Anything related to your child’s education is an important decision. In order to give them the best start in life, you need to think carefully about the types of schools you send them to, and ensure that you consider all options before making a final decision.
Of course, some schools are harder to get into than others, and it’s important to check the league tables in terms of their success or otherwise in exam performance.
Choosing a private or independent school really comes down to whether you’re looking solely at academic excellence or whether you want to focus on a specific discipline which that school really excels within, perhaps music, art, or a particular sport.
There are countless private and independent schools across the UK and some fantastic options within the central London area in particular. Making the right choice needs to be done early, as many of the top schools have waiting lists which span for several years. In some cases, you’ll need to make your interest known years before you envisage your child attending, so thinking ahead is vital.
You should also think about how you can best prepare your child for attending a top quality private or independent school. The Governess is the “second teacher” here at London Governess, our high quality governesses are able to help your child not only prepare for attending such a prestigious school, but also help out with tutoring out of school hours and learning new skills.
A governess is also able to help your child to develop the necessary social skills required for life in pressured situation.
Of course, school should be enjoyable for your child, but a high quality private or independent school is likely to bring specific challenges. In this case, a governess can help prepare your child in the best possible way, while also teaching them independence, resilience and improving their communication skills.
All of this will help your child thrive and work to their potential within their chosen school setting.
Of course, choosing the right school is also something which a governess can help you with, advising you on the options which you might not know too much about, and helping you shortlist your choices down to a final decision.
If you’re looking for the best private or independent schools in the central London area in particular, the five schools we’re about to talk about should certainly be on your shortlist.
Top 5 Private/Independent Schools in the Central London Area
Before we get into this, you first need to understand the subtle difference between a private school and an independent school. The difference really comes down to funding, but it’s something you need to understand, helping you to choose the right option for your child, now and in the future years of their education.
A private school doesn’t receive any type of funding from the Government and therefore students are expected to pay all fees for attendance. In this case, at the best schools, fees can be high, and this is something you will need to bear in mind when making your final choice.
On the other hand, an independent school is also free of Government funding, however it has a Board of trustees and Governors who make important decisions about the running of the school, including financial decisions which may impact your child’s education. Again, research is key in this regard.
Now, let’s explore the best 5 private or independent schools within the central London area, which you might like to add to your shortlist of choices.
The King Alfred School – Golders Green
How to Apply – Each child will need to undergo an informal assessment process, so early registration is a good idea for all age groups. Complete an application former the point of entry you need and pay a £100 refundable deposit. Your child’s name is then put on the waiting list and you will be contacted nearer the time for assessment.
General Waiting Time – 2 years minimum
Fees – Currently £5546 per team for reception, £6390 per team for ages 7 to 10 years, and £6686 for 11 to 18 years of age.
The King Alfred School is one of the most prestigious schools in central London and accepts boys and girls from reception age (4 years) until sixth form (18 years). Consistently ranking high with regards to exam results and academic excellence, King Alfred School encouraged applications from all children, however academically gifted children are preferred.
The school holds 650 children at any one time and class sizes are kept as low as possible, to ensure teachers have enough time to spend with individual children who may be struggling. Again, this is something your governess can help with, tutoring your child out of school hours in any subjects which they may not be so naturally gifted in.
There are three main entry points for the school, the first at age 4 for reception, the second at age 11 for year 7 secondary education and then again at age 16 for sixth form.
King Alfred School was founded in 1898, and its ethos centres around the fact that every child is unique and should therefore be treated such. The school focuses on learning not only in the classroom but outside of it too, with a large amount of focus on morality and independence. This is also a school which attracts several big names, with the Beckhams having considered this school for their children.
St Christina’s School – Primrose Hill
How to Apply – Complete the application form for register your interest and pay a registration fee of £100. Upon an offer of a place at St Christina’s you will be expected to pay a refundable deposit of £2000, which will be returned upon your child leaving the school.
General Waiting Time – The school is often oversubscribed so registering shortly after birth is recommended for reception years. Offers are usually made two years in advance.
Fees – £4750 per term
St Christina’s in Primrose hill is a Catholic school for both boys and girls aged between 3 to 11 years. It is a small school, with just 209 students at any one time, which means class sizes are small and teachers are able to dedicate time to each student. There arena specific academical requirements for children registering their interest with St Christina’s however it is a school which expects academic excellence from its students.
This is also a school which is extremely popular with affluent families within the area. It’s best to register your child shortly after birth if you’re serious about them attending St Christina’s. The school also has a strict and traditional dress code/uniform in place, so this is also something to consider.
St Christina’s School was founded in 1949 and has based its core statement on fa family feel, to support children throughout their education. The school has a friendly atmosphere, which would suit younger children who expect to build their education upwards.
Arnold House School – St John’s Wood
How to Apply – You will need to register via application form at some point between your child’s 1st and 2nd birthday. There is a registration fee of £100 to be paid upon registration and you will then be invited to an open evening nearer theme of your child’s proposed admission.
General Waiting Time – 2.5 years. Register your interest as early as possible as this school is always oversubscribed.
Fees – Currently £6782 per term, including lunch.
Arnold House School is an extremely popular boy’s school for students aged between 5 to 14 years of age. The school has 272 students at any one time, again, with small class sizes for focus and the ability to tutor children in a more personalised manner. However, a governess is also a great addition to help your child recap on any subjects they may be struggling with.
In order to obtain a place at Arnold House School, an informal assessment is undertaken and your child’s nursery will also be asked for confidential reports to assess your child’s suitability. Arnold House School focuses on academic excellence from the first year onwards. The school’s mottos are “conquer we shall” and focuses on building resilience and independence. The school also has a specific coat of arms to denote its uniqueness and ranking amongst the best schools in central London, with a history dating back to 1905.
There is only one point of entry for this school, at 5 years upwards. Bear in mind that this school is always over-subscribed so competition for places is fierce.
Kensington Preparatory School – Fulham
How to Apply – Apply via application form at any point up to the January prior to your child wishing to begin school. You will also need to pay a registration fee.
General Waiting Time – 1 year
Fees – £5955 per term plus £298 per term for compulsory lunches
Despite the name, Kensington Prep School is not actually in Kensington anymore, having moved from the first sit in 1997. It is now sited in Fulham, surrounded by green land which students can run around in. The school was originally founded in 1873 and has a rich history of focusing not only on academia but also a large programme of extra curricular activities, including music and languages.
Kensington Prep School is a girls school, for ages 4 to 11 years, with two entry points, one at 4 years and one at 7 years. Most girls enter the school for reception and move up from there, however there are occasional places which become available afterwards. The school currently has around 290 girls and has relatively small class sizes, to ensure teachers can focus their attention on individual students.
Most girls who attend this school learn to play at least one musical instrument and most also enter the choir or the orchestra.
Assessments for places begin in the January prior to the September intake and children will attend the school and spend time with teachers. At this point, they’re looking for problem solving expertise and imagination, rather than academia, however this school has a very high performance record for academic subjects.
North Bridge House Preparatory School – Regents Park
How to Apply – Complete the application form at least one year before you intend your child to attend the school, together with an application form of £150.
General Waiting Time – 1 year
Fees – £6425 per term, plus £360 compulsory lunch fees
North Bridge House Prep School is one of the most popular within the Regent’s Park area and central London overall. This is a school for both boys and girls, aged between 7 to 13 years of age. The school currently has 486 students, with relatively small classes sizes. The school does however focus on academic excellence and as a result, children who can show a particular talent for a core subject are more likely to be accepted.
Students will need to have an informal interview in order to be admitted to North Bridge House Prep School, as well as an assessment in both maths and English, to demonstrate academic competence.
North Bridge House Prep School was originally founded in 1939, however it has moved around the central London area throughout the years, originally found in St John’s Wood. Having grown in size, the school aims to serve the local community, for children who demonstrate academic excellence, whilst also helping them to develop independence and confidence in their talents.
These are five of the best private or independent schools within central London. Of course, there are countless private/independent schools within the area, and it’s a good idea to do your research and check out whether any others we haven’t mentioned might be better for your child.
Remember, competition for places in any of these schools is likely to be extremely fierce and you should have more than one choice in mind, to avoid disappointment. This will ensure that you can secure a place in one of the finest schools for your child/children and therefore ensure their future educational success. At the same time, certainly consider whether a governess could help to supplement and enhance your child’s educational experience too.