Discover the 10 best private schools in London according to the 2022 League Tables for A-Levels results. With each school, we suggest family-friendly areas close by, and provide resident reviews of available homes there. Find the perfect school for your child and the ideal home for your family, all in one go!
London maintains one of the UK’s highest concentrations of the best private schools in the country. Our top 10 list below is based on the percentage of A or A* grades achieved at A-Level in 2022. You can view the full 2021 London Independent Schools league tables here.
Browse through the top 10 schools below. Attached to each ranking is a dedicated area guide for more information and new homes available nearby.
*Please note that in 2021, students did not sit public examinations due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Grades were awarded by teachers according to strictly controlled internal assessment criteria.
Best private schools in London
1. St Paul’s School
The best private school on our list is St Paul’s School in Barnes, South West London. The school posted a 96.34% rate of A or A* results in 2022. 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.
2. St Paul’s Girls School
The runner up in the list of best private schools in London for 2022 is St Paul’s Girls’ School in Brook Green, Hammersmith. The day school for girls achieved an impressive 95.02% A or A* for GCSEs in 2022.
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.
3. King’s College School
King’s College School in Wimbledon is ranked at number 3 in 2022. This boys’ day school was founded by Royal Charter in 1829 and includes nearly 80 acres of grounds and sports fields, both on the main school site and nearby.
The school enjoyed a successful 2022, climbing into the top 10 in London with a success rate at A-level of 94.15%. An impressive 97.65% of pupils reached the maximum grades at GCSE level.
3. James Allen’s Girls’ School
James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) takes the number 3 spot for 2021. It can be found in the rather charming area of East Dulwich Grove, South East London, comprising 22 acres of beautiful grounds.
JAGS has been educating its pupils for over 270 years, making it the oldest independent school in Greater London. Despite its long history, it’s a school that looks towards the future, embracing innovation and educational technology across its operations. This is a nod to its founder, the educational visionary, James Allen.
4. Westminster School
This historic co-educational school lies in the heart of Westminster, just moments from Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster. With such a prestigious and inspiring location, it’s perhaps unsurprising the school regularly features near the top of the league tables.
In 2022, 92.34% of pupils achieved A or A* grades at A-level. This is in addition to impressive GCSE scores, where98.29% achieved maximum grades.
5. City of London School for Boys
City of London School for Boys was established in 1834 and has sat in its current site between the Thames and St. Paul’s Cathedral since 1986. The school has excellent facilities on-site, including an indoor swimming pool, while there are also playing fields in nearby Grove Park.
There are 878 day pupils at the school. 2022 results included 90.68% of pupils achieving A or A* at A-level, as well as 96.95% achieving top marks at GCSE.
6. Godolphin & Latymer School
Godolphin & Latymer School climbs from ninth to sixth spot in our list with 90.50% A-A* A-level grades in 2022. 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 actress Kate Beckinsale, singer Sophie Ellis-Bexter and journalist and broadcaster Nigella Lawson.
7. City of London School for Girls
Located in the heart of the City of London’s popular and iconic Barbican development, City of London School for Girls is home to 671 day pupils aged 11 to 18. The school achieved 85.23% A-A* grades at A-level in 2022, with a near-perfect 98.89% achieving A or A* at GCSE level.
8. Highgate School
In 8th place with results of 85.04% A-A* at A-Level for 2022, Highgate School is a co-educational day school with a history dating back to 1565.
Founded by Sir Roger Cholmeley, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth the First, Highgate School has grown from educating 40 male scholars to 1,400 boys and girls today. It’s also closely connected to Tottenham Hotspur FC, the school’s principal business sponsor.
Its former pupils call themselves Cholmeleians or Old Cholmeleians (OCs), after Sir Roger Cholmeley. They include Poet Laureates Sir John Betjeman and Nicholas Rowe, composer Simon Bainbridge and film director Adrian Lyne.
9. Wimbledon High School
Wimbledon High School educates 695 girls aged 11 to 18 in the heart of SW19. Just moments away, the All-England Lawn Tennis Club hosts world-class athletes, while the school turns out world-class exam grades. In 2022, 83.00% of pupils emerged with grades of A or A* at A-level. Meanwhile, 92.00% of GCSE students achieved A or A* grades.
10. University College School
The final listing on our top 10 best schools for London for 2021 is University College School (UCS). It was founded in Gower Street in 1830 as part of University College, but moved to its current location in Hampstead in 1907.
UCS has a highly active alumni community of ‘Old Gowers’, numbering more than 7,000 former pupils. These include comedian Hugh Dennis, and Roger Bannister, the first man to run the ‘4-minute mile’.
As you can see from the list, the competitive standard among these top-ranking schools is incredibly high. Students at 2022’s top-achieving private school – St Paul’s School – managed a remarkable 96.34% of A-Level grades at A or A*. Our list includes both day and boarding options, as well as girls’, boys’ and several co-ed schools. With this range of admissions options, and different London areas, you should be able to find the ideal school for your children.
FAQs on London Schools
Which part of London has the best schools overall?
If you’re talking about all London schools’ aggregated scores as awarded by Ofsted, then Harrow is the top-performing London borough. 38% of schools in Harrow have an ‘outstanding’ rating.
Which London borough has the most grammar schools?
Bexley is the London borough with the most grammar schools, boasting no fewer than four. All of them have an exemplary reputation, making Bexley a hub for grammar school excellence.
Is London a good city for university education?
London is one of the best cities in the world for providing a university education. It has 18 universities in total. Many of them rank within the top 100 universities in the world. Two of them rank within the top 10! These are at Imperial College London number 7 globally, and University College London (UCL) in joint 8th.
Where are the best universities in London?
If you’re seriously thinking beyond secondary school and into higher education, you may want to know where to look for the best universities in London.
Like many of the best private schools London offers, many of the best London universities are located centrally. Imperial College is located in South Kensington, while UCL’s main campus is in the Bloomsbury area. LSE (London School of Economics) is located in the borough of Camden and Westminster. City University’s main campus is in Islington.
However, you can find many of them spread a little further out. For example, you’ll find King’s College in Southwark. Also, many of the top London universities maintain key buildings outside central London.
How to find the best schools in London
There are plenty of tools out there to help you find the best schools in London, or any part of the UK for that matter. The first place to look is the UK Government’s school finder. It lists the details of state and public schools in England, along with their performance and overall Ofsted rating.
My Top Schools provides listings and rankings of UK private schools based on exam results. It enables you to search and filter by different types of private school, including by the cost of fees, gendered schools and boarding schools. Best schools is another useful source of advice on the UK’s independent schools.
Finally, the Sunday Times Parent Power guide gives extensive advice and guidance on UK state and public schools. You’ll have to be a subscriber for full access, but you can also find the rankings published elsewhere on the internet.
Good luck finding your ideal choice among the best private schools London has to offer. Check back regularly for updates on the best places to live in London in terms of great school/university access.
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