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St Paul’s School: two top private schools in London

London is home to two top independent schools with close historical ties and equally high standards: St Paul’s School and St Paul’s Girls’ School.

As well as sharing a name, they both set the bar for educational excellence in the UK. So, if you’re hoping to send your son or daughter to one of the best private schools in London – or the UK for that matter – these table-topping institutions should tick all the boxes.

St Paul’s School

The archetypal English independent school  is home to pristine playing fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. Thankfully, you don’t have to live in Middle England to guarantee your child has access to cricket wickets, rugby posts and hockey goals. This selective independent school for boys aged 13-18 is situated on a beautiful 43-acre site by the River Thames in Barnes, west London, along with its preparatory school: St Paul’s Juniors (age 7-13) – which like its older brother enjoys a reputation for all-round excellence: academic, sporting, musical and creative.

St Paul’s was founded in 1509 by John Colet (Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral) – and in 1870 it was named by the Clarendon Commission as one of the ‘nine great public schools’ of England. The school has maintained these high standards ever since: today it is the highest-ranked independent boys’ school in the country – according to the official GCSE league table for 2019.

Entry to both schools is selective and is “designed to identify boys who have a natural flair for learning and who will thrive on our education.” While St Paul’s is a fee-paying school, means-tested bursaries offer financial assistance to the families of talented students who would otherwise be unable to afford a private education.


St Paul’s Girls’ School

St Paul’s Girls’ School is inextricably linked to its namesake by John Colet, whose foundation was used to create a girls’ school in 1904 to complement the boys’ school he had founded in the sixteenth century. Located in Hammersmith, west London, St Paul’s Girls’ hasn’t just maintained the high standards set by its older sibling; it has excelled to become the top-ranked independent school in the land – according to the official GCSE league table for 2019.

The school is split into three sections:

  1. Lower school – the first two years, which are called the MIV (age 13-14) and the UIV (age 14-15)
  2. Middle school – known as the LV (age 15-16)
  3. Sixth form – known as the Senior School (age 16-18)

Entry to St Paul’s Girls’ is by competitive examination and interview. Families that are unable to afford the tuition fees can apply for a means-tested bursary, which is determined by the family’s financial circumstances.




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