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How many public schools are there in London?

With thousands of free schools in London, families flock to the British capital to enjoy the benefits of a free, British education for their children. But how many public schools are there actually in London? We explore the numbers for you.

Please note that this article refers to “public schools” with the meaning of a “state school” in the British education system. This is not how the UK describes their state schools, but in many other countries around the world, public schools are free schools – we are keeping this meaning to make it easier for families from overseas. For more information on what “public schools” are, check out this article.

How many public schools are there in London?

There are approximately 2,700 public schools in London. This excludes universities.

Selective versus non-selective public schools

Most public schools in London are not selective, meaning they are open to everyone.

Exceptions can be (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Grammar schools, which are public secondary schools with entry exams (approximately 19 of them)
  • Faith schools which also set their own admission criteria (although most criteria would not be academic, but based on religious practice). These schools represent around a quarter of London public schools.

Day schools versus boarding public schools in London

Most London public schools are day-schools, meaning children return home each day after school. There are less than 10 boarding public schools in London.

Primary versus secondary public schools in London

Lastly, most public schools in London do not cover all school ages, meaning they would be either primary, secondary, sixth form, nursery, or a combination of these education phases, but rarely all of them. Only less than 20 public schools in London are all-through, meaning start at 3/4 years old, and finish at 18/19 years old. The rest is divided between primary state schools (approximately 1,800) and secondary state schools (less than 500), sixth form and nursery.

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