Choosing a school for your child is no easy feat. This is a decision that needs to be correct in order to ensure the very best outcome for your child’s educational future. Get it wrong and you could find yourself having to look for another school, therefore disrupting your child and causing them to move schools partway through a term.
It’s normal to want to get this choice right first time. Your child’s school prepares them for life, not only in terms of their education but their social skills too. Making the wrong choice can be disrupting on so many levels.
Within the London there are countless options when it comes to secondary schools. Of course, secondary school is where the main preparation for upcoming GCSEs takes place. This is a vitally important step in your child’s education and future; their grades at this point dictate their ability to go on to A Levels and then choose a university which gives them the best shot at a degree taking them onto their chosen career and beyond.
This isn’t simply a choice of which school is easiest to get to, although of course logistics have to come into it; it’s also about the performance ratings of that school, the specialist subjects which your child can tap into, and class sizes too. Doing your research is vital and of course, your child has to have a huge part in the decision at this point in their lives.
By the age of 11 years, your child will be ready to move into Year 7, officially the first year of secondary school. Whilst some children aren’t as confident and equipped to make important decisions, they have to be a part off it and give their opinion and preference. This should then be taken into account and the final choice should be a combination of you and them.
Understanding the best secondary schools in the London area helps you to whittle down your choice. Many of these schools having waiting lists and difficult application processes. A little later, we’ll talk about how a governess can help you in this regard, but for now, let’s identify some of the best schools in the London area, so you can start to draw up a short list ahead of time.
Best Secondary Schools in The London Area
Located in the prestigious Westminster area, Westminster School is a prestigious and in demand secondary school which accommodates children between 13-18 years, both boys and girls, although only boys enter the school at 13, with girls joining in sixth form, at 16 years. The school is a day or boarding school with various options for boarding available.
Covering the National Curriculum as standard, Westminster School has a long waiting list and although any child who can meet criteria will be considered, applicants need to show a particular aptitude for academia.
City of London School For Girls
Obtaining a place at this extremely exclusive school in the heart of London depends heavily upon academic achievements and the ability to show something different. For that reason, the waiting list is long and selection is difficult. The school accepts girls between 7 to 18 years and it is located within the high brow Barbican area.
Girls attending this school have a huge range of opportunities before them and a focus on independence and strength of character is important. City of London School For Girls is a day school but an extremely diverse one which aims to teach pupils about culture and open-mindedness.
Francis Holland School
Located in Regent’s Park, Francis Holland School is a girls school, accommodating from ages 11 to 18 years. Pupils from this school consistently achieve very high academic grades and many go on to secure places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. There is a strong focus upon music, sports and drama, with a varied extra-curricular programme, which all students are encouraged to take part in.
The school has access to Regent’s Park for sporting activities and has an on-site swimming pool. There are a total of 70 individual extra-curricular clubs, but this is a school which also focuses upon support and kindness.
Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle
Lycée Francais Charles de Gaulle is a day school which focuses upon French and English as fluent languages. Accepting both boys and girls from the age of 3 years up to 19 years, the school has a separate section for its secondary education and consistently receives high grades from inspections.
Located in the South Kensington area, the school is run primarily by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France, however there is a strong focus upon native level English and French as standard. Both French and English curriculums are followed.
St Paul’s Girls’ School, Hammersmith
St Paul’s Girls’ School is located in central Hammersmith and is considered one of the best schools in London. Accepting girls between 11 to 18 years of age, the school currently has just under 800 students and just over 200 sixth formers.
Class sizes are relatively low, ensuring that students have a considerable amount of time with their teachers in an individualised way. Lessons are designed with fun in mind, however this school focuses upon considerable academic excellence and getting a place at this school is notoriously tough.
St Paul’s School
St Paul’s is a private boys school located in Barnes, on the River Thames. The school was established in 1509 and has had a excellent reputation since that day. The school sits on 43 acres of land and focuses upon academic excellence and qualities such as independence, service, respect, and tolerance. Students attending this school need to be committed and determined to succeed, however there is a very high quality pastural service and plenty of extra-curricular classes and activities too.
Admission to St Paul’s is very selective and interviews and tests are conducted many months prior to the school year beginning.
Godolphin & Latymer School
This is a private girls school which is located in the heart of Hammersmith. A highly selective school, Godolphin & Latymer sits on a large campus and was built in 1861. Students at this school are expected to excel academically and take part in many extra-curricular activities, however the school also focuses upon developing independent, tolerant, and happy students who are well-informed about current affairs and the world news.
This school is not for the academic average and many students go on to Oxbridge and other top quality universities after excellent in their A Levels.
North London Collegiate School
North London Collegiate School is a girl’s day school which is located in Edgware, Harrow. The original site was sited in Camden Town, however the site moved to accommodate a larger number of pupils. This is one of the best schools in the whole London area and accepts girls from the age of 4 to 18 years. Since its establishment in 1850, the school has consistently produced top quality pupils, many excelling and going on to Oxford and Cambridge universities.
With a large focus on extra-curricular activities and academic excellence, the selection process for a place at North London Collegiate School is tough and often takes many months.
Henrietta Barnett School
Henrietta Barnett School is a state girls school which consistently achieves very high quality academic results with many of its students going on to some of the best universities round the country. This is a grammar school which is located in Hampstead, surrounded by plenty of green space to roam.
The school accepts girls between 11 to 18 years of age and has a very tough selection process. This a day school which has a very high quality sixth form, which most girls stay on for after their secondary education has finished. The selection process takes month and requires tests and interviews as standard.
Hampstead School is a private day school for boys, located in Hampton. Since its establishment in 1557, this has long been one of the most reputable and prestigious boys schools in the capital and has a very strong focus upon sporting and academic excellence. You only have to look at some of the past students to understand the high quality required, with Simon Amor (England Rugby coach) and Brian May two of its past students.
Many students go on to Oxbridge and other top quality universities around the UK. Extra-curricular activities are plentiful and students are expected to spend their time in various clubs on campus.
The Importance of The Right Choice
As you can see, the best secondary schools in London have a high amount of competition for places and with relatively low class sizes to ensure educational quality, the stakes are high in terms of gaining a place. That means if you make the wrong choice, finding another school afterwards is going to be extremely difficult when all places have been filled.
Making the right decision based upon what your child wants and what they need is vital. Just because a school is highly prestigious doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be the right one for your child. Instead, you need to focus upon your child’s strengths what they want and need versus what the school can bring to the table.
This isn’t a decision which can be taken lightly or which can be rushed. Taking all advance and checking the pros and cons is therefore very important.
How a Governess Can Help
There are two ways in which a governess can help you in this situation. Firstly, our governesses are highly experienced in all aspects of education and as such, they are able to give you their honest and open advice about the schools you are considering. Of course, the final decision is yours, but once you make a choice, your governess can also help you to complete the application and prepare for interviews and other criteria which needs to be met.
A governess is also able to help your child to feel more confident and at ease about any upcoming activities or interviews they need to complete as part of an application for a secondary school. If there are specific subjects which your child requires help with, our governesses can help with that too.
Here at London Governess, we supply tutors in all main subjects and some of those professionals used to work in some of the top condo secondary schools as supply teachers. They now work as governesses, giving you the best of both worlds when it comes to enhancing your child’s education.
Do not underestimate the importance of this decision. A school is not just a school, it is a place where your child will flourish, grow in confidence, meet their potential and also develop as a person with resistance and independence. All of this cannot be done with he wrong school chosen. Taking the time to really decide carefully and take all advice into account means that you’re far more likely to get it right from the start and cut out the time, worry, and upset that is involved when changing schools at the beginning of, or even partway through, a term.
Our governesses not only give advice and help you to prepare for application but they act as a confidante and help to your child. Sometimes it’s much easier for a child to open up about their education to someone else and whist that is no reflection upon their parent, it’s simply sometimes the case that they don’t want to worry you. A governess can be your child’s friend and carer when you are working or tending to other responsibilities and with all of that in mind, you can rest safe in the knowledge that your child is happy and fulfilled in their academic progress at the school you have all chosen together.
By researching the best secondary schools in the London area early, you have a far better chance of not only finding the best fit, but being successful in your application. Remember, the best schools are aways in demand.