Affordable private schools in Central London

Opting for the private school route in Central London is a large financial  commitment for most families, particularly in these times and for those parents with two or more children. Adding the cost of uniforms, school trips and extracurriculars to the fees, you can expect to pay up to £20,000 per child per annum, and this is from your net income.

I am preparing two important posts therefore: in this post, I will concentrate on highlighting pre-prep and prep schools in London that have excellent academic results but also offer very competitive school fees for parents. Some achieve it by being part of a wider network of schools or admitting more pupils per class, others move to more affordable venues while placing all emphasis on academics, and this is how you can find schools that offer comparable academic results at up to half the cost.

The most affordable private schools in London with excellent academic results are, in ascending order (fees for the year 2017/2018 per term for the Reception year in brackets)

  1. New Model School(£3,190) – this is a network of two schools located in Harlesden and Canary Wharf. You may have heard me mention their Maple Walk School as their last headmistress moved over to the Glendower Prep School. Faraday School is located in Trinity Buoy Wharf near East India Docks.
  2. Alpha Prep School, Harrow (£3,300) – not exactly Central London, though very well connected via the Metropolitan line, a small and highly academic prep school.
  3. Gatehouse School (£3,485), near Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets, East London’s most established prep school founded in 1948
  4. Dallington School (£3,693) in Islington, “outstanding” Ofsted, often called a “liberal” school as no uniform, but results look great.
  5. Kew College (£3,850) – located in Richmond, this nursery and prep school for 3 to 13 year old boys and girls is not strictly speaking located in Central London, but the very low fees combined with excellent exit results – highlights this year are offers from Colet Court, City of London, Godolphin & Latymer, Latymer Upper, Tiffin Boys’ School and Westminster to name but a few – definitely make it worth a mention here.
  6. Hill House International Junior School (£4,100) – although they have small class sizes of only 12 pupils per class, Hill House is London’s largest prep school, admitting up to 100 pupils per year group, which is why they can keep the fees lower than other prep schools in the area. Read the latest Ofsted report before you get too excited though.
  7. Saint Christina’s (£4,095) is an excellent co-educational Catholic prep school in St John’s Wood, open to children of all faiths.
  8. Merlin School (£4,300) in Putney is an outstanding pre-prep.
  9. The Roche School  (£4,390) – an outstanding co-educational nursery and prep school for children aged 2.5 – 11 in Wandsworth. It is a small, inclusive family owned school with excellent exit results.
  10. Old Vicarage School (£4,599) in Richmond is a traditional non-selective girls’ prep with stellar exit results.

In my next post, I will highlight those Central London prep schools that offer bursaries and scholarships, although to manage expectations I have to mention in advance that I have not found any school offering scholarships at the 4+ level, as all seem to require the 7+ exam to make scholarship decisions or only want to award bursaries from Year 3 onwards.

39 thoughts on “Affordable private schools in Central London”

  1. Hi my daughter starts year 7 in sep 2020 i am looking for an affordable private school or even a very good state school in north west london, i also have a daughter who will starts year 3 in sep2020 and want to preferably send her to the same affordable private school too, really stressed at moment as the secondary schools i listed on the forms she didnt get a place at any of them and i dont want her to go to just any state school plz recommend some good schools thanxs

  2. This is a really interesting article. Though you might like to know about us – The Lloyd Williamson Schools, based in W10. We go from age 4 mths to 16 yrs, and our termly fees of £5,000 include school lunches, trips and wrap around care from 7.30am to 6pm. This makes us a really great option for working parents and as reasonably priced as some of the others you quoted. Plus strong academic standards and small class sizes! Do have a look at our website and let me know if you would like any more information.

  3. Hi do you have any insight about Lyceum School in Shoreditch as my son has been offered a place but we are very confused as we have also registered for a few selective schools like Forest School, St. Dunstant’s College and St. Paul’s Cathedral (which will be tough to get through). We have kept Lyceum as a back up but would like to know what you think.

  4. Hi, thank you for this article. I would like to know to what extent is there a difference between state and private schools in London. Will it affect the social mobility of the child and there opportunities in the long-run? Will sending a child to state school put them at a disadvantage and will they require a lot of tuition on top to keep them on target for the exams at 7+ for boys?

    Do you have any insight on how to save on school fees via tax breaks, bursaries and other means?
    Thank you

    1. Definitely there is earth sky difference between private and state schools. From my experience at Independent schools children are far more engaged with activities. Don’t believe ofsted rating completely . Ofsted is just am idea you get. Before inspection children are thoroughly prepared and usually will make sure children behave well when inspectors are around.I changed my daughter from state to Private . She is much better there. Also at private any smallest bullying issue will be addressed immediately. Where as state schools you can see the news. I am not saying state is bad, you have live in a right area to get the right school . Depends on the crowd that comes in

  5. Hi can you please help me in choosing a good state or private mix school for year 9 and year 7 in the kensington area. I’m a bit lost I only found holland park school and thomas more any other suggestions . I am also late on applications as it is for this September .. Thanks

  6. We are interested in getting our kid aged 4 admitted to an affordable private school closer to N16 area. Any reccomedation

  7. Hello. Thank you so much for this very great page.
    I am German and will be moving to london this summer. It is a sudden move and was not previously planned. I have to find a place to live and schools for my sons. One is in year 10 and he will be going to year 11. And my younger son is in year 8 going to year 9 next September. Both are currently in english schools in Germany which follow the british education system.
    I am sooo confused and totally lost as i don’t know where are the good and safe places to live in london… i also have no idea which schools are the best for my boys?
    I wonder if you can please help me with this matter. Can you please recommend places for living in london… recommend schools for the boys?? Infact i don’t mind if it is a private school.

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Best regards

  8. We are interested in getting our kids ( both boys )aged 9 and 14 admitted to an affordable private school near Ilford area, we are planning to move in Aug 16. Kindly guide.

  9. Hi, thank you for this page, very helpful as we are planning to move to London in 2017. Planning ahead as we will be buying property as well, close to school for our daughter who is 5 years old. After reading the article Kew College sounds good as it leads to one of the best secondary schools as you mentioned. Thank you for this article, you made my life much simpler. – Nadya from Bangladesh

  10. Hi, I am new here and would like to find the right prep school for my 2 years daughter, starting from next year. I was thinking on the international school (IB) since we are italian and i would appreciate if she could study our language, but i can’t find anyone nearest us (we are in Richmond). Could you help me? Or do you think it’s better a british prep school for her curriculum? Since i am reading somewhere that here in great britain, IB is not very appreciated. I see that here you speak about kew college that is in Richmond. Please give me help..i would choose the best for her, with no matter regarding the fees. Thanks very much

  11. could you let me know which of the below schools would have more international pupils? i am in Fulham area and thinking to apply Roche schhol, Fulham prep, sinclair house and the Merlin. maybe harrodian too..will visit them but just wanted to know your view. thank you.

  12. Searching high and low for a top level or ‘mid’ level daycare nursery in streatham, streatham hill, norbury, tulse hill areas for my 11 month old son. Any advice?

  13. Hi, We will be moving to Reading with our 6yr old son in Sept this year , what will be the best prep school option nearby TVP. Thanks

  14. Hi , we are moving from India to London by September. I need to find schools for my son 13 years old and daughter 7 years old in grades 8 and 2 respectively. Please let me know about some good state schools or grammar schools in London. Thanks

    1. it’s more a question of availability as the “best” state schools are usually full and there is a process for grammar school entry that you have missed by this time. You need to call the council where you’re moving to to enquire about availability.

  15. Hi, We will be moving to London in July 2015 from India with my son who is 13 years old. Could you please suggest a good state school in and around Pinner or Rhiners’ Lane? Please guide us as to other schools and what would be the procedure to get registered to get into a good school. Thank you

  16. Hi… We will be relocating to London in the month of July with our 4 yr old son.Heard that for all primary schools and reception the admission should have been sorted out since January and the list of students already selected.Will we get an opportunity to join our son in the state run schools in London even this late for Sept 2015.Will they consider a case like ours?

  17. Susanna Alisi

    Need private school the whole month June/July north west London for my two sons 11 years and 5 and a half year old. Please let me know, it is important, thank you very much, Susanna Alisi

    1. this will be very tricky, you can’t usually just send your kids to school for such a limited period, especially as schools go on holidays mid July!

  18. Hi. I’ll be coming to the UK for six weeks in September 2015 to do my teaching practice and I’ll be coming with my 5year old and my seven year old. Please are there schools in North London that will be willing to allow payment for the six weeks period for the two of them..? Thank you

  19. There are also some very good prep schools in SW London that are affordable. Westbury House in New Malden, Surrey, has fees starting from £2639 from Kindagarten and rises to approx £3135 in year 6. The school is severely overlooked, but their results are excellent with most children gaining entry into the likes of Tiffin, LEH, St Paul’s, Kings College School, Nonsuch and Wilson’s every year. On the positive side the school is not selective but consistently get the results.

  20. I will be in london by june 2015 and would love to apply for my daughter for september 2015. She is now in Grade 7 and will be moving to Grade 8 by next september. I`m looking for either a private school with reasonable fees or state school in central London. Would appreciate if I can have a list with the fees for private schools as well as state schools. Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. this might sound disappointing but there aren’t really any private secondary schools with low fees. but you can apply for bursaries and fee reduction at almost all secondary private schools, if you are eligible.

    2. Hi is there any possibility that I can get my daughter into the lycee school in South Kensington and apply for possible funding? She is currently not even a year old yet but I want to start thinking about her education ASAP as it’s important to me. Her dad is a French citizen and I am English living near Victoria station. If it is possible in any would really appreciate any advice into taking steps towards this opportunity.

  21. i will be in london in great britan st,i have daughter born 18-2-2008 and son born 12-2-2012 !!
    iam looking for good school 1st year or 2nd year for the girl and nursery !!any advice about admission and fees??
    many thanks assem
    for the son!!

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