater success then expected. The most able, in the 1st quartile, don't have quite as much value added (it can be difficult to add value to already very good children)...but importantly, at this school, there is an absence of blue bars which means no child fails to have any value-added.
The school in the chart below is performing much better - adding lots of value, especially to the least able children
If you're a subscriber to the Good Schools Guide (GSG) online** you can use our in-depth data to delve behind superficial league tables, to view charts such as the ones above. To find out how well a school* is likely to do for YOUR child - whatever their ability - even if they have special needs. We even show you which universities pupils go on to and what courses they take.
** A subscription costs £9.99 for one month or £39 for one year (equivalent to just £3.25 per month). With competition for the best schools hotting-up, there's never been a better time to buy. Can you afford not to?
*We have data for English state and independent schools but not for independent prep schools.
Short of time? Confused? Is finding the ideal school a struggle?
Why not consult the experts at The Good Schools Guide advice services.
or telephone +44 (0)203 286 6824.
Consultants can advise on UK schools, overseas schools and university choices. Our trusted consultants are available year round (and at short notice), to give you the individual help and advice your child deserves at competitive rates.
The Good Schools Guide - Can you afford not to read it?
Authoritative, sought-after, truthful...
"It is highly opinionated: the only guide that offers parents a genuine
flavour of what a school is like."The Daily Telegraph
Revered and feared by schools, loved by parents!
Twenty eight years ago we set-out to uncover the best schools in the country based on what parents were telling us. That hasn't changed.
Try before you buy - Click on the links below
Deservedly one of the top girls' schools in the country; it is exactly right for confident, bright young things who thrive on hard work. Highly sought after for its academic delivery, celebrating female success..
Online we also feature a number of special school reviews which do not appear in the printed guide.
At Rainbow there aren't problems - just issues that require solutions, so school focuses their energies on what works best for the child. A fair few hot potatoes thrown its way over the years, and the governments proposals might not do them any favours..
Subscribers to The Good Schools guide can examine:
- School performance data* for KS2, GCSE and A-level
- Value-added data* .Does the school make a difference to all pupils or just some?
- University information*. Details of which universities pupils go on to and what they study.
- And, for English state schools, make sure you make the right move by examining catchment area data and seeing which schools pupils come from and which schools they move on to.
*We indicate on a school's page here data is available. We do not have data for schools outside of England.
Access all the unique, independently written reviews, of 1100 hand-picked good schools. Examine the data and statistics for ALL English state primary and English state and independent senior schools plus helpful advice and more...
An introductory subscription is just £9.99 or subscribe for one year for just £39 - that's equivalent to only £3.25 a month. (Subscriptions are not continual - you must repurchase at the end of the period you pay for - we do not keep credit card details and there is no on-going commitment).
Less than the cost of one registration at the wrong school!
We have a whole series of articles and advice to help you every step of the way; whether tentatively embarking on choosing a school, or part way through the school choice process.
For those new to the process:
For those visiting schools:
For those contemplating the admissions process:
Find a School...
Education News Feeds
Latest Education News from around the web.
- Why I became a primary teacher: I went from teaching assistant to 'Mr D'
- Gay marriage: news and teaching resources round up
- Scared of the school gate? Just follow these few simple rules?
- Police investigate allegations of sex abuse at Catholic boarding school
- The nature of fame: the Lady Gaga professor who became a global star
- Student ball at Oxford University ends in 'catastrophe'
The Good Schools Guide is not responsible for the content of external internet sites