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Private school or state school in London?

As a world city, and the centre of British Education, London offers many options for international expats moving with school-aged children. State schools (meaning free, public schools), private English schools, and private International schools are the main options available.

The choice used to be fairly simple: if they had the budget, expats would send their children to a Private school. If they didn’t, it would be a State School.

However a recent trend has shown that there are now many more factors playing a role in the decision on the type of school, outside of the mere budget criteria:

  1. Location: there are state schools everywhere in London. Private schools can be more selective, therefore reducing the choice of potential locations when choosing an area to live in.
  2. Environment: some parents will favour schools with a lot of expat children, others will favour more “local” schools to give their children the most “British” environment possible.
  3. Education: British education vs. International Baccalaureate – this is the choice that parents who can afford a private school will be faced with (a good choice, that is!)
  4. Housing: rental properties located in the catchment area of an excellent state school will require a price premium. Most private schools don’t have a geographical catchment area, leaving parents with potentially more housing options.
  5. Timing: at what time of the year the application is made can play a role in the availability of spaces, both in state and private schools.

There isn’t a “One Size fits all” choice for schools and education in London.

The most important is to weigh all the choices and criteria, and keep as many options open as possible.

At Simply London, we call it a “School Strategy”, which says it all. It can sound daunting, but with the right priorities and choices, our experience is that there is always a good option available for your family’s situation.

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

Browse all the Guides

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 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 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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