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Families moving to London: why you should start with secondary schools

For anyone moving to London with a child in their early/mid-teens, the school search will play a huge role in achieving a successful relocation for the whole family.

Most importantly, getting it right will help ensure your nearest and dearest settle in as quickly as possible. Plus, it will dictate your home search, because the properties you choose to view will need to be within the catchment area of suitable schools – all-the-more reason to start right away.

The challenge for parents

If you plan on placing them in state education, children in this age bracket (12-16 years old) will attend a secondary school. There are currently over 24,323 schools – 6,000 of which are in London – in England: 16,769 are primary schools (5-12 years old), while just 3,448 are secondary schools.

Because there are considerably fewer secondary schools to choose from compared to primary, it is essential that you begin your search at the very beginning of the relocation process. And if you have children that are both primary and secondary age, you should prioritise the secondary school search to give yourself the best chance of securing a place somewhere that matches your requirements.

Demand for secondary school places in London is extremely high and is showing no sign of abating.

For example, pupil population projections in the capital over the next few years indicate that significantly more secondary school places will be required: demand for state school places is expected to reach in the region of 737,000 for primary and 498,000 for secondary by 2025.

This represents a rise of 105,000 places in the secondary sector (26.5 per cent) compared to just 60,000 places in the primary sector (8.8 per cent).

There is some good news: 92 per cent of state-funded schools in London have been ranked good or outstanding by the government’s Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).

It’s easy to start learning about secondary schools in London from the comfort of your home before you even get here. Websites like are a great way to find and compare schools in the British capital.

Get help from the experts

At Simply London, we offer two options designed to take the hassle out of your school search, in addition to our home search and settling-in services:

  • School phone consultation – advice on schools, admissions and the general process.
  • Full school search package – an in-depth, bespoke service that’s tailored to your family’s requirements.

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 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 London Neighbourhoods

20 top London neighbourhoods covered, with, for each neighbourhood: history and character; average rent prices for 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms; transport links; local highlights.

Only £ 14.99
Browse all the Guides
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