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Being a haven for just about every global nationality is one of the reasons that London is also home to a great variety of schools - not necessarily fully international in terms of curricula, but certainly with an international feel. 

Best international schools in London

Education in London  

In both private and state schools, the curriculum is reliable, sound and well-known. And to make matters even more appealing for the internationally minded, there are almost no schools in London that don't have at least some children from overseas - whether temporary expats or permanent immigrants. So the line between international schools (ie those not teaching the National Curriculum for England, which are fairly thin on the ground) and not-international schools gets blurrier all the time.  

Choosing an international school in London  

Most independent schools in London have a broadly international ethos (as do the majority of UK boarding schools), although schools that use the term in their title are rare. And those that do are usually really just another posh London prep school teaching the National Curriculum for England and the syllabus for the Common Entrance exam (albeit with a high proportion of international pupils). 

The proportion of expats in London independent schools varies enormously but it is rare to find a popular school in central London without at least two or three expats or dual nationality students in each class and, quite often, they equal and, very occasionally, outnumber the British students. The curriculum in these schools is almost always the National Curriculum for England, followed by GCSEs and A levels, with a small number offering the IB Diploma, with some also offering BTECs. 

Nearly 40 per cent of London’s population were born elsewhere, so it makes sense that free state schools should automatically be international in approach. The nationalities and backgrounds in the area where you choose to live will have a massive influence on the demographic of the local schools, as entrance is based on the catchment area, drawn around the school. 

The more popular the state school, the higher the price of the houses that fall into the catchment, which can shrink to a radius of a few hundred yards. Parents often weigh up the savings in school fees against the extra cost of the mortgage, and competition for houses next to the best state schools is ferocious. This is understandable because the standard of state schools varies enormously and whilst many are very successful in both academic and pastoral terms, there are, unfortunately, some shockers to be avoided. 

When it comes to truly international schools, the large number of French families living in London means there is a particularly wide selection of French schools. The American curriculum is taught at several schools too. And if you are looking for the International Baccalaureate route, there are several London schools that teach parts of the programme. 

The choice of schools in London is huge but if you want to know more, please go to the Good Schools Guide website or email our Consultancy team [email protected], who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. 

Best international schools in London 

ACS Cobham International School 

School developed curriculum/ IGSCSE/ American High School Diploma/ AP/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; privately owned; 1,350 students

One of four ACS International schools, three in the UK and one in Doha. Located in Surrey, close to London and offering the alternative of American or IB Diplomas. IB graduates recently scored an average of 33 points, against the global figure of 30. High level of EAL support available.  

Click here to read our full review of ACS Cobham International School.

ACS Egham International School 

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma/ IB Careers; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 600 students

The only member of the ACS group of schools to offer the complete International Baccalaureate programme including the Careers Related option. The students consistently reach an impressive IB Diploma score in the mid-thirties. Located opposite Windsor Great Park.  

Click here to read our full review of ACS Cobham International School.

ACS Hillingdon International School 

Adapted curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP/ IB Diploma; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 570 students

The member of the ACS international schools located closest to central London. Non-selective and offering an American curriculum with the option of taking the IB Diploma. IB Diploma average results tend to be slightly below the other ACS British schools.  

Click here to read our full review of ACS Hillingdon International School.

College Francais Bilingue 

French curriculum/ Brevet; ages 5-16; co-ed; day; state; 670 students

Bilingual school opened in 2011 for the increasing number of French nationals in London at that time. Located in Camden with students moving on to French lycées either in London or overseas. A small number transfer into the English education system or the English section of the Lycée Charles de Gaulle. 

Click here to read our full review of College Francais Bilingue.

Dwight School, London 

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 320 students

Founded in 1972, by the chancellor of Dwight School, New York and part of the global group of Dwight schools with other campuses in Seoul, Shanghai and Dubai. Offering the full International Baccalaureate programme except for the Careers Related option.  

Click here to read our full review of Dwight School, London.

École Jeannine Manuel 

French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 500 students

Opened in 2015 as the English sister school to the largest non-denominational, independent school in France. Emphasis on bilingualism with teaching 50/50 French and English in primary school. In secondary school, science is taught in English and history and geography are taught in both languages.  

Click here to read our full review of Ecole Jeannine Manuel 

EIFA International School 

French Curriculum/ Brevet/ IGCSE/IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 279 students

French/English bilingual school opened its primary department in 2013 and subsequently expanded to offer senior school education in 2015. Split across two sites close to each other in central London's Marylebone, the senior school offers the full IB Diploma. 

Click here to read our full review of EIFA International School.

Halcyon London International School 

MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 11-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 180 students

Opened in 2013 in the heart of central London. 

Click here to read our full review of Halcyon London International School.

Hill House International School 

National Curriculum for England/ Common Entrance; ages 4-13 ; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,000 students

Founded by Colonel Townend in 1951 and still proudly owned and run by the Townend family. Renowned locally in Chelsea (partly for its distinctive uniform) and also operates in Glion, Switzerland where the school has an overseas annexe.

Click here to read our full review of Hill House International School.

International School of London 

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 470 students

Founded in 1972 and now owned by the Makarem family. One of the earliest schools in the UK to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma and, currently, offers the programme from nursery upwards. Located on the edge of Gunnersbury Park in West London and accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS).

Click here to read our full review of International School of London.

Lycée Charles de Gaulle 

French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 3-19; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 3,600 students

Huge French school, one of the largest, globally, under the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) banner. Established in 1915 on the Cromwell Road in Kensington, now with an additional site for primary classes in Fulham. Contains a ‘British Section’ secondary school for students preparing for GCSEs and A levels.  

Click here to read our full review of Lycée Charles de Gaulle.

Marymount International School (London) 

MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 11-19; girls; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 260 students

Part of the network of global schools directed by the Catholic foundation of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Opened in 1955 in Kingston, west of London. International school whose graduates move on to universities across the globe.  

Click here to read our full review of Marymount International School (London).

The American School in London 

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP; ages 4-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,350 students

Founded in 1951 and described as the ‘grande dame’ of international schools in London and sometimes as ‘little America’. An academically rigorous school whose graduates (not all with US passports) mainly move on to leading US universities.  

Click here to read our full review of The American School in London.

These schools have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them.

École André Malraux

French curriculum; ages 3-11; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 250 students

One of four primary schools in London feeding into the Lycée Charles de Gaulle. Member of the global network, the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) and accredited by the French Ministry of Education. Located in Ealing in West London in a converted old school, with plenty of green space.

École Francaise Jacques Prévert

French curriculum; ages 3-11; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 260 pupils

French junior school with noticeably low fees for the area. Member of the global network, the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) and accredited by the French Ministry of Education. Founded in 1974 and located in Brook Green, a residential neighbourhood in West London.

International Community School London

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 200 students

Founded in 1979 and acquired by the international NACE Schools group (over 50 schools in Europe and India) in 2017. Teaches all levels of the International Baccalaureate programme at a campus in Marylebone, central London. IB Diploma graduates have achieved an average points score of 34 over the past four years, well above the global figure.

Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill

French curriculum/ Brevet/ French Bac/ OIB/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 5-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 880 students

International school opened in 2015, offering a bilingual education from age three through primary and then two distinct programmes from year 7. The choice is either an English International Programme (open to English speakers) leading to an International Baccalaureate Diploma (authorised April 2019) or a traditional French path leading to the French Baccalaureate with the possibility of taking the Option Internationale du Bac (a combined French/English qualification.

Southbank International School

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 900 students

Founded in 1979, later becoming the first of Cognita’s international schools. Very high proportion of international families. International Baccalaureate Primary Years programme is taught at the Hampstead and Kensington campuses and the IB Middle Years and IB Diploma are available at the expanding Westminster campus, located near Regent’s Park. IB Diploma average scores in the mid-thirties are consistently impressive.

TASIS - The American School in England

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ AP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-19; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; private non-profit; 750 students

One of three TASIS schools, the others being in Switzerland and Puerto Rico, with a fourth due to open in Portugal in 2020. Recently, the International Baccalaureate Diploma average score was in the low thirties, with nearly fifty per cent achieving bilingual diplomas. The international mix of graduates move on to leading universities in the UK, US (including Ivies) and Europe. Accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

For more information on the schools above, please go to each school’s individual entry on the Good Schools Guide international search.

 

 

 

 

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