A large part of this website is dedicated to finding the best British independent preparatory school for your child, but in reality a fair share of internationals prefer their children to be educated in an international setting, particularly in a setting that nurtures entrepreneurship, groupwork and creativity rather than constant testing and test preparation. If this sounds like you, in order to provide useful information you, I also want to feature London’s top international schools here. I will start by discussing the top options that start at the Reception age/primary level, but I will also mention the top IB schools in London and what choices of primary schools might lead there. Also check our overview of French schools in London.
École Jeannine Manuel, London, in Bloomsbury is an international school for children aged 3 – 18, offering a bilingual programme in French and English, aiming to blend the best of the French, British and international systems. Additional language options are Mandarin, German, Spanish and Latin. From age 13, children can opt for the international IB track or the French Bacchalaureate track. There have now been two successful cohorts of graduates with outstanding academic results and university destinations. 80-90% of students choose to apply to the UK and secure offers from top universities, including Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL, Edinburgh, Warwick, Manchester, King’s College London. In France, students have received offers to study at Sciences Po (Paris), PSL, Louis-le-Grand, St Genevieve or on Polytechnique’s Bachelor programme. Students heading to America have enrolled at institutions including Princeton, Barnard, Parsons or Wellesley, or on the Sciences Po-Columbia dual degree. Elsewhere in the world, students have also received offers from universities including McGill and UBC in Canada, EPFL in Switzerland and the University of Queensland in Australia. The average 2022 IB diploma score was 39.3.
ACS International Schools is a group of schools known for its excellent facilities with campuses around London in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon. The schools offer a choice of American programmes and the IB programme. About a third of students here are North American, 15% British and the rest from all around the world. ACS Cobham is the largest with 1,500 students, including boarding houses for high school students. It is served by school buses from South Kensington, Richmond and surrounding towns in Surrey. ACS Hillingdon is the closest to London and is served by school buses from Kensington, Notting Hill, Chiswick, Gerrard’s Cross, among others. Both ACS Cobham and Hillingdon offer an American programme in the early years, with a choice of AP courses and IB Diploma for the final years, whereas ACS Egham offers the IB programme all the way through. ACS Hillingdon offers scholarships and bursaries for outstanding middle and high school students.
The American International School in England (TASIS) provides a challenging academic experience for day (age 3–18) and boarding (age 14–18) students from around the world. With 57 nationalities represented in the co-ed student community, approximately half hold an American passport, while 17% have British citizenship. Students have a choice of academic pathways: they can follow an American curriculum that includes Advanced Placement (AP) courses, or choose the IB Diploma Programme. One-to-one university counselling assists students through every step of the selection and application process, and TASIS graduates move on to a wide range of universities in the UK, the US, and worldwide (about half of graduates move on to study in the US). TASIS England’s beautiful 46-acre campus in Thorpe, Surrey, provides excellent facilities for its comprehensive programmes of sports, arts, and activities. Further information is available here.
American School in London – another very popular American school in St John’s Wood – 76% of students have at least one parent with a US passport, but the school’s admissions policy stresses that the school tries to admit a diverse student body, and 41% of pupils have at least one other passport. It is very much an American school though! The school takes children aged 4 all the way to 18 and provides “American education with a global perspective”. The kindergarten classes are inspired by the Reggio Emilia method. The school has been rated “outstanding” across the board by Ofsted. The high school has a great track record for Ivy League placements.
Dwight School London is an inclusive international school offering the IB programme for children from 3 – 18 years. School buses cover most North London neighbourhoods and the school attracts many local children as well as expat children from around the world. The school has strong links to its partner schools in New York, Seoul and Vancouver – and Shanghai . Average score in the IB for 2017 was 35.7 with a pass rate of 86%. The school offers generous merit-based scholarships and bursaries from age 10 – 18.
French Lycee – more than international, this school follows the French educational system but is extremely popular among internationals, even though only few manage to make their way in. Due to a good number of French citizens of Arab and African descent, and well as children from mixed couples, the student body is fairly international, which is reflected in a breadth of GCSE and A-Level language choices students can make, such as Russian and Arabic, that is not offered at most London secondaries. Pupils can choose to pursue British or French educational qualifications at age 14. It is notoriously hard to get in but anecdotally not as impossible as in the past due to Brexit.
Lycee International Winston Churchill in Wembley is a newly opened French international school that offers a bilingual French and an IB branch. In September 2018, the Lycée will offer a new English International Programme, starting from Year 7 for English speakers, the programme will lead to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) in Years 12 and 13. Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill is a candidate school for the Diploma Programme and pursuing authorisation as an IB World School at the moment. IB World Schools share a common philosophy — a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education.
Halcyon School – London’s only non-for-profit international school in Marble Arch for students aged 10 -18. The school has full IB accreditation and offers the MYP and the IB programme. In 2020, students an average IB score of 35.0. The school is very modern and informal, placing heavy emphasis on technology in the classroom and skills for the future, such as Spanish and Mandarin language skills and programming languages. The school is in walking distance to Hyde Park, which the students use for sports in the summer. Graduates move on to a wide range of universities in the UK and abroad. The school posts a wide range of graduate success stories here.
Hill House International Junior School – discussed in detail here and here, Hill House is a family-run Swiss school that follows the National Curriculum of Britain and prepares children for the British 11+ and 13+ exams, so it is probably your most British international school. It does have 50% of children from international families and focus on arts and music as well as sports and games far more than your typical British school, and it also houses a campus in Switzerland that children attend for hiking trips and music courses in the Summer and skiing in Winter. This is a great choice for parents who like the international model but still want their children to have the option of continuing at British boarding schools or getting into the selective London day schools.
International Community School (ICS) – a long established IB international school for children aged 3 – 18 across three sites in Marylebone and Paddington. A truly inclusive international school with children from all over the world, it emphasises small class sizes, individual learning and international understanding. Students scored an average of 33 points on the IB diploma in 2018 with a pass rate of 100%.
International School of London – this is a co-educational international school for children from 3 – 18 that offers the IB as well. It is located in Chiswick but runs many school buses to different West London locations. They have long experience of integrating children relocating from abroad. The school publishes leavers’ destinations by IB points which is very helpful, and you will see that their top students have been placed to very competitive courses at Ivy League universities and Oxbridge in the past. Said to be popular with Italian families, amongst many others from around the world. The average point score in the IB Diploma was 34.0.
Southbank International School – this is a very popular school, with three campuses: Hampstead, Kensington and Westminster. Co-educational, it is very much committed to the International Baccalaureate’s philosophy and pedagogy. Over 90% of students come from international families (exact mix of nationalities is detailed here). Children may start studying the IB Primary Years Programme at nursery aged 3, and continue through the Middle Years Programme all the way through to the IB Diploma at 18. Students scored 36.6 average in the IB Diploma in 2020. The school has recently launched an IB Diploma Scholarship that covers 100% of tuition fees over two years.
Top London IB schools
North London Collegiate – Average point score per pupil 40.0 in 2020, making it the top scoring IB school in the world! This girls’ school in Edware, Middlesex, accepts girls from Reception age onwards via assessment, but the main entry is at 11+ via competitive examination.
Godolphin & Latymer School – Average point score per pupil 41.3 in 2020. Very popular girls day school in Hammersmith that also has stellar A-level results. All the top prep schools featured on this site, such as Glendower Prep, Falkner House and Kensington Prep send a large number of girls to this independent secondary school.
King’s College Wimbledon – Average point score per pupil 41.7 in 2020. also one of the top performers in the IB, King’s College Wimbledon with its co-educational Sixth Form does have a junior school attached that admits boys at the 7+ level. The Sixth Form is co-educational, as girls are accepted at 16+. Pupils opt between A-Levels or the IB Diploma.
Ashcroft Technology Academy is a co-educational state secondary school in Putney that offers the IB diploma programme to Sixth Form students. In 2022 pupils at this school achieved an average point score of 40.0, with a top score of 45.0 and a 100% pass rate, placing it among the most successful IB schools in the country, an impressive achievement for a comprehensive state school!
Keep in mind though that a) any exam would favour native speakers of English and b) not all girls at North London Collegiate and Godolphin do the IB, many take the A-Level instead, so the IB results only represent the results of those students chosen to take the demanding IB – the A-level results of these schools are stellar as well though.