Discover the 10 best private schools in London according to 2019 GCSE results. We suggest family-friendly areas close to each school and provide resident reviews of those areas and the new homes available there. Find the perfect school for your child and the ideal home for your family all in one go!
A large proportion of the UK’s best private schools are found in London. The top 10 list below is based on the percentage of A or A* grades achieved at GCSE in 2019. (View the full Top 100 list for the UK here.) Standards are remarkably high, with London’s best private school – St Paul’s Girls’ School – achieving 99.6% of GCSE grades at A or A*.
Our list includes both day and boarding options, as well as girls’, boys’ and two co-ed schools (Westminster and Latymer Upper School). However, King’s College School in Wimbledon also offers a co-ed sixth form.
Browse through the top 10 schools below. Click on each area guide for more information and new homes available in those areas.
Best private schools in London
1. St Paul’s Girls School
The best private school in London for 2020 is St Paul’s Girls’ School in Brook Green, Hammersmith. The day school for girls achieved an impressive 99.6% A or A* for GCSEs in 2019.
St Paul’s was founded in 1904 as a complement to the boys’ school that dates back to the sixteenth century. Gustav Holst and Herbert Howells were former Directors of Music at the school. Famous alumni of the school include the former Acting Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman, comedian Jennifer Saunders and actors Rachel Weisz and Misha Barton.
2. Westminster School
A close second on our list of London’s best private schools is the historic Westminster School in central London. Boasting 98.61 A or A* grades at GCSE in 2019, the school’s impressive heritage can be traced back as far as the 12th century.
Westminster school is located right in the heart of the Westminster Abbey, St. Margaret’s and Palace of Westminster UNESCO World Heritage Site. The school’s remarkable list of notable alumni ranges from Ben Jonson and Sir Christopher Wren right through to modern-day celebrities such as documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux.
3. St Paul’s School London
The third best private school on our list is St Paul’s School in Barnes, South West London. The school posted GCSE results of 96.66% A or A* in 2019.
St Paul’s sits on a leafy 43-acre site beside the Thames. Despite its location the school is connected to St Paul’s Cathedral, having been founded by the Dean of the Cathedral in 1509. Notable former pupils (known as ‘Old Paulines’) include diarist Samuel Pepys, writer G.K. Chesterton and the former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
4. North London Collegiate School
Fourth on our list is the North London Collegiate School. Founded in Camden in 1850, the school is now located in Edgware, North East London.
With 96.29% grades A-A* at GCSE in 2019, North London Collegiate is ranked among the very best schools in the UK. Vogue editor Anna Wintour is one of the many well-known former students of the school.
5. Godolphin & Latymer School
Godolphin & Latymer School takes the fifth spot in our list with 96.12% A-A* GCSE grades in 2019. The school is located in Hammersmith, West London and was given the title of Independent Secondary School of the Year for 2020 by The Sunday Times.
The school’s history dates back to 1707, but the school moved to its current site on Iffley Road in 1862. Notable former students include the actress Kate Beckinsale, singer Sophie Ellis-Bexter and journalist and broadcaster Nigella Lawson.
6. King’s College School – Wimbledon
King’s College School was founded in 1829 as the junior department of the renowned London university. 2019 results of 95.88% grades A or A* at GCSE place it at sixth in our list of the capital’s best private schools.
The school originally used the basement of the university’s premises on The Strand. However, it was moved to its more spacious current Wimbledon address in 1897. Well-known alumni of the school include former Director of the BBC World Service Peter Horrocks, singer Marcus Mumford and HomeViews Cofounder Olly McGinn!
7. City of London School for Boys
The City of London School for Boys sits just above its counterpart girls’ school in our list and to the south of it geographically on the banks of the Thames. 94.62% A-A* grades at GCSE last year earn it the position of seventh best private school in London for 2020.
The school’s current riverside position is one of many locations used by the school in its long history. Its roots can be traced back to 1442, when the death of the town clerk of London, John Carpenter, revealed a bequest of land for the purpose of supporting children. Notable former pupils include former Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, author Kingsley Amis and actor Daniel Radcliffe.
8. City of London School for Girls
The City of London School for Girls occupies a unique site within the Barbican complex in Farringdon. 2019 GCSE results of 94.16% A-A* place it at eighth in our list of the top private schools in London.
The school was founded in 1894 and enjoys a reputation for both academic success and diverse extracurricular options. Notable alumni include the fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel and historian Alison Weir.
9. South Hampstead High School
South Hampsted High School secures number nine in our lost of top London schools with 92.17% A-A* GCSE grades in 2019. The school was founded in 1876 and welcomes female students from the age of 4 up to 18.
One of the school’s notable alumni, Helena Bonham-Carter, opened the school’s new building for the Senior School. Other renowned former pupils include the model Daisy Lowe and the author Freya North.
10. Latymer Upper School
Taking the final place in our list is Latymer Upper School, with 92.09% A-A* GCSE grades last year. This historic co-ed school is located on King Street in Hammersmith and was founded in 1624.
The school draws pupils from a wide range of boroughs and backgrounds, offering means-tested bursaries to ensure a diverse mix of students. Famous former students include the actors Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, and TV chef Heston Blumenthal.
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