London’s top international schools

A large part of this website is dedicated to finding the best British independent preparatory school for your child, but in reality a fair share of internationals prefer their children to be educated in an international setting, particularly in a setting that nurtures entrepreneurship, groupwork and creativity rather than constant testing and test preparation. If this sounds like you, in order to provide useful information you, I also want to feature London’s top international schools here. I will start by discussing the top options that start at the Reception age/primary level, but I will also mention the top IB schools in London and what choices of primary schools might lead there.

Top international primary schools

Hill House International Junior School – discussed in detail here and here, Hill House is a family-run Swiss school that does follow the National Curriculum of Britain and does prepare children for the British 11+ and 13+ exams, so it is probably your most British international school. It does have 50% of children from international families and focus on arts and music as well as sports and games far more than your typical British school, and it also houses a campus in Switzerland that children attend for hiking trips and music courses in the Summer and skiing in Winter. This is a great choice for parents who like the international model but still want their children to have the option of continuing at British boarding schools or getting into the selective London day schools.

Southbank International School – this is a very popular school, with three campuses: Hampstead, Kensington and Westminster. Co-educational, it is very much committed to the International Baccalaureate’s philosophy and pedagogy. Over 90% of students come from international families (exact mix of nationalities is detailed here). Children may start studying the IB Primary Years Programme at nursery aged 3, and continue through the Middle Years Programme all the way through to the IB Diploma at 18. Diploma results are improving year on year and should be viewed in the context of Southbank being an academically non-selective school which accepts students who are not native English speakers.

International School of London – this is a very good co-educational international school for children from 3 – 18 that offers the IB as well. It is located in Chiswick but runs many school buses to different West London locations. They have long experience of integrating children relocating from abroad. The school publishes leavers’ destinations by IB points which is very helpful, and you will see that their top students have been placed to very competitive courses at Ivy League universities and Oxbridge in the past.

French Lycee – more than international, this school follows the French educational system but is extremely popular among internationals, even though only few manage to make their way in. Due to a good number of French citizens of Arab and African descent, and well as children from mixed couples, the student body is fairly international, which is reflected in a breadth of GCSE and A-Level language choices students can make, such as Russian and Arabic, that is not offered at most London secondaries. Pupils can choose to pursue British or French educational qualifications at age 14. It is notoriously hard to get in – to find out how to get in through the back door, read this post.

American School in Londonanother very popular school in St John’s Wood that is very hard for non-US citizens to get into – 80% of students have at least one parent with a US passport. The school takes children aged 4 all the way to 18 and provides “American education with a global outlook”. It has been rated “outstanding” across the board by Ofsted.

Top London IB schools

North London Collegiate – Average point score per pupil 40.0. Highest score in IB in Europe, just ahead of boarding school Sevenoaks, this girls’ school in Edware, Middlesex, accepts girls from Reception age onwards via assessment.

King’s College Wimbledon – Average point score per pupil 38.7. also one of the top performers in the IB, King’s College Wimbledon with its co-educational Sixth Form does have a junior school attached that admits boys at the 7+ level.

Godolphin & Latymer School – Average point score per pupil 37.2. Very popular girls day school in Hammersmith that also has stellar A-level results. All the top prep schools featured on this site, such as Glendower Prep, Falkner House and Kensington Prep send a large share of girls to this independent secondary school.

This compares with 33.0 scored by students at Southbank International School in 2011 and 31.0 scored by students of the International School in London. Keep in mind though that a) any exam would favour native speakers of English and b) not all girls at North London Collegiate and Godolphin do the IB, many take the A-Level instead, so the IB results only represent the results of those students chosen to take the demanding IB – the A-level results of these schools are stellar as well though. There is also a new international IB school in London called the Halcyon School in Marble Arch. You can read more about it on our blog.

Are you looking for advice on finding and selecting top prep schools in London? We can help! Contact consulting@londonpreprep.com for packages and rates.

29 comments… add one

  • Ignacio Gomendio April 28, 2012, 8:31 PM

    Thank you for all the absolutely great information you are sharing with us. Apologies for not being of any help just yet on that front.

    Any thoughts about Basset House Preparatory? How good are their 11+ results.

    Best

    Reply
    • London Preprep April 29, 2012, 11:33 AM

      Hi Ignacio, I have heard great things about the school and its sister schools as well. As to the 11+ results, I didn’t find enough detailed information on this on their website. They only give a vague list of schools pupils generally gain entry to but without numbers – this is more usual among schools who don’t have top class results (http://www.bassetths.org.uk/eprospectus/future_schools.php), but you can’t know for sure, they may be perfectly fine. I would suggest visiting the school and asking for a detailed list of 11+ results, as they don’t volunteer the full results on their website.

      Reply
  • ragno October 23, 2012, 9:47 PM

    I was wondering about the Deutsche Schule London near Richmond… this school seems very impressive but off the map for most English people. What do you know about its reputation and its level of success in international/bilingual education?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • London Preprep May 23, 2013, 9:09 PM

      Hi ragno – it is definitely known to be very good in terms of parent ratings, people with children there are very happy. But the education follows the German system and I am not sure it is fully bilingual as the dominant language would be German. But there are lots of international children at the school.

      Reply
  • Cristiana December 21, 2012, 7:34 PM

    Moving to London soon and your blog is helping us so much! Understanding the Brit education system and getting to read about the schools. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Emilie Riggs January 8, 2013, 5:15 PM

    Great perfect information!! Many thanks!

    Reply
  • Ritu February 3, 2013, 8:47 AM

    Hi, thank you for helping us navigate through the challenging task of finding the right school. I am moving to London in April. My offices are in Westminster. I need help in finding an international/independent school for my son who just turned 5 not too far from my office. I understand that he will he going to Reception in April and to Year 1 in Sep 2013. I need to identify schools which offer extended care till 5:00 pm since I am a working Mom. Can you suggest a few schools besides American School in London? I am most interested in schools which focus on developing all aspects – Social , emotional in addition to academic. Thanks!

    Reply
  • carolina lehmkuhl February 12, 2013, 5:55 PM

    I would like to know what do you think of teh Dwight school of london that also has the IB program
    thank you c

    Reply
  • Charlie February 28, 2013, 10:59 PM

    We are moving to London from Spain in June and are looking for a co-education private or high quality state school for my daughter, who will be entering year 2. My husband will be working in St Paul’s area and so would really appreciate recommendations for areas/schools with reasonable commuting time to the City. My daughter is trilingual English/Spanish/Portuguese and I would like to find schools with a good international feel (but following the British system). Schools with a music/arts slant could also work well.

    Any assistance would be most appreciated.
    Charlie

    Reply
    • Eduardo February 14, 2014, 5:43 PM

      Hi Charlie!
      We are about to do the same thing you did last yeat—moving from Spain to London in July 2014….any tips for our kids?? (which will be 7 in Sept 2014)….
      Gracias!

      Reply
  • codirla March 7, 2013, 6:22 AM

    Hi,

    Thank you for your article. my 7 yr old son is in a good popular prep in south London. Although my son likes sports he is more academic. His present school may be too large for him. Looking for a smaller school with a good mix of local and international people and good academic results. Can find many in south london. we dont mind moving if necessary.

    Reply
  • Claris May 6, 2013, 3:37 PM

    Hi,
    We are moving to London from China in mid-July and are looking for good c0-educational private/prep/internatonal schools for my two 8 years old twin daughters. They will be in year 5 the next school year. Looking for school with good academic results, music and arts will be a benefit. My husband will work in Canary Wharf. I appreciate if you can give me some recommendations of area/schools.

    Thank for very much for your help.

    Claris

    Reply
  • KS June 17, 2013, 8:08 PM

    Hi,
    I just found this great website, thank you so much for all the information!

    We found a bilingual school called ” ecole international franco-anglais” on the website. I thi nk it just opened for year 2013/2014.
    http://www.ecole-ifa.com/

    Is there someone who knows about this school? Is it a well-organised, good school?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • London Preprep June 21, 2013, 9:33 AM

      Hi KS, I haven’t heard about this school. Check with people at Avenue des Ecoles! They know all the French / bilingual places.

      Reply
  • DM October 7, 2013, 10:03 AM

    Hi, this website is really helpful. A quick question, I have a 7 and 10 year old who need a bit of help, one is mildly autistic and the other has ADHD. Will be relocating to the UK for around 3 years and would like to them to go to an international school – which schools in London would you recommend? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  • Saswata October 20, 2013, 3:23 PM

    We are relocating end of Nov, 2013 to London (will be working at Blackfriars) from Singapore with a 5 year old (July 2008 born) a=nd a 2 year old (both sons). The elder one is currently studying in an International School in Singapore with IB curriculum. What are my options for international schools and which areas should I consider.

    Reply
  • Rick October 22, 2013, 4:56 PM

    Hi,

    My family will be moving to central London in the fall. We’ve come across a school called the International Community School near Regents Park. Have you heard anything about it.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • London Preprep October 24, 2013, 4:21 PM

      yes, had some friends with children there, they were happy for what it’s worth.

      Reply
  • rkm December 1, 2013, 1:40 PM

    Hi

    We are relocatingto london and are looking for good private schools for our girls 9 and 11 yrs old. I will be working in canary wharf and would prefer a school close to work.

    Any suggestions please?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • London Preprep December 1, 2013, 4:45 PM

      it’s not that straightforward unfortunately, 11 is a very hard age to transfer here because of the 11+ exams and generally the provision of private schools near Canary Wharf is far behind what you find in other parts of London. You may need to be flexible in terms of neighbourhood you are targeting – I will send you an email as well as you might benefit from admissions consulting to help you find spaces:
      http://www.londonpreprep.com/services/consulting/

      Reply
  • Emily January 31, 2014, 5:14 AM

    Hi! My family is moving to London and we need to find a school that offers the IB in central London, as that is where we will live. My 15 year old daughter (who is going into the 10th grade) would like to do the IB but would also like to go to a co-educational school that has a larger percentage of English students rather than American. We live in America now and our daughter would like a change. Are there any schools you have not suggested above that we should look at?

    Reply
    • London Preprep February 7, 2014, 12:20 PM

      Hi Emily, I would start with those! If you want more in-depth advice, we are happy to provide admissions consulting services. Best wishes,
      Anke.

      Reply
  • Abh February 24, 2014, 11:40 PM

    Hi,
    another story of moving to London from USA – and only finding out about it now! would there be international schools in central London with spaces available at this time (our kids would be 10+ and 7+), such as Southbank (we have done only about two days of research as yet)? Also, if we progress further and look for specific consulting services, are you accepting clients? Thanks

    Reply
  • Susanne March 23, 2014, 9:21 PM

    Hi,
    We are relocating to Bournemouth/Poole area in the autumn 2014 for approx 2 years. Our son will be 11 then. Looks as if you specialise in London schools but do you have any advice on finding a good international school in south of England? He currently attends an IB School in Sweden.
    Grateful for any ideas… Many thanks!

    Reply
  • swati Thakur April 7, 2014, 5:52 AM

    Hi! we might move to London from Tokyo this summer..july 2014. My son will be applying for grade 9 . currently he is an american IB schooling grade 8 . Many suggested us ACS international school Cobham. Could I get some reviews to help me make decision? Thanks your with regards,

    Reply
    • London Preprep April 9, 2014, 9:51 PM

      it’s very good but a bit far away from London and very hard to get into!

      Reply
  • Victoria Thompson Calotychos May 1, 2014, 9:55 PM

    We are living in Greece and considering relocating back to London for secondary school. Our home in London is Battersea Park, but we are dawnted by the prospect of finding a secondary school for our two girls (8 and 10). We are considering moving out to either Wimbledon, Kingston or Richmond area.
    Am I correct that my eldest could go to Hill House until year 8? Ideally i would like to find a liberal minded, independent school, not too academic, but focused on languages (spanish or other languages other than just french) art and music. It would also be nice to find a school that also caters for primary school. I like the sound of Marymount International school in S W London, but i am not too keen on single sex schools. I would appreciate your guidance and your very helpful website.

    Reply

Leave a Comment