Relocating to London with children – how to find a school

Hill House International Junior School
Hill House International Junior School

this post was last updated October 2019

I receive a lot of emails from parents around the world relocating to London. Just in the last week, I have received emails from mums and dads in New York, Dubai, Portugal and Mumbai! The problems faced by internationals moving to London with children tend to be very similar – what year group will their child be joining? Is it possible to find a state school place when you don’t yet live in London? Where should you live? Which private schools might have spaces? Below is a summary of answers – although we are of course happy to help via our personalised school placement service if you require more thorough guidance.

What year group will my child be joining?
The cut-off birthday for school admissions in England is the 31 August, as school generally starts the first week of September. To start nursery in September 2019, a child needs to be 3 by 31 Aug 2019 at the latest. To start Reception (the first school year) in September, a child needs to be 4 by the 31 August, at the latest. Almost all school admissions pages of councils and some private schools list the actual birthday and corresponding year groups. For example, for entry into the Reception class starting September 2020, your child’s birthday needs to fall between the 1 Sep 2015 and 31 Aug 2016. That means, if your child was born in July 2015, for example, he would need to join Year 1 (the year after Reception) in Sep 2020, if he was born in March 2014, for example, he would be joining Year 2 in September 2020 and so on. Although schools are generally flexible about the type of work a child does once at school depending on ability, they are generally not very flexible about the year group a child will be joining, few make exceptions, although it is always worth asking in special circumstances. See here for all dates and year groups.

Is it possible to find a state school place when you don’t yet live in London?
You cannot apply for a place at a state school unless you already reside in London. However, you can certainly start preparations for finding a place. The most important thing you need to know is which London borough you will live in (see next question), as school admissions are handled by each borough. Once you know, you need to call the school admissions team in the borough you will move to and discuss your situation – what schools in the borough are likely to have open spaces by the time you move? At least it will give you an idea of available choice. Generally, if you don’t yet have an address and you come in the middle of a school year, you are unlikely to get a place at an oversubscribed state school. So many internationals look for private school places to start with. Private schools do not require you to live in London when you apply.

Where in London should you live?
First of all, you should know where you will work to make sure your commute is realistic. It will also depend on your budget. Once you know these constraints, it is beneficial to choose a borough with high quality state and private schools. Richmond is often named as the best choice with high performing state schools and many private schools (about 30% of children in Richmond are educated privately). Kensington & Chelsea has a lot of excellent schools too, but rents can be very high. North London has several attractive neighbourhoods in this regard, such as Hampstead as well as the more affordable Muswell Hill. For the top state schools, check the ranking of London boroughs by state school performance and the ranking of top London state primary schools. To get an idea of where the top private primary schools are located, check out the Londonpreprep schools page.

Which private schools might have places?
Turnover in London private schools is generally high, and many private schools – even sought after ones – do have open spaces in later years, so it is always worth calling them. Schools with a higher share of internationals and children of expats are especially experienced of admitting children in-year. I cannot tell you names here, but if you read through the profiles you will get an idea of which schools might be a good bet, and we provide admissions consulting services to help parents relocating from abroad find the right place. There are also prep schools not listed on this site which are good back-up options to start out with when you relocate, and can prepare your children for a move to a top prep school in higher year. The best approach is to call schools in your desired neighbourhood individually and see if they have space. And if you are a school with open spaces – please do contact me so I can pass on the information to relocating families.

If you are looking for more personalised help on finding the right school for your child during relocation, contact us at for educational consulting services.

340 thoughts on “Relocating to London with children – how to find a school”

  1. Hi
    My daughter is in 8 th standard in India and her DOB is 15-10-2009.If we move to UK, can she join 9 th grade in UK or will she have to join 8th grade.In India 8 th standard is equal to grade 9 in UK

    1. She should join according to her date of birth. “8th grade” is just a name as the curricula are different anyway, so best to enter the correct age group.

  2. Hi,
    we are moving to London from Mumbai in September 2022. We have a son aged 10 years as on Oct 2023 and a girl aged 14 years as on Sep 2023. What year of school should we apply for and are there schools that offer classes upto grade 12?

  3. Hi, We will be moving to London in July this year.We have not decided on a place where we would live in London, but office would be in Camberley.I would appreciate if you could please suggest what is the probability of getting a school for year 9 and Would it be possible to find a state school given we are coming only in July? or should we actively search for an Independent school right away?

  4. Hi
    We are moving to London in June ’22.
    My ward has completed grade 1 in India.
    He will turn 7 on 25th aug’22. Which year is preferred in London state school for him. Year 2 or year3

  5. Hi we are getting shifted in April in this year and our son is 13 years , we have contacted many private schools but they are all full …. What is the probability of getting a school for year 9 in mod session

  6. hi
    moving from Birmingham to London. my 11 years daughter goes to Grammar school here in Birmingham at the moment. can i get the admission to Grammar school in London around Chelsea area. if not which area and how please?

  7. shahrzad shahsavani

    hello again.please tell my about even other cities like Leeds/Wales/Manchester/Brighton with lower prices . would like to compare the price with London. and can you please tell me what school is better in those cities thank you

  8. shahrzad shahsavani

    hello.happy new year everyone.i have two questions. my parents (Persian)want to send my brother whos 14 to England for studying school wanted to know the costs ? and if my parents would get a visa to go visit him time to time. thank you

  9. Hi,

    I have a daughter (birth date 29-Aug-2015). We will be moving from Bangalore to London on 1-May-2020. We have not decided on a place where we would live in London, but office would be in Fenchurch.

    I had read many of your post and replies and finding Richmond as good place to live with good number of State and private school options. Would it be possible to find a state school for her given we are coming only in May? or should we actively search for an Independent school right away?

    Also what all documents shall we carry from her current school ? Do schools in London require Transfer certificate from current school ?

    thank you so much for your inputs. it will be greatly helpful.


  10. Hello, my name is Larissa, we are from germany and moving next year in April next to London. My son will be 5 years old next january. I have read that He has to join the first class. I thought he could join the reception class because He cant speak eglish yet. Is that possible?
    Also I am looking for a montessory school from 5 years. Does IT exist?
    I only found nurserys schools of montessory. Can you please Help me find montessory schools close to Hairfield. My husband will Work there and we are looking for a house close by.
    I would really appreciate your answer.

  11. Hello
    I m from india
    My 2.5years old girl baby nd hw we get the admission in is possible.
    Wt we do

  12. Hello- I am relocating in September; my daughter is 8 years old. I need to travel to central london and can afford a rent 900-1100 max; would you advise me the some councils where I should look for rental and schooling (state school)?

  13. Hello, I’m in China now and I’d like to pay a short visit to London from October to February 2019. I have a daughter who will be 6 years old this coming December. Can I find a school for her for only three months? She can do the basic communication in English.

  14. Hi , we are moving to UK in September 2019. My daughter is 8 years old and is studing in grade 3 in India. My worry is my kid is a bright student and will she be admitted in grade 2 in london ie. Repeat a year ?we are yet not sure about the location. Is any exception possible ? it will be great if you share the procedure for same as well.

  15. Thillaikkarasi V

    We are planning to move to Hertfordshire Council, London by June end. Looking for schools for my 2 kids – 4 years completed Nursery ( Kindergarten) and 8 years completed Year 3. I understand that the admission dates are over by Jan 2019. So what is the process to look for admission for my kids and do they assess the kid’s with some sorts of exams for admission? Please help me with this information.
    Thillaikkarasi V

  16. Shikha Mittal

    Hi , we are moving to UK in June 2019 and my son is 6 years old. Can you please suggest the best school in either London or Leeds . It will be great if you share the procedure for admission as well.

  17. Hi there,

    We will be relocating to London from South America, around August, and would like to give priority to RC schools for our children (5 and 8 year-old respectively). Can you please advice on the top ranked schools in London (or around), just to then start looking for the nearby neighbourhoods?

    Many thanks in advance.

  18. Really useful site. We would be very soon shifting from India to knutsford UK.My son is in 7th grade (DOB-1st March 2006).could you please let me process and good school in knutsford so we can plan to live nearby.what is criteria to get the admission . when the school generally start from.
    Thanks in advance.

  19. We are planning to move to London in April/May 19 from India. My son completed 5 years in Dec 2018 and will finish his Kindergarten(Reception) in March 2019 ( here in India). So we want him to get admission in Year 1 from Sep 2019.We have plans to live in Sutton, can you suggest any good school in that area. And also we want to know what will be the expectation from a child to get admission in Year 1?

  20. We are planning to move to UK in January 19 from india. My husband is already their, working in central London. My son is 4.8 years completing 5 on Feb’19. Looking for an international school. My brother stays in Milton Keynes. Pls suggest an affordable place to live and have good international school.

  21. Hi, we plan to move to London from Delhi in March 2019. My son born in Jan 2005 will finish his grade 8 here. He will go into year 10 in London. He is interested in studying food tech as one of his subjects. My husband’s place of work is in Southwark. I am confused between state and private schooling. Don’t really want too much academic pressure. He is good at music, drama and of course loves baking. Is the Harris academy at Crystal palace a good option? Is there a lot of bullying in state schools? Which are the other options for us. Thanks. Regards vedika

  22. Hi,
    We moving to London in November 2018 from India. I have two daughters, one (August 2006 born) is studying in Class 7 and the second (May 2016 born) is 2 and a half year old.
    1. Can my elder daughter get admission in the middle of the year (december 2018) in a school in London? Which grade is she eligible to apply in?
    2. Can you suggest some good schools for her.
    Looking forward for your help and suggestions.

  23. Hi there
    I have a 11years old girl n 6 yrs old boy.i am in delhi at present and i have to shift to coventry in how to go abt it .basically i want to educate my children in uk.

  24. Hi, our plans to move away fell apart and I am panicking about not registerring my son with any private schools. Are there any great state schools in the area (we live in Paddington) it is all so confusing. Also any private schools that are worrh applying for at this very late stage? My son is 3 years old so will have to start next year. (D.O.B. 31.05.15)

    Many thanks!

  25. Hi , we just moved to London from Hongkong and i have a 6 year old daugther born in 9 july 2012 . we planning to live close to heathrow airport as my husband will work there. we r checking the areas like Hillingdon , but so confused with primary school options. we want to apply toa state school rather then a privite one. i need some advice about primary schools nearby Heathrow.
    thanks alot

  26. We are moving to Derby in October 1st week. I have six year old and 3 year old kids. Can we get admission in state schools at that time

  27. Hi ,

    I will move to London from Novemeber on a Short term assignment for 9 months and might extend.Can I admit my kid to a state school ? I will most likely stay in Canary Wharf. Is it too late to secure admission for this year ?

    Are they good state schools in Canary wharf. She is July 2012 born so she can go to grade 1 ?

    Thanks in advance

    1. it depends on the visa status. You will have to check with the council which school has availability. There is a private school nearby, Faraday School, you should have a look at that as well

  28. Im moving to london to do phd and my son will be joining me in september end. He is age 5 born may 2013. What state schools will be available and or a inexpensive private school. Im a single parent. I will be near City University

    1. you will have to call the council in-year admissions team where you live and ask which schools have availability at the time of your arrival. You can only apply once you are in the country. Prior Weston is a good school near City University. Try Dallington (private) as well.

  29. Hi im a msc student going a phd in oct in london. My son will be joining me in september and i need to know if any state school will have place or an inexpensive private school. He is age 5born may 31 2013

  30. Hi.,
    We are moving to London from bangalore on 29August . We are planning to stay in Hounslow. My daughter is 4. 5 years old. Can you please suggest some good schools to her. Main thing she should get adjust easily with new environment

  31. Hi ,
    We would be very soon shifting from India to London. My daughter is 12 years of age . Here in India she is studying in Grade 8. will I be able to get her admission done in Grade 8 or not . I am very worried about the policies there. Kindly guide

  32. hello.
    I am going to move to london from India in december with two kids aged 7 and 5. The younger being mildly autistic. has good language skills, very mild in behaviour but doesnt really know how to socialise even if he wants to.
    My main worry is bullying as they will be new. To what extent is this a problem in primary schools?

    1. this is usually dealt with professionally at most schools, most community state primaries have experience with mildly autistic children and there would be one or two in most year groups. Do mention it when you visit schools and see how helpful the leadership is. You can also ask to speak to their SEN coordinator.

  33. my son is 9 years old. we would be relocating to london in december for a year from india. plz suggest budget school and he would be eligible for which class ? thanks

  34. I am currently working in Birmingham but will be moving to London in July. My elder daughter studies in year 4 and younger daughter is in nursery and will join reception in 2019. My office in London will be in Canary wharf. Can you please suggest if there are any schools with available space in that area and also a nursery as well. I will prefer home in walking distance from office.

  35. Hi, we will be moving to London in September 2018. My son turned 13 in January 2018. I guess he will join year 9. My husband’s job is near Bermondsey. Could you suggest a good school for my son. He is also interested in the culinary arts.

  36. Hi
    Imove to london recently ,i have 4 years old boy ,i try to find a school that can be there with my boy for while he can accepet to be there alone , also i prefer humanestic school .
    could you please advice me

  37. Hello

    Lots of valuable information in your post. We are based in Singapore and would be relocating to UK and will be staying in Redding.
    My son is 13yrs old and is stuying in class 9 in Indian School in Singapore in CBSE Board. He has Hindi as his second language. What options he has for second language in UK schools?

  38. Hi, thank you this has provided me clear information. I have a question regarding Harrow. We are planning to move to pinners with Asd ( autism ) child , she does not need qualify for special school but with needs support. Does mainstream school in harrow offer support for our daughter? Thank you

  39. Naga gunasri.p

    We are moving to London this sep 2018 with my daughter Date of birth (21-8-2015) is it possible to get admission for my kid in school and how can I get admission

  40. Hello! We are moving to London for 1 year from the U.S., and we have 2 boys ages 4 and 8. We’d like to enroll them in a state school, but it seems like all the best ones are already full. Where is second best? How should we approach our process? We haven’t secured a residence yet, because we’re moving at the end of May. We’d appreciate any advice!


    Very Soon I will be moving to London with my family. I will be looking out for rented accommodation but I want to stay in a place which has good schools for children. my kids are 3yrs old so they need to start their schooling from the base. please advise on the same.

  42. Hi ,
    We are moving to london from india in may 2018. is it possible to get admission for september 2018 / january 2019 if we apply for state schools now ? we are moving near hounslow. anywhere can i find the list of schools i can apply to ?

  43. Hi ,

    I am shifting to London from India in May 2018. My Kid is 4 years old born on 18-Aug-2013. Can you please tell me which group he will get admission. Will admissions be available in May 2018? How can we get the admissions ?

  44. Madhumita Kothari

    Hi my son will be 16 years old as on 31st August 2018. I will be moving to London in June -July 2018. Need your advice on his next stage of education in London and school admission procedure.

  45. Madhumita Kothari

    Hi my son will be 16 years old as on 31st August 2018. I will be moving to London around June-July 2018. Please advice me on his next stage of education in London and school admissions.


    Madhumita Kothari

  46. This is in regards for my son admission in any school near forest gate, ilford or stratford for new term 2018 (Grade 1) We are from India, looking forward to start my sons education ahead in UK,London, he is turning 6yrs in May 2018.

    Needed details on same like which Visa do he need to get stamped to continue with any private school and I, his mother may be will stamped an dependant visa will take care of his accomodation, transport and extra required activities. I am travelling to london on April 2018, can anyone help me with name of school to discuss further and plan this ahead. Kindly help with detailed information. Also provide me your direct contact no to get in touch with you or any school so communication would be more easier.

    I will stay with him just want to know further assistance on visa formalities for a mother and son can bear all costs. does visitors visa works for private school if i keep on renewing. My husband works in India so he ll be travelling in and out. So looking forward with this city for education of my child.

  47. Hello. Seeking help here at this forum.
    My daughter (6 years old as on Dec 2017) would move to London in April 2018. Requesting your help in knowing the process, applicable school year/grade and how can i start the application formalities before hand of their travel to London, so as to gain a seat. Looking to hear from you. Thanks.

  48. Hi,

    I have relocated to London(Cannary wharf) on Work, I have two daughter 5.5 year and 4 years old, I understand they are eligible for nursery and 1st grade, how can I get the admission into nearest schools as the admission time has already completed in September. Can you please suggest the procedure to get the admissions for both of them.


    1. you will need to call the council of Tower Hamlets in year admissions team, they will allocate a place at whichever school has availability in Reception and Year 1. If you are not happy with the school you have been allocated, you could try the local private schools (Faraday School and River House Montessori). Best of luck.

  49. Hi, i have 5 years old son. We need to move london starting of january 2018.since the schooling starts septembar, i like to know what is the procedure to get admission in January 2018. I hope i can make admission in pre primary class. Pls guide me how can i go ahead.
    Thanks in advance,
    Mani S

  50. Hi,

    I will be relocating to London in September, but my family (including 10 year old) will join me in January 2018.

    We are from Serbia, and my son has finished 3 years of primary education here.

    I need advice on how to select a borough to live in.
    I will be working in Uxbridge, and when selecting a borough I have two main criteria:
    1. Excellent state school (independent school is an option only during transition period jan18-sep18), where my boy can fit well given he is coming from completely different culture and school system.
    2. Easy to commute, up to 30 minutes

    I may be wrong, but I’m not sure if living in Uxbridge would be the best place to satisfy my first criteria.

    Can you please give me a list of few places where I can start looking for long term accommodation?
    From what I can see, few borough you suggested above are quite far from my work.

    kind regards

  51. Hi,

    We have three children aged 6-11. In 2018 Sept they will be aged 7, 9 and 12. I strongly prefer co-ed with a preference that they all attend the same school. They attend an excellent private school in the US. Re-locating hinges for me on them gaining admission to a great school though I understand this can be difficult. They are not heavily prepped kids. Very bright and focused kids but free time thus far has been spent on play, charitable programs and passionate interests. Would like to talk to someone about certain schools and their workload as well as what is required to be competitive for admission. We’ve lived in London pre-kids and there is a good chance this could be permanent so need to look at the long game with schools.

  52. Hi, this article was very helpful. We are relocating from Dubai by December. My work will be in Canary Wharf, so we were thinking of finding a home which is close to both schools and work. We have a 6 year old (girl) and an 11 year old (boy).
    It will be mid year so I am worried about state school availability. Can my older one take the 11+ exam before we officially move to London? He will be in Year 7 in Sept 2018.

  53. Hi … we would be moving to London with son aged 12 years and daughter aged 3 years . Which IB International School is considered the best amongst the list — Southbankjb, ISL , ICSV, ICL , Halycon , Dwightv

  54. I am moving to London from India in July, I need information on how and where to look for admission for my 2 children aged 15 and 11.

  55. We are looking to relocate to London from NZ in May. My work is in Hammersmith so imagine we would be looking to live in West London. What is the chance of our 3 children getting in-year admissions to good state schools if they arrive late May- early June?

    Our children’s birthdays are 8/1/03, 7/10/04, and 18/12/08 which I think makes them years 9, 7 and 3 next year.

    1. the chances are probably zero (sorry!), you will either have to take a state school that is undersubscribed (which usually means it is not that great) or go private for some of the children. It will not be easy.

  56. Hi we are an Indian family residing in Dubai. My 8YO daughter is in Year 3 in a British school and my son is in Grade 8 in an American school.
    We wish to relocate to London and are hoping for admissions into private affordable schools in and around London.
    Appreciate if you could provide any pointers in terms of which school could possibly suit both my kids perhaps British or IB. Is there any scope of finding a place for Sept 2017? Thank you.

  57. Hello- my son and I are relocating to London next month after 7 years in New York. He is in year 8 and would be joining mid term.
    Could you please advise what my best course of action would be to be admitted to a school perhaps in the Chiswick Richmond area?
    He is a straight A student here in the US.

  58. Hi, I am currently looking for a private school. My child is studying at grade 1 in my country, but according to grouping here he would be admitted to reception. I would like to apply to a good private school this Jan/2017 and to be admitted to grade 1. Any advice please? Thanks

  59. Hi.. we are moving from Delhi, India to London in Jan2017. I have a Son aged 14 and a Daughter age 11. Plz suggest some schools where admissions are still open for my children or what can be done at this time of the year. My office is near Green Park station. I have not yet decided my place of stay.

  60. Hello i found this website and felt m lucky as this website can answer my questions undoubtedly.
    We are from india.When are the admissions starting for 2017-2018. I have 2 kids date of births feb2011,jun 2014..elder will be going to year 2 and younger one to nursery ..think i m right..which are the best schools in and around wc1n 3jh..thanks

  61. Hi

    I am re-locating to London from Johannesburg early January 2017 and i have a 10 year old (who will be 11 in February). The school terms are quite different from the UK terms. She is meant to start 6th grade in January 2017 (but i know it will be in the middle of the school year that side). I would prefer a good public school, what are my chances of getting one at this stage? I am looking to stay at the Canary Wharf neighbourhood. Are there public schools you can recommend in the area or reasonably priced private schools?


  62. Hi, thanks for doing what you do! Sure enough just got word that we are relocating from New York to London at the end of the year, early January. We have a 6 year old daughter currently in grade 1 here, the plan would be that she finishes school here at the end of the year for the Christmas break and then move over – but want to find a school before she heads to London so as not to interrupt her schooling and progress and is left not in school. The usual chicken and egg situation with an address as we will likely be in a hotel for 4-8 weeks and wait on household items to arrive. My daughter and wife are UK nationals and we are looking at the Acton / Chiswick area – any idea of what we should do to try and get a place in a great school? Our fear is given it is mid-year we might have no choice but to go private, not originally wanting to pay and then not wanting to rip her out of this school 6 months later to go to a state school once we have an address. So any ideas – or suggestions on good private schools if we have no option? She’s a creative one. Thanks!

    1. yes you would likely have to go private. call all the local private ones and see who can help (Orchard House, Chiswick and Bedford Park, Unicorn School). You can of course also arrive and be allocated a place at a state school by the council, but usually places are only available at undersubscribed less great schools, so it is a bit of a gamble.

  63. Hi, we’re an Australian family currently living in Prague and potentially relocating to Langley, Berkshire for the start of the 2016/2017 school year. Children are currently in the international system and that’s where
    we’d prefer to stay. I have 12 year old twins. One of which is mildly dyslexic and currently flourishing with learning support. ACS Hillingdon and Egham look like prime contenders but how difficult are they to get into to, especially with one child currently receiving learning support? Thank you.

  64. I have relocated to London and holding a valid visa for self

    However my family yet to relocate and they don’t have a visa yet

    Can I still apply for admission for my 6 and 8 year old children in the nearby council in live

    Appreciate your inputs.

    1. I read somewhere that if the child is under 12 a parent will be able to get a visa to stay for child care. While the child can be on a student visa. Is this correct information? Tnx

  65. Hi, my husband and I are considering to move to London in November / December 2016 with our 5 year+ old daughter (DOB 31-01-2011). She is currently studying in Mumbai in grade – Higher Kindergarten. I understand that she would enter Year 1 as per the system there. She is a fairly bright child and therefore I would aspire her to study at a grammar school. Can you please me with the following info.
    1) Is she eligible to join a grammar school at this stage or only when she turns 7?
    2) I would prefer to apply to a private school if she is not eligible for a Grammar sch now. In this case are there any recommended private schools which prepare the child or are a feeder school to the grammer schools?
    3) Also please let me know if there is a performance based ranking available for private schools?
    Thanks for the help.

  66. Hi, my family is moving to Norwich in a few months. We have a 5year old girl, which school would you recommend and what are tuition fees like for internationals?

  67. Vishal Mishra

    Dear sir I want to take admission 11th std in this. Can you suggest me better school for me where I can get knowledge but currently I live in India???

  68. Meghana Gothoskar

    I am from Pune , India and I am moving to London in July .My daughter will join me in August; She will 12 complete on 22 Aug 2016. I am looking for a good secondary school for her .
    Can you please suggest good area for me to move in and also schools that I can apply through the counsel.

  69. Hey,

    Relocating To London with my 15 y/o son and my 6 y/0 daughter. Both have been schooled in both Australian IB and Canadian AP programs. Looking for schools near Kensington/Chelsea that are not religious and preferably private. Cost Is not a issue.

  70. hi,

    My husband will be in london on a business visa, staying in canary wharf, for about 2-3 months. We would be accompanying him. Can my 5 year old girl (birth date 7th May, 2011) join school during the short stay.

  71. We are planning to move to London for 1 to 2 years next year. My 3 years old daughter is currently studying in Garden House School in New York. Is it hard to get a place in Garden House London? Do you have any recommendation for private school or international school that offer Chinese as second language? What is the best area to stay with kids?

    1. Knightsbridge School has a Mandarin option. You should enquire to Garden House directly about a transfer, the London school is oversubscribed so the problem would be a place becoming available, I am sure they would be helpful if you called directly and asked.

  72. Am moving with my 7 y.o. to London (Yr 3) in August and will be applying to state schools in around Dulwich area. Lambeth council wouldn’t tell me which schools were likely to have open spaces as the situation could change and I suppose they don’t want to be responsible for misinformation. I have a list of the best schools in the area but if they’re oversubscribed, not sure what the outcome would be.

  73. Kanwaldeep Kaur

    I will moving to london in july 2016… I was looking for mid session admission for my daughters… elder one is 5 yrs 6 months… could you please advise top six state schools in Harrow or area near by

  74. Great forum!
    Our family is planning to relocate to London from India for 6 yrs.The girls are aged 11 and 13.They are academically inclined.They have been in an ICSE school in Mumbai.Could you suggest if state run schools , catholic schools or grammar schools are a better option (and the procedure for each).Also we have no clue which location to apply from.As the older child would need to plan for her professional college soon we are in a quandry.Please advise.

  75. Hi, Great article for people moving to London with kids. We are moving from Singapore to London in the first week of August. I have a 3 yrs old boy (Born on 6th Feb 2013), and I am very concerned about getting a good school for my son. I am interested in state schools because according to my findings Private schools are very expensive. In Singapore, he is going to nursery 1. My husband’s office is in Bishopsgate and willing to travel for 30 to 40min. We haven’t decided the area to live, but it might be Arboretum Place, Barking. I have the below questions for you:
    • Will he still continue nursery until August 2017 as he is turning 4 in Feb 2017 and what I understood from your article a child has to be 4yrs to start reception?
    • Will I be late for registration/admission in state schools as I am coming to London in the first week of August?
    • How to contact council (in any area) to know about the availability of seats in state schools?
    Any suggestion would be a guideline for me as we are totally new to London.
    Thank you so much in advance!

    1. if you google Barking council school admissions, it will provide their phone number and email for in-year admissions. You can only apply once you have a residence in the country, so it is not as straight forward as applying from abroad. This only works for private schools. You can apply at any time, even in August.

  76. We are a Portuguese family (planning to move to London this summer permanently). Our daughter is nine years old. she is already studying in an IB school in Doha Qatar. Would you advise an international school (and if so, which one?) Any tips where we should start (location is rather secondary but like everyone I prefer a good school in an affordable part of town…), thanks

  77. Hello, We are moving from Norway, Our daughter is turning 6 in June! School here starts at this age! Is this year 2 in Uk? Is it possible to start With children at her age right away ? We dont have an address in london yet but we are going to study at UCL! Please help…

    1. she would be in year 1 now but move to year 2 in september. you can only apply for a state school place once you live here. you can apply for a private school place any time…

  78. Hi,
    We are relocating to London from Mumbai by July this year. I have two boys aged 12 and 6.5. I would like to know whether there would be any entrance examination for my 12 Year old son. If there is an entrance exam when it is likely to be scheduled ?Both are good with their English and have French as a second language. Will it be difficult for them to get admission into a good state school. Kindly advise.

  79. We are returning to London around August this year. We have 2 kids, 9 and 5.
    1) Is it too late to get admissions in schools if we come in August?
    2) We recall that CofE and RC schools were not open to children of all faiths, is that still the case?
    3) Our 8 year old had got into Eaton Square 4 years ago when we used to live in London but she never joined as we left UK. Do you think this would help if we went back to them now?

    Would appreciate your advice.

  80. John Appleseed

    Hi, I just moved to London 2 months ago, and I am currently in the year towards end of grade 11, therefore I am doing my GCSE’s in the next schooling year, where I will be 17. I am very keen in joining Brampton Manor Academy, which is in Newham, where I live. Can someone please help me enrol myself in Brampton Manor Academy for the next schooling year? I would like to know every step I need to know. Thank you.

  81. Hi, can you please recommend top pre prep schools with after school activities until 5 or 6pm in SW London? Both my husband and myself work full time and prefer not to leave our four year old son with a nanny everyday. We look for a move within London.
    Many thanks!

  82. Hi, my daughter is 3 and a half year old.. We are from India and have come under 6 month’s deputation.. I would like to engage my daughter for this period by putting her in a school can you please help me out

  83. I have 3 kids (girl 7 -boy 9-girl 12) and we have to relocate to London Belgravia Chelsea borough where I chose to live, could you please advise on a private school that all can fit in.

  84. Seeta Krishnan


    We are relocating from India around May this year. My daughter would turn 4 in April’16 and currently studying in a school that adopts Montessori methodology. We plan to reside in Wembley/Eastham localities. Please suggest good schools with in-year admission that adopt Montessori methodology and have Indian students as well. My daughter is fluent in English and an extremely smart kid at school

    1. in that area, there are probably Indian children in every school. At 4, she is eligible to start Reception (main school), so you could look at state or private schools when you arrive.

  85. Hi,
    We’re a Portuguese couple with a 3y old (due in August) relocating to London on August 2016.
    We’re considering Paddington, Kensington or Chelsea areas.
    Can you please advise on good international/private nursery schools and the process for enrolment?
    Can we start visiting/calling even though we have no residence still?
    Thank you.

  86. Hi,
    We will be moving to London by middle April 2016 from India. We have two girls both are born in the month of April aged 7 & 4 as of today.
    I’m planning to fix the school first and based on it finding our house.

    My questions are
    1. Will I be getting school admissions in april2016 at local government school?
    2. Should I first fix my house before the school?

    1. you can only apply for a government school once you have an address. you should check with the council before fixing your address which school has places for your 4 and 7 year old though!

  87. Hii,
    I am Ritu , i m looking job in London , would be relocating with 10 yrs old boy to London, can you please guide which school will be best and what are the expenses..

  88. I have two daughters. One is 13 and other is 7 years. We live in germany and now we are gonna shift to london. But i m very confused about school for them. They can speak english fluently. Would you prefer a school for my daughters? And can my daughters get seat in classes in july? Because we are now in germany and we cant come to london before july as my daughter are studying here.

  89. Hi,
    I will be moving to London on January 2017, same time my son turns 5 years old. I understand he needs to start school at september, and for that to happen I would have to apply for schools at january.
    My question is: from january to september he will not attend any classes? Or can I enroll him to start reception classes on January?

    1. Dear London Preprep;
      first of all thank you for a useful website. we will be moving in April 2016 for a couple of years and our son is 5 years old for 2 months ( birth, Feb 2011. Similar Nara’s child next year situation).
      He is attending a preschool here in Turkey, Antalya, learning English language as well.
      Are there any good state schools you could offer nearby Orpington / Bromley area? ( We will be happy to hear private ones as well )
      Do you think that he should attend “reception” for practising a kind of orientation?
      Could you please share your opinions? Thanks once more.

  90. Hi,
    We would be moving to the UK from Lisbon by Aug’16. I have a 5 year 1 month old daughter and a 1 year 4 month old son. Could you please advice us on some schools which have Portuguese taught as a language.

    1. you would either need to find an international school or just organise it outside of class, you won’t find mainstream British schools who teach Portuguese. It is usually French or Spanish.

  91. Hi,

    We are planning to relocate to UK for a year from feb 2016 to feb 2017. We have a son who will turn 4 on Nov-2016. Currently he is doing nursery in India.

    I have few queries,

    1. Can my son get admission for Reception Class.
    2. If so we will move out to india in feb 2017, will the state schools give noc to continue his education in india ?
    3. Can he join school from feb 2016 to july 2016?

  92. Hi
    Thanks for the info.
    I will be relocated to London EC2A3EE. My daughter will turn 5 on May it means she will be in reception. Now where do I find a public suitable school on this area? Thanks for your help

  93. Hi
    I am thinking of moving to London just for a good primary school base for my children. I am interested in schools like Hamsteadhill but by the time I will be moving my elder would be 8years old but my younger can join that school.Can you recommend me Hamsteadhill sort of school for my 8 years old son.Also an academically good girls only school for my daughter who wold be nearly 13 by then.Richmond/hamstead area.

  94. We moved from the UK 19 months ago for a criminal trial in the US. We now need to go back to the UK (probably not permanently until the end of the school year in 2016 june/july). When we moved to the US my daughter had to repeat a year because in the US she was too young to go into Grade 3. So I have now contacted the private school in London to ask if she can come back but she would now be in Grade 3 and not grade 4 (where she wuld have been if she had stayed in the UK). They have told me that they can not take her back beacuse of her birth year she should be in grade 4. Is that right?

  95. Hi,
    I am relocating to London in Aug2016 and would like to know school options for my 12 year(then) kid who is currently in standard 6. Kindly reply with options before I move. I am currently in India

  96. Hello:
    we have 2 children and are relocating to London from Chicago in June 2016. I will be working near Paddington.
    One child will be 13 (girl) and one will be 9 (boy). Both have been in the Lycee Francais since the age of three, and are therefore completely fluent in French as well as German (and English of course).
    Last year we switched to the Gems Academy which is a for profit school organization. They are still learning French though most of their classes are now in English. We felt the math was lacking and our son is dyslexic which the Lycee did not accommodate well.

    We are completely overwhelmed with where to go in London and what to look at for them. The french school in London is too “snooty” and I was thinking of the Ecole Jeannine Manuel and then the Gems School (Sherfield on Lodden) which is in Basingstoke but no reviews or ofsted reports for either of them. Do you have any thoughts? And might be good to speak with you regarding assistance. Thanks! Wendy Naughton

  97. Hello,
    Congratulatoins for this excellent website. I´m an Argentinean living in Brazil and we´ll be tranfered to London next June. I have a 15 years old daughter and a 13 and 10 years old son (by the moment we move). I planned to live in Richmond or Kensington and send my kids to a state school. How should I apply to a school?. First I need to rent and call the borough or should I get in contact directly with the school?. MANY THANKS for your advise.

    1. for state schools, you need to apply to the council, not the school, but you need to live in London before you can officially apply. Of course, you can call the council in advance to enquire. Check the in-year admissions pages of the council website.

  98. Hi, we are moving to UK from India early next year with our 5 year old son (born on 24th April 2010). My husbands office will be in Whiteley, Fareham so we will look for a place to stay as close to his office as possible. Had the following questions:
    – Which one should we fix first, our place of residence or our son’s school?
    – What if we confirm our place to stay but then the schools near by don’t have a vacancy?
    – Can he start school only in Sep 2016 or should we look for something mid term. If he can start only in Sep, then my husband can travel ahead and we can join him in May after he finishes his school year in India in April
    – How should we go about trying to secure a place in a school?

    Sorry for so many ques! But didn’t know who to ask. TIA

  99. Hi, we are planning to relocate to Winchester from India. My daughter is studying in 4th grade here. Kindly advise some good schools in Winchester.
    Thank you

  100. Hello,
    My husband and I are Brazilians and we will move to London (Richmond) next year (2016), probably in october. So, I’d like to know if you think it’s possible to find a good state school to our 3 year old daughter (date of birth: 28/06/2012).
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, thanks! But, do you think is it possible, even if we move after the admission date? She has to start classes in september 2016, but we will probably move only in october….

  101. My son will be 13 and we are moving back to the UK in December 2016 after my work contract runs out. Can you recommend any independent schools which may have mid year admissions and not necessarily in London, possibly Kent, Surrey , Berkshire or Essex? What are your consulting rates? Is it possible for him to get into a Grammar School? We are moving from South Africa.

  102. Can you please advise me on areas to leave with good schools/nurserys near London? IAny close to Uxbridge? Do you think I can find a school with Portuguese teaching as well? Where? (age: 3 years old)

    Thank you very much

  103. Hi Sir/Madam,

    I am planning to relocate from India to London by May 2016. My husband is based in London for last one year and his current accommodation is at Canary Wharf.

    He will be searching for a rented accommodation very soon. Can you suggest me some places where we can find Indian groups and some good Govt. Schools.

    My Son is 05th Aug 2008 born. Right now he is in year 2 in India. I would need your help to guide me on when do i need to start filling up forms at various schools.

    Appreciate all your help.

    Thanks in advance.


    1. Dear Manjula,
      for government schools, you will need to contact the Tower Hamlets council directly. It is not an easy area for schools, to be honest, so you may want to explore nearby private schools such as the Faraday School on the side.

  104. Hello

    We are moving to London next summer 2016 from Singapore. We used to live in London for 15 years and have our own house in Hampstead, so prefer to stay in the area.
    Now we have two boys aged 7 and 6 attending Dulwich College Singapore, year 2 and year 3.
    We are so confused how the process of admission into a good prep school will be for our boys, due to us been so far away and not able to submit the applications forms as early as the school requested. ( we were not planning to move so fast back to England).
    I read on your site that during year 2 all kids will have an assessment made to enter year 3. But what about if one of my child needs to enter into year 4? What’s the process?
    Also, will we have to travel to London in order to make the assessment test? Or can the test be made in their actual school ( an independent British school, very well know like Dulwich) ? What are our chances of getting a place into a good prep school?
    Sorry for so many question. A desperate mum here trying to figure out what it’s the best option for our family.

    Thanks in advance and really looking forward to your answer.


  105. Hi

    Firstly, am glad to find your article. I am in the same boat as many others on the blog. I dont know much about the process and totally confused. I am moving to London in August 1st week. My son turns 4 in October this year. He is currently going to nursery here in Delhi.

    I need to understand

    1. Will he need to complete the current term and move to UK
    2. Will he get admission to Reception stage or nursery stage next year if he moves with me in August
    3. Can I apply for late admissions in August and get him admitted to Nursery in this year?

    Please could you help.

  106. Hi,
    We are relocating to London from Australia in Aug’15. My son is Aug’08 born and studies Year 1 as per standards here. Since the cutoff here is July and academic year is Jan to Dec. He is eligible for Year 3 there. He is a confident child and good in academics but we still feel it might be adding too much pressure on him to skip a year. We think it would be best to put him in Year 2 in Sep. What would you advice? Little apprehensive if he could cope up?

    We prefer public schools but could you please suggest if private schools might be better in this case?

    Guess the schools close by July 21, so is it better that we land up early and check with the schools and council?? Or is it possible to check even during the school holidays in August??

    We do not have a definite suburb to circle in but from your website and others, thought to look around Kensington, Richmond, Clapham, Putney… Request any more suggestions for good schools and connectivity to Monument. Also looking for suburbs with good options for Sports and other extra curricular activities too.

    Looking forward for advice and suggestions from you.

    Thanks a ton for your help.


  107. Hi,
    we are an italian family and are going to relocate to London. My wife and I will work in the City.
    We’ll be in London at the beginning of October and know about our relocation only few days ago.
    Our son is 3 (dob May 2012), has a high level in italian languange (for his age) and knows only few english words.
    We would like to live not too far from our workplace, but we also think our son education has priority.
    Can you suggest any good school (public or private or even international – but I think int’l costs are too high for us)?
    Our son has a problem with his feet (clubfoot, he uses braces during night and part of the day) and we should need a place were teachers could help as to manage this matter?
    Can you give us advice on which our next move should be?

    Thanks a lot, your website is usefully great!

  108. Hi,

    My husband is being transferred to London from Ireland (will work in central London) and we need to find a school for our son (born 31st August 2011). Will he still attend pre school education or does he need to start primary school already? We are thinking commutable areas like Richmond. Is there any chance that we would be accepted this late in the year? Thanks.

    1. yes he needs to start Reception (legally he doesn’t have to, but that’s the year group he would fall into). You can apply as soon as you have a place to live – Richmond would be very good. You would initially join the waiting list, but the lists always move throughout the summer. Just choose your accommodation strategically so you go to the top of the waiting list when you apply.

  109. This is a very informative website so first off thanks a lot. We are relocating to Central London (near St. Paul’s) from the U.S. and have two kids – Girl born in Aug-2007 and Son born in July-2010. We are looking for a good private school in the central London and nearby west area. Would it be possible to get the kids to a good school in such short notice? Are there any schools you suggest. Appreciate your assistance!!!

  110. Hi,

    I have a 7 years old boy and we will be moving to London around Aug
    We are planning to rent house in Northwood
    Can you please let me know which schools to look for

  111. Hello there,

    We are relocating to Cambridge maybe in September or October from Malaysia and was hoping that you can recommend some good state schools for my son ( born March 2008). Currently he is in primary school ( standard 1) and speaks some English.

    i have a feq questions :
    1) if we decided to stay in Cambridge, can you please recommend some good schools? State school or private school? How do we start applying? And do they have to take entrance exams?

    2) if we decided to stay in London, do you know any names of private school around this area which we should visit ?

    3) We are happy to relocate if we can get him into a nice school. Can you please recommend some good ones and if it is possible for us to apply for him while living in a different area?

    Thank you so much.

  112. Sreelatha Gollapudi


    I have a 6 years old child and we moved to London a month back and staying in harrow.
    Can you please let me know which schools I can opt for .

  113. Hello, I have twin girls turning 3 in June 2015. We have recently relocated to London and are looking for pre-prep school options for them. We live in Lewisham at this moment and are happy to relocate if we can get them into a nice school. Can you please recommend some good ones and if it is possible for us to apply for them while living in a different area?
    Thanks in advance x

  114. My husband is being transferred to London and we need to find a school for our daughter (born January 2010) for the 2015 fall term. Hill House would be a very good fit for us, but is there any chance that we would be accepted this late in the year? Thanks.

  115. I m relocating from India to UK (Coventry) along with my family in September 2015 . I have following scenario regarding the admission of my son :
    My son was born in India on 11-Sep-2008. In India academic session starts from June.
    My son has already completed Grade -1 (Year 2) and will be in Grade-2 (Year 3) in India.
    So by September 2015, my son would have already completed 3 months in Grade-2 (Year 3).
    My question is: As the age cut-off date in UK is 31-Aug , my son would actually be fitting into Year-2 admission criteria (6 years completed between 1-sep-14 to 31-Aug-15).

    But since he has already completed Year 2 and also partially Year 3 in India,would it be possible for him to get the admission in Year 3 ( off-course you can take his test ) ?
    Or I can also delay his relocation to UK ( say in Dec-2015),so that he can apply for mid year admission.In this case, would it be possible for him to join Year-3 ?

    1. usually, he would join is age group. Private schools can cater to the range, and they work 1-2 years ahead of the national curriculum anyway, so it wouldn’t really matter if he has done Year 2 already. At selective private schools, they will just test his level and make sure he progresses from there, so you don’t really need to worry if it is called Year 2 or Year 3, it is just a name. I would rather put him in Year 2 at an excellent selective school than in Year 3 at an average undersubscribed school.

    2. Can he get an admission in Year 3, in a state run school,if I explain them the circumstances ?

  116. Rodrigo Amigorena

    Hi, I am planning to move to London from Argentina on June 2015. I have 3 kids, ages 5,7, and 9. The boy aged 9 speaks some English but the younger ones have very basic English. Would a state school admit a pupil even if they barely speak English? What about private schools? I am planning to move to Richmond or Fulham. Do you think it is possible at this moment of the year to get 3 available vacancies in the same school for next term, right?

    Any recommendation?

    1. Hi Rodrigo, really hard to get three kids into the same school generally, especially with their level of English. State schools have to accept anyone no matter the level of English, if they have places, but unlikely that a good state school will have spaces, let alone three different spaces in those year groups! I would try Sinclair House School in Fulham!

    2. We are relocating from the US over the summer and have had a spot for all our kids at SinclairHouse so it’s good to read that you are recommending the school! We had a good first impression.

  117. Hi, I am moving to London in Apr 2015 with my family, my daughter born in Jul 2010. Please advise if my she can get admission in state schools in April 2015? Is there a website/place we can check the waitlist, since it is too late or we will have to wait till Sept 2015. I am looking in ilford,hounslow boroughs and open to change based on availability. Please advise. Thanks.

    1. you need an address before you can apply. once you have a residence, you can apply, the deadline has passed but you can be on the waiting list till Sep and it always moves. important to move strategically so that you are very close to a good school to have a chance of getting a space.

  118. Hi we will be moving to London in June. We are looking at North Bridge House school, Bassett house school. Reddifford school Pinner and Ibstock Place Roehampton. My child is 8 years old. How would u rate these 4 schools and which is more academic with good all round development. Many thanks!!!

  119. Hi everyone. We are relocating to London coming June (my husband is already in London from March), with our two kids aged 11yrs and 3yrs. We will be living at the area of Richmond and our older daughter has been accepted to Ibstock place school, but we are looking for a good nursery for our 3ys old girl and my worry is that she doesn’t speek the language and I am afraid of the potential difficulties. Any idea of a bilingual nursery at the area of Richmond? Has any mom experienced the same difficulties moving from Greece to London? thank you all so much for taking the time to read this. Elena

    1. don’t worry about it, lots of people do it and the kids pick up English so quickly at this age! just make sure you find a friendly and nurturing nursery with a good child to staff ratio.

  120. Hi
    Thanks for this useful website to help address endless questions relocating parents have about schooling.
    We are a working couple and might move to London in 2015. Our 5 years old son born on 10th/Oct 2009 by that standard should go to Year 2 of reception . He currently goes to an international school in Mumbai where the term will end in early June. I have a few specific questions
    a) Given most state funded London schools end their term by end July – what can we do for the last term May 2015 – July 2015? Can a school consider admission for this last term for Y1? What options we have here as we both will be working?
    b) How do working parents manage summer break..are there holiday clubs provided by these schools duirng august?

    1. yes you can absolutely enter school just for the summer term or part of it, assuming there is space. Many state schools have an optional holiday club that you need to pay for.

  121. Hi!

    I found this website by chance and it is a very informative! Well done.
    We are relocating to London in July from Singapore and was hoping that you can recommend some good state schools for both my daughters age 12 in Nov and 7 in April.
    Currently both of them are in primary 6 and primary 1 respectively but I guess my oldest girl will be in 1 grade lower than in Singapore as we start from 1st jan to 31st dec.

    How do we start applying? And do they have to take entrance exams?
    We are thinking of staying just outside London.

    Thank you.

  122. Hi

    Came across this website (referred by a friend) and appreciate the advice provided. I need some advise as well. I am moving to London in Apr 2015 with my family – have 2 young girls. The younger one was born Nov 2010, so would start in Reception and the elder one was born on Sep 27 2005, going to grade IV in Bangalore, India.

    I am looking for state schools for both my kids, looking at Harrow, Wandsworth, Islington stc. Just worried about the timing of my arrival in London and availability of admissions for my girls in decent state schools. I am open to live in other Boroughs as well (don’t mind a longer commute to Fleet Street, if I am more or less certain of getting into a good school when I apply for admissions which will be sometime in late April.)

    Also worried about my kids not getting admissions into decent schools that I apply for because of long waiting lists in those schools.

    Can you please advise which Boroughs would be the most likely to offer my girls a state school if I apply sometime around April-end 2015?


  123. Thanks for creating a great website. We might be moving to London in the summer of 2015. Our son was born in March 2006 and is currently in Grade 3 in a IGCSE board school in Mumbai with session ending in May. We want to put him into a good private school. How should I go about it if I know the area I want to live in ? Are there entrance exams and how does one best prepare for them ? Thanks.

  124. I am relocating to Abingdon, Oxford -London from France in Feb15 .My I have a son 4 year 3 months on .he has already completed his France Maternelle first year . He speaks English and French .
    We are looking for European schools in Abingdon ,England and what needs to be done to apply? is it possible get admission in mid term? Can you help please as we are looking into moving Feb 2015.

  125. Hi, we are a spanish family relocating to london next year. We have a 10 year old (11 by the time) that doesn’t speak english and we need to find her a good school. Although we know it is difficult and she will have this year a private english tutor. Any recommendations? we will be living in sw3/sw1x … Thank you very much. María

  126. Hi there,

    great website for advice!
    We are an Italian couple with two children and I will move to London in January to work at an EU agency, and I should be entitled to reimbursement for primary school fees.

    My son will turn 5 in december 2015 so I assume he will go into reception in September 2015. My daughet will turn 2 in May. Therefore, from March (when presumably my family will join me) to September, both of them must go tu a Nursery. To avoid too many changes, it would be good to send them at a place where nursery “goes” into primary, so that he will stay in the same school.

    Do you have any suggestions for zone like Swiss Cottage/Belsize/Hampstead; Battersea or other zones with good nursery+primary?



  127. Hi, first of all, thanks a lot for creating such a helpful site! My question is the following. We moved to London this year from Moscow and currently live in West Hampstead with a 15 months old son. Though they say there are plenty of good nurseries and preps in that area, we are totally confused. First of all, everyone frightens us that it’s already too late and we won’t be getting place in a good school. Second, I’m not sure we are still in NW6 by the time our son reaches the necessary age. As a result, I even don’t know where to start from… Please, save us! ))

    Anna & little Leon

  128. Hi,

    Your website is really very informative and precise. I had a very basic question. I wanted to know what are the different entry points/exams for boys in most private schools. I understand it might differ from one school to another but generally.

    Many thanks

    1. Dear Pooja, the problem is for boys there are many. Obviously, the first point of entry is Reception / 4+. Then most selective schools have a 7+ or 8+ intake as well. If you talk about senior schools, you will have either 11+ and / or 13+ entry as well. You have schools that go from 4 – 18 or 4 – 11 or 4 -13 or others from 7 – 18 or 7 – 13, others from 8 – 13, others from 11 to 18 and yet others from 13 – 18, so as you can see there are many entry points, depending on the school!

  129. Hi. I am so glad that i found this website! We are a Korean family living in Hong Kong but we might be moving to London later this year or early next year. Our daughter is born Nov 2011 so she won’t start nursery until Sept 2015, or is it 2016? I never though finding a school for our little one would be so difficult in London! Hubby office is in Loverpool street station. I’ve looked through your list of top london pre-schools but can you please recommend the one with high chance of getting in; in the middle of term? She has been attending playgroup since 1 and just started Kindergarten in September (IB curriculum). Thanks a lot! Just wondering would Imperial College alumni get any priority for St. Nicholas? 🙂

  130. Would really love some advice! We are moving from the US to London with our 3 year old boy. His birthday is August 10, 2011. I am concerned because it seems the UK is very adamant about which school year a child must enter and I can’t tell if he will be ready to to successfully handle Reception as a just turned 4 year old next year. He’s very smart but I’d rather he not be the youngest, smallest boy for potentially the rest of his school years. We are looking at private schools in the Knightsbridge and Chelsea areas. Is there a chance they would let us defer until 2016 or repeat Reception twice?? Thank you.

    1. Dear Lilly,

      you could decide to keep him at home / with nanny for another year and let him start directly in Year 1, as legally he doesn’t need to be in school until he is actually 5, but he would not be able to go into the Reception year. He wouldn’t necessarily be the youngest as there will be other children born in late August, but of course he would be one of the younger children. Schools handle it differently. Hill House is one which lets younger children start in Jan instead of Sep, a term later, but they would still join the same year group. Most other schools split the children into subgroups depending on ability or development, so effectively there may be two subgroups of autumn born and spring / summer born children. My advice is don’t get hung up on the year group and instead look for a school that is good at handling differences between the children in that age group, find a school that still has a good amount of free play and outdoor activities so that it is appropriate for a young child (not easy in Knightsbridge, by the way!), and one that understand how to deal with children of different levels. This is far more important than a school telling you he can be in Reception or Year 1, these are just names, check what they actually do with the children. Otherwise, you could also look at international schools which tend to be more flexible about educating children out of their year group.

  131. So glad to have found this website! Very informative.
    I am in a bit of bother. We live in Norwich at the moment but my husband got a job in Central London and starts in the 1st of September 2014. We are in the process if buying a place in Hertfordshire but the vendors don’t move out till October 31st. We are having to look for a short stay flat (very expensive) as we have handed in notice at our current place.

    The issue now is that we have handed in notice at my daughter s independent school in Norwich.she was at reception there.
    I have been looking at schools in the area but of of course they are all full except one. Not my likely choice.

    I just would like your advice really. Should I just keep her at her school in Norwich till the term ends and then move her to the independent school in Hertfordshire in January. I am sure more places will be open then.
    The downside of this is that she will join her new school in the middle of the year. OR
    Go ahead as planned and move her by September 2014 so she starts year one at the new school. Although this will cost more in terms of finding a place to stay. And possibly attending a school that is not my first choice.
    Thank you

  132. Hi,

    I will be moving to London by end of September 2014 or starting of October. My work location will be either Spital Square, E1 or Battersea Bridge Rd, SW11.
    1. Would it be possible for me to grab a place for my 4 year old kid in a state school that time as my stay will be for more than 3 years and she will be dependent on me.
    2. As i am travelling without my spouse, are there any programs in state schools for after hours where we need to pay nominal/affordable charges.


    1. Hi Shikha, state schools tend to have after school and holiday clubs that cover Mo – Fri 8am to 6pm but nothing beyond that if you have business travel.

      Yes you can apply for places after you move but would need to join the waiting list at the most oversubscribed schools as you will be a late applicant. First you need a residence in London.

  133. Hi! We will be moving to London around Oct 2014 for six months and the stay may be extended to an year. My daughter will turn 5 in Sep 2014. I am concerned about her schooling as to which class she will be admitted and will the admission in school be a very tough thing?Another thing is that the duration of our stay is not too long so would that be a problem?

    1. yes for very short duration you would probably best go to one of the international schools who cater to this sort of situation, I don’t think British prep schools would be too interested in taking a child for five months only.

  134. we have just moved to croydon from India and we have a daughter of 4.5yrs. she will be turning 5 on 25ht dec 2014. can you please help us in finding a good school for her? I would also like to know whether we can send her to some place now, where she can learn to speak english?
    Thanks in advance


  135. This site has been so lovely to browse through!

    It VERY overwhelming having to sort out schools for your kids when you move and don’t know anything about the area!

    I am originally from uk, living in U.A.E with hubby (who is emirati), we are moving to London, Richmond area, most likely Ham, with our twin boys who will turn 7 in July 2014.
    Now my boys were born premature at 30 weeks, they shouldn’t have been born until end of September 2007.
    Here in the U.A.E, they just finished KG2, and would be going into grade one in September.
    They have slight learning difficulties, just needing a little extra patience and time, yet still able to complete the work. They went to a regular private school here.

    So my big questions are: 1. What year would they start? From my understanding it should be yr3. However, could they go into yr2 on account of they’re ‘real’ birth date (September). And the fact that I think they would be way behind a yr3 class!
    2. What are the best private schools around the Ham area, not academically, just in terms of friendly staff, small class sizes and understanding different abilities.

    I would prefer private only since it will be paid for us, and possibly more attention for the boys since they’re would be smaller class sizes.

    We would be arriving in Richmond around end of August.

    If you could give me some names of schools you think would suit us I would be massively grateful!

    Sharan x

  136. Hello!

    I am relocating with my family to London this summer from the US. We have 2 girls age 7 and 5. We are currently looking at Eaton Square School, Ravenstone School and GEMS Hampshire School. Any suggestions as to which one of these would be best? My husband will be working in Surrey but we decided to live in the City for the experience. Any advice on these schools would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Hi Chris, only one of those three is featured here and that’s the one I would recommend among those three. If your husband is going to work in Surrey, you could also look at areas like Fulham/Putney/Wandsworth with better access to Surrey, lots of excellent schools there.

    2. Thanks for your reply. I assume you mean Eaton Square School? I did not see it listed in your top Prep School list and that was why I was worried. I understand it is very near to the Victoria station which would get him directly into Surrey. Is that correct? Again thanks for your reply.

  137. hello, we are Belgians moving to London this August 2014 we dont exactly know where we are going to stay yet (probably in Croydon).we are coming with our 7 years old boy who speaks french is he going to hget a state school to start this September 2014? we are very worried about not having a school, because private schools are expensive and we cannot afford such money
    thank you for your reply

  138. Hi
    I know I’m bit late to ask a query under this post.But very essential now for us since we are abt to relocate to london in in September 2014 n by the time the schools would have started .

    My questions are
    1.How do we apply to school once the academic year started.will my son has to forgive some classes is my worry.
    2. My son born in Oct 1st 2008 is in the British school here in Qatar in Reception .So is the same age followed I will have to apply for Year 1.

    Pls reply since we r much worried abt the in-year admissions.

    Thnx in advance

  139. Hi,

    I am moving to London in July and looking for schooling for my 2 and half years old daughter. I will be working near Golden Lane, Barbican Station. Please can you suggest the borough and some good state schools where I can admit her for nursery or pre school.


    1. state nursery only starts for children from 3 so it will probably have to be private before that. Islington has many outstanding state schools, the best known ones are William Tyndale, Yerbury, Grafton, Thornhill. also the hardest to get into of course, you would need to live very close.

  140. Hello, I am moving to London with my two kids 5 and 8 from the Czech Republic Prague, somewhere to this area Dalston, Kings cross, Hoxton, Highbury or Islington. The main reason I do this is to let them learn English. Please could you tell me if there is a primary school nearby, that has something like a program for integrating kids with no english and if there is a possibility they will be signed in to a british primary school? thank you very much for your answer. KZ

    1. Hi Kamila, all the state primary schools should be able to provide extra language support and help with this transition. You’ll need to call Islington / Camden councils and try to find out which schools have availability for those year groups!

  141. Thank you so much for very useful information.

    We’ve just moved to UK and lives in Richimond.
    We have 2 kids (3 and 1) and need to think about reception for our older one for next year and also to register second one too.
    I heard many of my friends registered their kid’s names right after birth, so I feel almost no chance for our kids to get in private school.
    We moved to UK for better education, so we would prefer private schools especially older age. Should we try to register our kid’s names on some of private schools even it’s too late for next year to start reception?
    We started thinking to let her start with state school at the beginning and try to move to private school whenever vacancies for them in the future.. Do you think this is the best way?
    Do you know any names of private school around this area which we should visit ?

    Thank you.

    1. yes it still makes sense to register in case anything opens up. you can always call the schools and ask. state primary schools in Richmond are excellent though so it might make sense to start out with a state school if you can get into one of the good ones!

  142. Hi,
    We are moving to London from Singapore with two kids 6 and 1 in Oct. We will be mostly staying in Richmond area. Could you please suggest any good state or independent school for my 6 yrs old?
    Many Thanks!

  143. Fabio Martirani

    New (Free) French bilingual school in London !
    I thought some of you may find it interesting to know that a new free bilingual (French/English) is opening in South East London (Bromley) this coming September 2014. Please find the website link below:
    I think it’s interesting to highlight how Bromley is well connected to Victoria (17 mins direct train), a new DLR connevtion is planned to be built to connect Bromley with Canary Wharf, via Lewisham, and there are also connections to London Bridge and Charing Vross via frequent trains, which will triple frequency over the next 3-4 years. Bromley centre is being currently modernized and current affordable attractive period and modern property stock, grammar secondary schools (and international secondary school in Greenwich) and easy access to the country side and Kent/Sussex beaches could be an attractive destination for new international expats in London…

  144. Moving to London from US in two months with two boys 6 and 8. I have started applying to ASL, ACS (Hillingdon), and Southbank but two of these are telling me that my kids are on a waitlist and chances are less than 50% that the list will clear? Is this normal for this time of the year and for these schools? Are other reputed international (or American) schools that you would recommend?

  145. We aré moving to London this summer And i would like to find a good school for our 3 boys in a co educ . Would You recommend us schools in which there aré spaces to start in september? Our children aré 10, 9 And 5 years old. Thank You very much

  146. Hello,
    I have a son who is almost two and a half.
    I would like to know which are the best independent schools in London please.
    I am willing to live anywhere for the best feeder nursery for my son and later my daughter (she’s almost six months old).

  147. Hello!!
    Does anyone know something about Falcons School for Boys (pre prep in Chiswich and Prep in Richmond)???
    Is it a good school?
    Thank you,

  148. Hi,

    I am surprised I happen to visit your site very recently. Good Work..
    I currently live in Salisbury, Wiltshire because of my work and my daughter is 6+ (august 27th born) currently in year 2 in an outstanding state school here. My daughter is 6+ and attends Kumons, and attends gymnastics and Piano classes. We are looking to get her into a private school for her overall development at this stage. I have looked at private schools and there are quite nice ones here. My husband works in London and travels frequently and I am planning to relocate to London / Kent for better job opportunities and good education (primarily) by Sep 2014. Request you to advise me good private schools in London / Kent and my main criteria is the school should prepare for 11+. I am looking at Kent only because of many grammar schools nothing else. As I am relocating from a very calm and a beautiful place I would prefer to live in a similar place. initially I will be renting. I want to choose the school first and then find a house closer to the school.


  149. Hello!
    Very useful information! Thank you! My daughter currently attends Colville Primary School in Kensington and Chelsea, but I am looking forward to enrolling her in an international school for next academic year. Southbank has a long waiting list and chances are she might not get in… is there any British school worth looking at or any other international school around the area?

    Kind Regards,

  150. Hi,
    We are moving to London next summer with our 7 year old daughter. She is currently attending the Antwerp British School in Grade 2. We would prefer an independent Girls school somewhere not too far from West London w2/w11 etc. What would you advice?
    Kind Regards Anthony

  151. I really appreciate the valuable information you provide on this site. We are an American family based in Hong Kong and relocating to London this September. Which international schools in Central London might you recommend for our 5-year old and 4-year old? How difficult is it to obtain a spot at the American School in London?
    Kind Regards,

    1. Dear Sarah, a 4 and 5 year old generally are not the easiest ages as this is the standard school entry age so the class would just have been filled and less places happen to open up so early in the year. I know clients who obtained a spot at the American School in London but at such short notice in that age group in can be a challenge. Have a look at this overview of international schools in London:
      If you need personalised help, we do offer a bespoke admissions consulting service which you may found useful! Please write an email with details of your children to if you are interested.

  152. Hi,
    This is really a very informative site for all parents wanted to move to London.
    I have a son(dob-26-7-2004) going in class 4 in India.we are relocating to London in April 14.I wanted to know in which son will get admitted in sept.14? I am problaly looking for area Harrow on the hills or croydon.will you please guide me good state schools?

    Thanks a lot.

  153. Hello There,

    I will be relocating long term 2+ years to London in 2nd week of Dec 13. Have 14 yrs (8th Grade) and 8yrs (3rd Grade) old kids. I will going to Canary Warf for work. Pls advise
    1) Area near to Canary Warf with good schools
    2) I hope we will get the mid term admission for both my kids – Advise the process


    1. Dear Neelam,
      we can discuss these via an initial consultation. Please contact consulting AT for rates. Generally, schooling near Canary Wharf is not easy but there are some good options.

  154. Good day,
    We will be moving to London early next year when my son born June 5th 2000 will be in year 8 of schooling. Being less of an academic he is more creative and artistically inclined.Cost of living is not a constraint. We will be looking to live in the St Johns wood/Hampstead area but are not restricted to the same.Would much appreciate if you could guide me towards good private schooling.Is the dulwich college very academic??
    Kind regards

  155. Hi,

    I am relocating to London from India in Sep13 for 2 years .My office will be at heathrow airport. I have a daughter turning 4 on 13th -Sep-13.She has already completed her nursery in India and doing Kindergarten which is equivalent to Reception in UK.

    According to UK law it looks like she can start Reception from Sep-2014. But I want her to get in-year admission in Reception so that her 1 year is not wasted when we move back to India.

    Can you please suggest if this is possible ,if yes then what would the possible way.


    1. Dear Kapil,
      yes the law is applied strictly here which means your daughter won’t be able to join a Reception class now, especially in the state sector. Among private schools, some might be more accommodative, but it is very rare. The good news is that learning is very individualised here so that children who are very advanced can work 1-2 years ahead of their classmates. Especially at the top schools, the learning goes far beyond the National Curriculum anyway. So it is very likely she won’t really be behind when you move back to India. Some private schools agree to advance the children but it can be those that have a lot of open places – which is not common for the top schools. I would focus on finding an excellent school -state or private- first and foremost, rather than trying to find any school that agrees to put her in Reception this year. If you need help finding a private school, we offer admissions consulting services, the contact email is consulting AT londonpreprep DOT com. Good luck!

    2. Thanks a lot for the info. this is good to know about that the pattern of teaching in UK in individualized.
      i assume that even if I advance my daughter to reception this year in any private school ( who agrees). She still won’t be able to apply for Stage 1 next year in State school( law still hold). And If in any case I stayed beyond 2 years , need to stick with private schools that long. ???

      Do you also assist finding the top state school in some area ( where we stay locally) so that can apply the choices based on this.

      Thanks in advance..

    3. Hi Rahul, I can generally assist in the way of offering a phone consultation to outline exactly how the process of obtaining a suitable state school place works and how to optimise your chances, including the next steps, but state school applications are not as straight-forward from abroad as you need an address before you apply and find out about the outcome. So the help I can offer is a bit different from help with private school admissions!

    4. Thanks very much for the information .I however would definitely like to consult with you when I am in London.

      Agree that address would always needed to select the choices in community. Do you like to suggest what could be the best place to rent ( in around London ) with respect that I get best schools to offer. I however don’t mind to travel up to 20-30 miles to maximize the chances .

      With Regards

  156. Hi,
    I am planning to send my son (Birth date :22nd Dec 2006) to my sister who lives in Basildon who is also calling her daughter (Birthdate:Sept 2006) from mumbai.I would like to send him when primary schooling starts.What are the things i have to do before ? Which schools are better in Basildon?

  157. Hi,

    My son will turn 9 in september 2013. He currently goes to Grade 4 in an IB school in India. I believe grade 4 is considered Year 5 in British system. We are planning to move to London in December or Jan 2014. I have a couple of questions for you –

    1) Will they make him repeat grade 4 (Year 5 in UK terms)? if we join in September 2014? What if we join in Dec 2013, can he continue in Year 5 at an IB school?

    2) What is the difference between IB/American and British curriculum. If we will be in US for his college, what would you recommend?

    3) We are not sure where we will move to but we want to be zone 2 or 3. Can you recommend which schools might have space in Dec 2013 or Jan 2014?

    4) I have a daughter who is currently in grade 1 (Year 2) and I was wondering if I should be looking at girls only and boys only schools or should i focus on co-ed? I am not sure why there are so many separate schools for boys and girls in UK?

  158. Hi
    So, we, like the rest, are moving to London:-) We’re moving from Munich at the end of the year…it was decided yesterday. I’m American (but of french, spanish and Italian background) and my husband is German. Now, i have a bit of a problem….My son goes to the French Lycee in Munich – it was the only school who’s cut off is Dec. 21, he was born Nov. 7th, 2011…so he started there at 2.5yrs…he’s been hungry for learning since the day he came out…i wouldn’t say he’s smart but hungry for knowledge…a big difference at this age..i think…anyhow, he speaks fluent German, English and French…I would love to switch him over to the French school but i keep reading that they don’t take kids mid term…my first choice is l’ecole de Battersee (i hear it’s the only real 50/50 french school)..I haven’t been to it but planning on visiting it and the german school in the next two weeks…we will also look at Hill House…any other schools you could recommend were they would teach German as well and French ?. He starts 1st grade (CP) next week so I need to keep him in 1st grade which in the british system as well as the german system they would lower his grade, maybe…or am I wrong? the school thing is a major priority…it must be good, really good….this will sound snobby but it’s not meant to be…my family is all IVY League educated so a good prep school is a major must.
    Now, I also have twins, they will be 1 yr at the end of year (born 12.12.12). does it make sense to put them in daycare? or should I just get a nanny (i and my husband both work for big media companies…i 30 hours, he 100 and is basically never home, always traveling)…my son had a nanny and had “activities” until he started the petite section at the lycee at 2.5 yrs. I was doing the math and it seems a bit excessive for daycare but i may be wrong. any advice on this topic? if a nanny, where do i find one…mine may only come over for a month maybe two…obviously haven’t discussed anything with her but…i need to find one there. If nursery, which is good and bilingual…german/french preferred. and when does one apply for Pre-school…which are good and highly recommended? I feel like it’s LA where my parents signed me up for the best schools before I was even born…almost sad i would say….and that was in the 70’s.
    Third, Living…no clue were to live…close to city but not ridiculous priced and not BFE. I don’t feel like spending excessive amounts of money on a rental property but I do need a minimum of 5 rooms and a garden (we plan on renting 3yrs then buying -if we stay)…i’ve been looking in the areas between Holland Park and fulham basically that “U” area down there..if your looking at a map. I would love something family friendly with a bit of “life” and not Ueber snobby…i grew up in a neighborhood like that…i don’t care if the school is snobby as long as it’s good but the neighborhood should be nice, safe, “clean”, near some green, and somewhat normal (plus: tub, markets, gym, shops but not excessive) ..i just don’t want excessive for my kids, i want nice:-)…they’ll get it at school i know but i’d like to try to keep some stuff somewhat “real”. any suggestions? I only know London in terms of work so have no clue about the neighborhoods….
    many many thanks for any suggestions etc… have a great WE

    sorry for errors…typing fast…sure i forgot something

  159. Hello

    we are moving to London with our 10 year old son and do not have a schooll. As yet we don’t have accommodation either but had thought SW around Fulham or South Kensington. Any thoughts of Catholic schools that have vacancies?

    Thanks Peter

    1. Dear Peter,

      Holy Cross is a very popular Catholic primary school in Fulham that might well have a vacancy in that age group. It is worth asking around all the Catholic state schools since many children leave over the years, so for a 10 year old there should be availability. If you are looking for a private school, this would require more personalised consulting services, just drop us a note on consulting AT londonpreprep DOT come for services and rates.

  160. Hi,

    We are relocating and have a 2 year old. I need to get my child into a feeder nursery in north London so that my child can get into a good private school.

    My question are
    1) where can I find a list of good feeder nurseries in north London.
    2) am I late in applying to these nurseries because in some you have to apply when the child was not even born.
    3) where do I go to understand the assessent process for 4+

    Hope you can help me


  161. Hello, we are planning on relocating to London in two years. We still have time to register for all of the 7+ schools but will have to travel overseas to London for the examinations which is costly and enervating for our older child. How accommodating are schools? City of London is very appealing for myriad reasons but also because one and done! Notification is so early that we would not have to come back. Have you any experience with anyone who has successfully managed multiple admissions processes?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi, best would be to focus on a few schools and try to schedule the exams in one or two weeks so you only have to come once. also think of a back-up choice of another prep school that would prepare for 11+ entry to City.

  162. saima qureshi

    Thankyou so much for putting together this site to inform parents like me who are still in the process of finding there way in a completely place.Best wishes to u!

  163. saima qureshi

    i have 2 children a girl oct 2000 born and a son feb 2005 born and i have just moved to wandworth area, tooting.Though i have applied for in-year admission to the local council i am still very worried and anxious since i hear good schools in the catchment area are oversubscribed.any advice?

    1. Hi Salma – just make sure you check the league tables for Wandsworth council on the bbc website (education – primary league tables) to make sure you have some data about a school before accepting. Check mumsnet forum as well. In general Wandsworth has a lot of good state primary schools though. Also have a look if you can apply to schools in Richmond if you are not too far away. Lowther school is well rated and often has places.

  164. Thanks for all the details. We are moving to London next month. Greenwich and Canary wharf have been shortlisted. Have a daughter who will turn 3 years next month. i guess we need a school with a nursery, what schools could I look at, interested in private and co-educational schools.any help is appreciated.

    Nayana Sethi

  165. Hi! Thank you for the valuable information on your website!
    I have been slightly paralyzed these last couple of days since my husband is in the process of accepting a job in London (in the City), starting end of JULY and we would be moving from Florida, US, with THREE kids – two are school age (Reception and Year 2) and one is still little. I realize that it is going to be very difficult to find good schools for them that don’t cost a fortune. We are very flexible in terms of areas. City, city-ish or further out are all ok options as long as we can find the right school. I guess I am looking for help with a plan of attack here!
    State schools: Is there ANY point at all to try to find openings in reception and year 2 at a “good” or “outstanding” school at this stage? If so, where is my best bet? We would not have an address until end of July at the earliest… What happens if you move in to an area and there are no spaces?
    Private: While we would be ok with a typically British school (My daughter started reception at Brighton College Abu Dhabi, but we left for the US after only 3 months), we are a Swedish/American family and would prefer a more international type school if we would have to do private. I love what I hear about Hill House, especially their focus on arts and sports and the combination of British and international. I clearly also like that they are 10K per year and not 20K as all the other internaional schools I have looked at. I will contact them tomorrow, but would be interested in any other suggestions you may have. Any advice for us would be most welcome! Thank you!

  166. Hello,

    I am considering a short term assignment in London (near Brentford, Middlesex) from Jan to July 2014. My daughter (born Oct 2006) has just finished 1st grade in USA.

    She will start 2nd grade here in US in September but is it possible to enroll her mid-year in a school in London so she does not lose a whole school year? If so, what is the best way for me to make that happen? I will have company paid housing but I won’t know the details till later this year.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Vivek, yes you can enrol any time, you could just do the winter and summer term from Jan to July, that is not a problem. You will pay for the two terms instead of the year. The problem is obviously not all schools are interested to have a child join for such a short time, as they would always prefer to give the space to someone staying longer. If you need any further help, contact our admissions consulting team under consulting AT

  167. Hello,
    We are moving to London September 1st with a daughter born 12/4/2009. I’m doing research now to find schools with openings, so we can apply as soon as possible. We are looking at Montessori and Italian, French or Spanish bi-lingual nursery programs.

    I read through the bi-lingual recommendations above, but I’d be interested in suggestions specific to Notting Hill/ Kensington areas. We are looking for flats in that area and will walk or rely on public trans to get our daughter to and from school.

    Please let me know what advice you’d have for us.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Anne-Marie. You could try the Montessori Children’s House in Notting Hill. There are also some Italian (one is called Primi Passi I believe) and especially French nurseries – not all will have a place at such short notice of course. If you need more in-depth help, we can find a place for you, just drop us a line under

    2. Hi Anne-Marie. My son went to Ladbroke Square Montessori in Notting Hill. He absolutely LOVED it. However your daughter is the same age as my son and at the age of 4 + this September you may be better looking at registering her in a Reception class at a prep school as opposed to a pre-school. Pre-schools here are normally from 2 and a half up to 5 years and the majority of children leave at 4 and a half to go on to reception. Private schools will be pretty oversubscribed for this September, especially in the Notting Hill area. I’d suggest Bassett House, W10 as a starting point or Thomas’s School in Kensington. If you have no luck with places and you need somewhere private in the short term (or long term) then I would highly recommend Abercorn School in St Johns Wood. It is a very international school and places do become available more often than the ones I have mentioned above. Good luck!

    3. Thank you very much for the advice. American convention for month/day causing me trouble already — our daughter was born Dec 2009, but I’m very happy for the primary recommendations all the same.

      Thank you again for taking the time to reply.

  168. Hi
    First of all this is a best website I have just come accross. It’s a huge shame I didnt find it few years back.

    Like with most parents we moved houses to get my daughters into a good state school. We were in Perivale moved to Harrow. My elder daughter did not get the school we wanted but the one she attends is safe and good. She is currently in Y1 (DOB May 2007) however, my younger daughter will be starting Receiption next September which means I will need to apply for a place this year.

    Now having only moved two years ago and considering I would still like my daughters to study at one of the top state schools. And after many sleepless nights and talking to many other parents / friends we decided to continue them in the current school and relocate when they are in Hight school (YR 7).

    But since I’ve stumbled over this lovely helpful website of yours I would really appreciate your help & guidance as my strong deisre is to relocate to a school and to continue them all the way through till the end. I work in West End I need to be close to transport links but for the sake of being able to provide good education to my children I am happy to commute.

    I guess I am really looking for either good state schools within the Harrow area ( I understand that I will have to relocate even within to be in the catchment area for both Primary & High School) or relocate away completely with the names of the school for all education stages.

    I have read in your previous post that schools in Richmnond are very good – could you please name them.

    Thanking you in advance!

  169. I should have clarified the above question… we will be moving in late august/early september 2013 to London

  170. Hi I have 2 children (4 years and 6 years old) attending the Lycee Francais school here in HK, International section that is conducted mainly in english. Does this school in London have an international/english section and what are the chances of them getting into the lycée francais in london?

  171. Hi we are in Italy. Our daughter is 12 years old and completing her VIIth standard this summer and we would like put her in a good school for VIIIth standard. Is it too late for admission? what is the procedure can you please provide the sufficient information. We cannot afford to send her to private schools where the fees is too high. thanking you

  172. My son is 15 months old – I’m keen to get him started in a pre-prep school (preferably one that has a prep school attached to it too) in January 2014 when he will be 23 months old. I live in Clerkenwell which doesn’t have too many options.
    Please can you suggest some pre-prep schools which are good and not too far out (I don’t mind a 30 min commute).

  173. Hello,
    My husband, and I are moving to London this August, and unfortunately our six year daughter is still not enrolled in private school.Would you be able to advise a couple of decent private school within the central London area,that we may take interest in.Thank you
    for your time.

  174. Hello,

    We are relocating from Germany to London. We have a daughter who will be 8 years in May and a son who will be 4 in October. Both of them are attending International school /Kindergarten here so are very comfortable with English.
    My husband’s work in near hyde park and mine will be in liverpool street. Presently, We are looking for houses in Bromley and Ilford area (as told by others), which one do you prefer based on the quality of living and education. My first preference will be state schools / preschool for my children.
    1. What state /private schools/ pre schools do you recommend for both of them and what year would they attend?
    2. Since I am a full time working mum, how do I go about the childcare after school hours, are there good websites or links to follow.
    3. Any other aspect that I should be thinking about at the moment.

    Your help will be greatly appreciated.

    Many Thanks,

    1. Hi Kranti – I am focusing more on Central London although I have heard Bromley mentioned often in terms of family friendly neighbourhoods with good schools. The best will be for you to see the “starting primary school” brochure for Bromley which will have all the info on schools and their after-school care facilities. There will always be schools that offer 8am – 6pm childcare. Check “primary school league tables” on BBC or Guardian websites for the top schools in Bromley. Good luck!

  175. Hi! Most helpful posts and comments, thanks.
    We’re relocating back to London over the summer with our 2 year old son (Feb 2011). We’re likely to be renting in North Greenwich for the first year. My son will be 2.5 in September and I’m wondering if you have any suggestion for nurseries in Greenwich/Isle of Dogs and if it’d be best for him to join a nursery or just a playgroup, considering we’ll be spending some months in Italy during the first year, and he’ll be likely to miss one or two months worth of school in a row sometime. thank you!

  176. hi

    All you answers above are very useful. We are moving to London from Dubai in July’13 and have a son who wil lbe 3 years 7 month in July (DOB – Nov 2009). He would have completed almost 2 years in an international nursery in Dubai till then. Do we still have to enroll him a nursery again as he would still not be 4 years in September 2013. If yes, then can we put him in nursery for 1 term and then move to reception in Jan’14. We are looking at places like Stanmore, Finchely Road, Neasden, Harrow to live (basically North London). Please could you recommend good private and public schools in these areas. Many thanks. Siddharth & Priyanka

    1. Hi – yes generally he would do nursery school one more year and then go into Reception one year later. Only private schools might make an exception to this rule. It happens but is not always recommended – you will save a year but very likely your son would find it hard to compete for places at the top schools later on being younger than anyone else taking 7+ or 11+ test so you need to make sure he is really that far ahead just by having spent two years at nursery school already.

  177. Hi,
    We are relocating from New York City to London. We have son who will have finished his first year of pre school here. He will be 4 on November 5th. What private pre schools do you recommend in Central London and what year would he attend?

  178. Hi Alice,

    Thank you for this site and all the valuable information here. I am moving to from Karachi to London with my 2 young girls, ages 5 and 3-1/2 in July of this year. They both go to the British Overseas school here and speak fluent English, We will initially live in Kilburn NW6 4TA where we have a home but will sell that and get a bigger house within the year. I would appreciate very much if you could advise the best private and state schools near the Kilburn area and would it be possible to secure admission for sept 2013 considering we will be coming in July. Also which area would you suggest we should look for a new house based on the best primary schools in London?

  179. Thank you, all this info has enlightened me on the British school system. My daughter will turn 3 in July 2013. We moved to UK just a couple of months ago and we are at the Greenwich millenium Village, which is to the north of historic Greenwich . Any recommendations for state school and/or private co-educational school.Thanks a ton!

  180. Hi there,

    We are a French/English family with 2 boys aged 2 and 7.
    We are looking for best secondary schools in London and what needs to be done to apply? Can you help please as we are looking into moving asap! Many thanks

  181. Thanks a lot for all the great information you provide. We are Italians relocating to London next July. I understand your focus is more on primary schools, but would you recommend any private, relatively affordable secondary on Richmond (and surroundings) and on Kensington and Chelsea?

    Thanks again

  182. Hi This info and your site is great! we are Australians relocating to London from Dallas, Texas over the summer so need a place for our boys ( dob 14/12/2007 and dob 22/01/2010)
    We will want an independant school. My concern is around what level my 5 year old would enter. Here in USA, he is completing his final year of preschool, and would commence kindergarten the first year of elementary school in september. Am I right in thinking that he would have to enter year 1 in the UK? I am concerned that he might not be ready for that, whilst he is mature, curious and a fast learnerthe ,he does not have a great grasp of the alphabet yet and certainly cannot read ( alphabet and numeracy is not formally taught in our pre school here) Whilst of course we do lots of reading and alphabet familiarisation at home, he has not been formally taught any proper literacy or for that matter numeracy skills at pre school. Would he struggle in year one? Thankyou so much for your advice

    1. Hi Melanie, yes you’re right he would enter Year 1. Children in England do indeed start formal learning earlier than children in other countries. Have a look at the Reception curriculum (just google “what do they teach in Reception” or sth like that) and this will give you an idea. It would help if he could read simple words and basic number skills (1-20). I’d suggest you choose a school with very good pastoral care so they can focus on getting him up to speed individually. It’s certainly worth trying to bring him up to speed over the summer holidays so his transition to school in the UK is easier! For reading, people often recommend the Jolly Phonics books. Definitely talk to the schools about it and get their advice as well!

  183. Thank you for your excellent info!
    We are moving to London from mid April and have a kid who is 5 years.
    She goes to a British school in Singapore right now, and I suppose no problem for going British school for her.
    Our flat will be SW5 area, but it has been so difficult to find schools …very frustrating…
    We have applied private schools, Thomas’s , Southbank,esc since there is no space in states schools in the area right now, but these private schools are on waiting lists too. Can you give me some more idea to find good schools near the area?? Thanks!!

  184. Is anyone else having trouble communicating with independent schools via e-mail? Or is it just me? We are relocating to London from Bulgaria this summer. I am trying to find a place in one of the reasonably priced private schools for our seven year old son . Over the last few weeks I sent out dozens of e-mails explaining our situation. So far I have zero responses. I am getting discouraged, thinking none of those schools can accommodate him.
    Also I was hoping to find out information on music lessons for kids. Matthew has been playing the piano for over 3 years now. If he is not able to get into one of the private schools with music program we have to find other ways for him to continue his music education. Do public schools offer such programs? Thank you for being so helpful.

    1. Hi Emily – you are definitely not alone. The schools are really busy at the moment as it is admissions season right now. You really need to call them by phone many times to get hold of someone. They may not all respond to emails. Almost all independent schools offer private music lessons, many at a very high level. But you can also arrange them separately. I will send you more details on schools via email.

  185. we’re expats and have a young son and daughter and looking for a co-ed prep sch in a nice residential area. we have came across kew college what do you think of it? thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Alice! Kew College is a lovely school with great results. I have actually profiled it under “most affordable private schools”. It wasn’t included initially bc it’s not in central london but as the site expands we will most likely add Kew College as well in the near future.

    2. thank you so much for your fast reply! my daughter is academically abled, artistic and musical but not so sporty would you advise for hill house, kew college or city of london? or a good state primary sch in richmond? sorry i know they are all very different. thanks again look forward to read your comment!

    3. Hi Alice – all schools are great but in totally different ends of London so I would go by where you want to live. I assume by City of London you mean their preparatory department? They only start from 7 years old for your info and are not co-ed, the boys’ and girls’ schools are separate. Of the three, City of London is probably the most academic, Hill House strongest in arts/music and Kew College a nice all-round school. Most state schools in Richmond are excellent as well. Hope that helps!

  186. Hello,

    we are a family of Spain, it will move to London for work. We are looking for a school for our son baby yet, look for a school that imparts the method of Glenn Doman early stimulation and / or also the multiple intelligences theory of Howard Gardner in his educational model, and if its possible with ICT (Information and Communication Technologies).
    If you know which school or pre-schools teaching this method, please tell us.

    Any information about it will help.

    Thank you very much in advance.


    1. Hi Cristina, very interesting question! Are there preschools in Spain following the Glenn Doman method? At the moment all preschools are bound by the Early Years Curriculum in the UK so I doubt there is a nursery following Glenn Doman’s methods. I have never heard of any place like that. You might be interested in a chain of nurseries called Active Learning though, they cover similar areas of stimulation (motor development, sensory development etc.) and I think are relatively open to individualise their children’s learning. The website is – what do you think? Also, if you do come across any such nurseries, do let me know, I would be very interested to hear about it.

  187. Hi,
    We are looking at moving back to London from Singapore in August 2013 with two girls one who will go into year 4 and another into year 1. We are thinking about an 8+ assessment for City of London School for Girls for the older one. Very worried about the 8+ assessment as this is all last minute. Any suggestions on how to approach this.

    Also, any suggestions on which other good schools would have vacancies ?

    Appreciate the help.

    1. Hi Vikram – yes taking the 8+ exam last minute can be stressful. It might make sense to hire a specialist tutor for this purpose to catch up. At the 7+/8+ entry level it’s hard to find top schools with spaces as they tend to fill them up from the 7+ / 8+ exams and then also operate a long reserve list for waiting list candidates. Best will be to call up the top schools directly and see if anything can be done. Otherwise, I would go with a less prominent school for a couple of years and try again at the 11+ entry level.

  188. Hi,

    I have a daughter (birth date 29-June-2006) and son (birth date 20-Oct-2010). We will be moving from Bangalore to London on 1-May-2013. We don’t have decided on a place where we would live in London.

    Would it be possible to find a state school for them given we are coming only in May? Should we actively search for an Independent school right away? Are there schools around Osterley?

    1. Hi Rajiv – yes you will get a state school place, but you will have to take whatever is available in the borough you move to – you won’t get to choose. I would recommend moving to a borough which has a very high overall level of quality to improve your odds of securing a place at a good school. Richmond is usually the top choice. Most state primary schools there are excellent. If you’re targeting Osterley you should call up the school admissions team in the council directly and ask them about your situation for your daughter – your son won’t start school until Sep 2015 (he could start state nursery school in Sep 2014). I am not very familiar with independent schools near Osterley unfortunately.

  189. Hi! I wonder if you could help me (it seems our query is similar to some recent ones above)

    We just moved to London last week (I am Brit, husband American and been out most of the last decade); we are expecting our baby girl at end of March.

    Husband’s work is in Old street but may move to Waterloo. My work is in Soho. We are currently renting in Islington (that’s an area we know- and is close to transport down to Heathrow, up to grandparents in Cambridge, uncle, and aunt to be in richmond) but we would love to buy in the next six months.

    I would love to understand about the best nanny sites/nurseries/preprep and state primary feeders including bilinguals etc in London, in particular re the areas of Crouch Hill/Stoke Newington/Victoria Park/Muswell hill, Putney/Mortlake/Barnes/wimbledon area, and Richmond/Kew/Twickenham area. A little wide, i know! Im incredibly nervous about getting things sorted for her, hearing how oversubscribed and cumbersome these processes can be! I just wondered if anything amazing sprung to mind?….

    I dont know if you can help us at all, but so far your articles have really helped me so thank you very much!

  190. Hi,

    I would be moving to London from New Delhi (India) in April 2013 for 2-3 years. I am worried for my daughter education who is now 4+ and has completed her nursery in India. My office is in Canary Warf.
    I want to know the class for which my daughter would be eligible for admission? When the admission process start and how to approach schools for admission? And what can we do if my daughter does not get admission in any of the good state schools.

    Please help.


    1. Hi – it depends when her birthday is. Is she still going to be 4 in Sep 2013? In that case, she would join the Reception class. If she turns 5 before the 1 Sep she would join Year 1. The process for admissions to Reception classes has just closed so you would need to try for late admission.

    2. UnknowninLondon

      I am in a similar situation. I’ll be moving to London in mid may. My son would be 4 in July, so would go to Reception.

      What is ‘late admission’.
      How are the state schools in Feltham.

    3. Late admission is for application after the state school admissions deadline (15 Jan) so now would be late!!! Not familiar with Feltham state schools – you would need to check primary school league tables on BBC.

  191. m. Hakan Yilmaz


    I’d like to know whether any good preschools available in Angel, Islington and Highbury area.
    I also would really like to know whether is there any preschools which are teaching French, Italian or German please..
    Thanking you in advance.

    Please do not laugh but our baby will be born this year..:))

    1. hihi, not laughing, it is actually very good you are looking into it now, in that area there is a shortage of good preschools so the earlier you look into it the better…. I will send you some names via email.

    2. hello – i would appreciate the same email about the islington/City of London/Bloomsbury area please. thankyou! what great website you have put together.

  192. Hello, This is a great website & info.!! We are currently living in Hong Kong with 6 years old (Canadian & Japanese) and relocating to London this summer.

    Our son goes to IB curriculum international school in HK, and he is in Year 1 (born in Jan. 2007).

    We would probably live in Central London. We just don’t know where to start to look for his school? I would like to send him a good independent school (not state school) or international school.

    I know it is not very clear what I said above, but do you have any recommendation for primary schools?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi K&M, have you see my other post about London’s top international schools?

      This is a good place to start. For British schools, all the schools on this website are very good – the main challenge will be identifying those with a place! Most of the prep schools are incredibly busy at the moment as they have just sent out offers for 4+ and 7+ admissions, but if you give it a few weeks, best is to call them up and check who has places.

  193. Hi all, we’re an italian family based in switzerland, moving to London across summer.
    we’ve a baby boy, who’s turning 2 years next april.

    we’re looking for a nursery and we’ll choose the location after that, so close to the nursery. working in central London, we ‘d love to stay closer to the nursery and find something affordable.

    thanks for all of your feedback


    1. Hi Matt & Silvia – there are so many nurseries in London you have a wide choice, although often there is a waiting list, so it will be good for you to start calling them already. Your son is very young still for preschool / nursery school as they only tend to take children from the age of 2.5 onwards. If you’re looking for affordable areas not too far from London, you could look at Clapham / Battersea / Wandsworth (lots of nurseries there – Busy Bees, Riverside Nursery, Northcote Gardens, Lavender Hill) and also West Hampstead (nurseries their could be Mulberry House and Active Learning, among others). You might also be interested in the bilingual Primi Passi nursery – they take children from the age of 2.

      Also it depends if you are just looking for a part-time place or a full-time place? Some nurseries even when they’re full have afternoon places available. If you are looking for a full-time place, most good nurseries in Central London have waiting lists and it will be good to call them as soon as possible!

    2. I am looking for a school short term for my son who would have just turned 6 in march. Most of the nurseries say they will not take someone who has turned 6 already. any advise? I will be staying in London W2 area?

    3. try ICS – the international school in Marylebone, International Community School. They should be able to accommodate a 6 year old long term. Children start school at 4 here, so nurseries cannot accept 6 year olds.

    4. We are looking at a move to the uk soon and have children aged 11,13 and 5. The 2 boys are studying the IB route ( 11 and 13 year old) . I am confused and need help with the decision of how best to integrate them back into uk schooling and furthermore which route to take, GCSE or IB. Its important to note that we will only be looking at free state or grammer schools. I would really appreciate some guidance on this.

    5. Hello,

      Thanks for this site. I have a question. I work in mumbai and my son is born in March 2012. He is currently in Standard 1 of IGCSE board in a Mumbai school.

      I am finalizing an opportunity with a London Canary Wharf based organization which may require me to join by November 2018. I am looking for apartment within a radius of 1 hour travelling distance. I want to understand if it is possible for my child to get an admission in public the school from December 2018. I understand that it will be a mid term. The curriculum in Mumbai school will get over by end of March 2019 but I want to move him with me.

      Thank you for your assistance.

    6. once you reside here and have a rental contract and utility bill, you can apply for a state school place. They will let you know which state schools have availability at the time and then you decide.

  194. Excellent article! We are a Swiss family moving to London this summer for about 4-6 years. Our daughter is five, our son three years old. Would you advise an international school (and if so, which one?) or a private school, considering the children don’t speak one word of English yet and will be moving back to Switzerland in approximately five years? Any tips where we should start (location is rather secondary but like everyone I prefer a good school in an affordable part of town…), thanks

    1. Hi Urs – which language do your children currently speak? Is it French or German? You might be interested in a bilingual school (German School in Richmond on Judith Kerr Primary in Southwark for German, lots of choices for French such as L’Ecole de Battersea / L’Ecole de Petits, also perhaps St Nicholas Prep in South Kensington). A very good international school is Hill House International Junior School, although Knightsbridge isn’t exactly the most affordable part of London, many children from Fulham / Clapham etc. go there. They have a link with Switzerland. Proper international schools (such as Southbank for example) are actually often more expensive than British schools and in terms of education not necessarily better, so I would explore the British schools as well – especially as your children are so young, they will pick up English very quickly, and in London it is very common to have children from abroad coming.

  195. We do have spaces in various year groups that come up due to parents relocating. Please call if you are looking for a place for a girl aged between 3 and 16.

    1. Dear Helen,

      Which school are you? I have one of our client looking for a place un reception sept 2013. Girl.

    2. Hi Helen,

      Can you please share ur email id? I have 14yrs and 8yr kids and will be relocating to London in Dec. I wanted to know which school I can admit child. My first criteria is to get them good school.

    3. Can i know the name of school. .. my daughter kids 6 years old we are in Birmingham will be shifting to London soon. .. don’t know how to begin with as first we will need to shift somewhere my husband can commute easily to and from loo station. . He recently got a job e shifted from Dubai stating with relatives

  196. Thanks for summarising this information. Have a seven year old boy studying in a private school in Cambridge..need to move to London – from sept 2013 – Do you have any idea which schools I should be calling …

    1. Hi Barnali – I have answered you via email. Also see the comment below, in case the location suits.

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