London top Schools

London international schools

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.

International schools

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.

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 2014 was 31 with a pass rate of 79%. The school offers generous merit-based scholarships and bursaries from age 10 – 18.

Ecole Internationale Franco-Anglaise – founded in 2012 and located on Portland Place in Marylebone, this is a small bilingual private school teaching the French curriculum in English and French. There are 160 children across eight year groups. It is “homologues” and AEFE accredited. The school is due to open a secondary school in September 2015. Also check our

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 – to find out how to get in through the back door, read this post.

Halcyon School – a newly founded non-for-profit international school in Marble Arch for students aged 10 -18. The school has recently gained IB accreditation and offers the MYP and the IB programme. Its first set of IB diploma students are set to graduate in summer 2017. 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.

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 35 points on the IB diploma last year.


Interesting facts:

Hobbayne Primary School (pronounced Ho-bayn) is a comprehensive primary school located in Hanwell in London. The school has received an Ofstead 'Outstanding' mark and is known to be one one Ealing's top primary schools. It is currently in the process of being...

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