10 best private schools in London and where to live nearby

boy walking on the Millenium Bridge towards St Pauls Cathedral and the City of London School for Boys

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

99.60% A-A*

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.

Hammersmith

Hammersmith

Ideally located for parents of children at St Paul’s Girls School, Hammersmith combines all the benefits of convenient access to central London, the City and the M4 with a leafy, relaxed environment. Its residential side streets and high-end newer developments sit comfortably alongside its excellent shopping and leisure options.

Read more about Hammersmith
4.19
Average Location Score

Excellent

46%

Very Good

33%

Average

21%

Disappointing

0%

Very Poor

0%

2. Westminster School

98.61% A-A*

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.

Nine Elms

Nine Elms

An easy trip over the river to Westminster makes Nine Elms an excellent option for parents with children at Westminster School. Covering a massive 227 hectare area, the Nine Elms scheme has breathed new life into a neglected South London riverside district. New infrastructure, transport, offices, education, entertainment, parks and thousands of new-build homes make this a great choice for families and investors alike.

Read more about Nine Elms
4.33
Average Location Score

Excellent

50%

Very Good

35%

Average

12%

Disappointing

1%

Very Poor

2%

3. St Paul’s School London

96.66% A-A*

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.

Putney

Putney

An easy walk or bus ride along the river from Barnes, Putney is also a wonderful neighbourhood for families. A wealth of both historic and brand new homes, along with outstanding sports facilities and beautiful riverside parks, pubs and restaurants all make Putney a great choice for parents of children attending St Paul’s.

Read more about Putney
4.39
Average Location Score

Excellent

54%

Very Good

33%

Average

12%

Disappointing

0%

Very Poor

1%

4. North London Collegiate School

96.29% A-A*

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.

Colindale

Colindale

Just to the north west of Hampstead, the lively suburb of Colindale has been making waves with savvy home-seekers for years. Many are lured by its proximity to central London and affordable new housing options. Berkeley Homes’ Beaufort Park is one excellent new development in the area, alongside Colindale Gardens by developer Redrow.

Read more about Colindale
4.06
Average Location Score

Excellent

39%

Very Good

37%

Average

19%

Disappointing

4%

Very Poor

2%

5. Godolphin & Latymer School

96.12% A-A*

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.

Fulham

Fulham

Surrounded by river on three sides, Fulham is a beautiful neighbourhood and offers swift transport options up into Hammersmith. And, while it shares its neighbour Chelsea’s gorgeous terraced townhouses and designer shopping, this pocket of West London is more relaxed and offers much more for families.

Read more about Fulham
4.41
Average Location Score

Excellent

49%

Very Good

40%

Average

7%

Disappointing

2%

Very Poor

2%

6. King’s College School – Wimbledon

95.88% A-A*

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!

Wandsworth

Wandsworth

Wandsworth is a great residential option for families and offers easy access to Wimbledon for students at King’s College School. The area boasts plenty of contemporary waterside apartments as well as Victorian and Edwardian terraced streets. It’s just 12 minutes to Waterloo from Wandsworth Town station, and Wandsworth Common gets commuters to Victoria in even less. There’s also a fabulous foodie scene here, largely centred on the area’s many pubs, the star of the show being the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce on Bellevue Road.

Read more about Wandsworth
4.30
Average Location Score

Excellent

47%

Very Good

39%

Average

12%

Disappointing

1%

Very Poor

1%

7. City of London School for Boys

94.62% A-A*

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.

Southwark

Southwark

Southwark is nestled on the South Bank of the Thames, an easy walk away from London City School for Boys. Among its luxury riverside apartments and ultra-modern offices are some of London’s biggest icons. This area is rich in culture, architecture and entertainment, charming millions of visitors and residents each year.

Read more about Southwark
4.58
Average Location Score

Excellent

65%

Very Good

29%

Average

6%

Disappointing

0%

Very Poor

1%

8. City of London School for Girls

94.16% A-A*

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.

Islington

Islington

Located to the north of Clerkenwell and the City of London School for Girls, Islington is a popular option for families living in the capital. A borough of many faces. Islington’s mish-mash of neighbourhoods each have their own distinct personality, from the urban bars and pubs of Angel to the chintzy antique stores of Camden Passage. Its properties have many guises, too – luxury new build apartments and period townhouses can be found sitting shoulder to shoulder on its sleepy backstreets.

Read more about Islington
4.54
Average Location Score

Excellent

63%

Very Good

30%

Average

6%

Disappointing

0%

Very Poor

1%

9. South Hampstead High School

92.17% A-A*

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.

Camden

Camden

Renowned for its cultural richness, musical heritage and varied markets, Camden also offers a more genteel, family-oriented side. New build homes and historic terraces and squares provide excellent options for families with children at South Hampstead High School. Regent’s Canal offers scenic walks and riverboat rides right through to Paddington, while food and drink options are perhaps unrivalled in the city.

Read more about Camden
4.47
Average Location Score

Excellent

58%

Very Good

37%

Average

2%

Disappointing

2%

Very Poor

0%

10. Latymer Upper School

92.09% A-A*

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.

Chiswick

Chiswick

A short hop on the tube westwards from Hammersmith brings you to leafy, elegant Chiswick. This area offers a calmer and quieter pace of life than more central locations. Its range of both new build and historic homes also provide families and professionals with something for every taste and budget, while ample green spaces and easy access to beautiful stretches of the Thames are added benefits.

Read more about Chiswick
4.58
Average Location Score

Excellent

67%

Very Good

25%

Average

8%

Disappointing

0%

Very Poor

0%

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Jan Moys
written by

Jan Moys

A copywriter and content specialist with over 13 years’ experience across arc... Read all

A copywriter and content specialist w... Read all