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Are private schools better than state schools in London?

London schools – there are over 600 – vary tremendously in terms of the standard of education and the quality of the facilities they offer. A common idea is that private schools are better than state schools (government-funded schools, which are free). But is this true? We explore the myth and the reality.

Are private schools better than state schools in London?

The reality

The majority of children in London attend State Schools within the Borough in which they live, and competition for the outstanding schools can be intense. As a consequence, it is common for families already living in London to move house to ensure that they live close enough to a school to gain a place.

Private schools in London

Overall, it is considered that private schools in London (also called Independent Schools) offer higher academic standards, better facilities and a greater choice of extracurricular activities. For most of the private schools, this is true.

But not all private schools are outstanding, and the definition of a good school will be different for each family. It is therefore important to check all the information available about a private school before making a final choice, or making an application.

However, this comes at a price, with fees generally ranging between £18’000 and £30’000 per child per school year. In comparison, a state school is totally free.

State Schools in London

Lastly, it is important to know that there are excellent State Schools in London. Many of the families we have helped move to London with children in the state system are very happy with their children’s school and education.


So if you are a family with several children, some thinking and budgeting will definitely be needed before deciding between a state school and a private school.

For more information, you can read more information about the school system and school applications in London.

Want to be fully prepared to find your next home in London? Buy and download our self-help guides!

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Guide to State Schools in London

All the information you need to find the right London State School for your child, and apply successfully: top state schools; when and how to apply; catchment areas; admission criteria; waiting lists; appeals; application websites for all London Boroughs.

Only £ 14.99

Guide to State and Private Schools in London

A practical guide to state and private schools in London: where the best schools are in London; school years and curriculum; applications process and timelines; application requirements; Special Education Needs, glossary of school terms.

Only £ 14.99

Guide to Private Schools in London

All the information you need to find the right London Private school for your child, and apply successfully: top private schools, cheapest private schools, boarding schools, international schools, British schools, school fees, bursaries, how and when to apply.

Only £ 14.99
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