This is probably the most frequent question from expatriate families, before coming to London: how do I find a good state school in London for my children?
The 5 steps to finding a (good) state school in London
The answer we always give is to first ask the family what they define as a good school. Some families will favour the academic results, other families the environment provided to the children, as an example.
Whatever the answer is though, there is a method to assessing and selecting schools, ahead of the applications:
- Contact your local Borough to find out what schools are in your area and the admissions criteria
- Find out more about a school by visiting if you can (most have Open Days, Summer Fairs and Christmas Fairs)
- Check the school league tables
- Read the school’s Ofsted report – you are looking for Ofsted ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’
- Meet the School Head if you can, and talk to parents, if you can too!
Steps 2 and 5 are great if you already live in London.
But if you don’t, then you will have to rely on reports and league tables (steps 3 and 4), as well as the knowledge and advice of a Schools Expert, which we can provide.
Remember that families cannot apply for a state school without a permanent residence address in the Borough (London area) where the children want to enter school.
Also remember that the academic level is not everything: there is a mine of information about other aspects of a school, which can be just as important, in the Ofsted reports.
Lastly, flexibility is usually best for state schools: if you can have several acceptable school options in mind, you will avoid disappointment, as many very good schools are simply oversubscribed.
If the state school selection and application process sounds daunting to you, feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help.