London’s top international schools

11 Sep

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.

Top international primary schools

Hill House International Junior School – discussed in detail here and here, Hill House is a family-run Swiss school that does follow the National Curriculum of Britain and does prepare 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.

Southbank International School – this is a very popular school among internationals with three campuses in Hampstead, Kensington and Westminster. It is co-educational, very much follows a more American learning style (group work, communication skills, independent field research) and 90% of students come from international families (exact mix of nationalities is detailed here). Children can start at nursery aged 3 and continue on all the way to the IB. IB results are not as top notch as other IB schools discussed below, but keep in mind that many of the pupils take the IB in their second language English, so it may not be fair to compare the results to British IB schools.

International School of London – I only just found out about this co-educational international school for children from 3 – 18 that offers the IB as well. I do not know anyone who attends this school and therefore cannot say anything about it yet – if you have a child attending this school and would like to contact me, please contact me via email or leave a comment below.

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 blog post.

American School in Londonanother very popular school in St John’s Wood that is very hard for non-US citizens to get into – 80% of students have at least one parent with a US passport. The school takes children aged 4 all the way to 18 and provides “American education with a global outlook”.

Top London IB schools

North London Collegiate – Average point score per pupil 40.0. Highest score in IB in Europe, just ahead of boarding school Sevenoaks, this girls’ school in Edware, Middlesex, accepts girls from Reception age onwards via assessment.

King’s College Wimbledon – Average point score per pupil 38.7. also one of the top performers in the IB, King’s College Wimbledon with its co-educational Sixth Form does have a junior school attached that admits boys at the 7+ level.

Godolphin & Latymer School – Average point score per pupil 37.2. Very popular girls day school in Hammersmith that also has stellar A-level results. All the top prep schools featured on this site, such as Glendower Prep, Falkner House and Kensington Prep send a large share of girls to this independent secondary school.

This compares with 33.0 scored by students at Southbank International School in 2011 and 31.0 scored by students of the International School in London. Keep in mind though that a) any exam would favour native speakers of English and b) not all girls at North London Collegiate and Godolphin do the IB, many take the A-Level instead, so the IB results only represent the results of those students chosen to take the demanding IB – the A-level results of these schools are stellar as well though.


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