Top 10 Best Secondary Schools in London, United Kingdom

What are the best secondary schools in London? That’s one of the most common questions parents always ask.

And, to answer that question, I would say; the best high schools in London are, usually, the ones that provide the pupils with the best possible education in a safe and stimulating environment.

Secondary schools in London, like in most parts of the United Kingdom, are usually quite competitive. And, that is evident in the number of learners trooping in for studies each year.

Check Also: Top 10 Best Primary Schools in London

However, the parents need to understand the environment for which they’re about to send their wards. And, this is very important, as the learning environment matters and also plays a crucial role.

Why are parents and learners alike obsessed with schools in London?

It is no news that many kids in and outside the United Kingdom have a dream to study in one of London’s prestigious institutions. Not a surprise if you ask me, though.

Even our great-grandparents would have wished they had gone to London for their studies.

The reason is quite simple. The city of London is one of the world’s liveliest and most loving cities.

Every Londoner would attest to that fact.

The city has been, for the past many years, dubbed the education powerhouse. And, the reason behind this hype is that it houses some of the world’s renowned institutions.

Have you ever heard of the University of Oxford?

I know that question sounds weird to start with because I am sure you have the Oxford English Dictionary grinning at you right on your bookshelf.

And yes, it goes to show the high standard of education in London and entire Great Britain.

However, despite all the hype and trust, parents are still not giving up in their quest to find the best school for their wards when the need arises. That is why this article will come in handy.

Are secondary schools in London compulsory?

Secondary school education is compulsory in London up to the age of 16. And is meant to develop a child both physically, mentally, emotionally, and academically during the adolescent stage.

Secondary education is the next stage of formal education after pre-school and primary school, as it further prepares students for tertiary/ higher education or any vocation.

High schools in London, more often than not, are divided into two categories. It includes; the junior secondary and the senior secondary phase.

And, this is the same in most counties and many parts of the world, and the UK’s largest city is not left out because secondary schools in London stand out for excellence.

Entry into high schools in London

Learners are qualified for secondary school education after they have completed the six years of primary school. In other words, entry into high school comes after about six years of primary school education.

To start with, the list of secondary schools in London can be huge. However, these schools all have one thing in common. And that is, quality educators and a learning environment!

High schools in London almost certainly boast of high-quality teachers. The educators are simply top-notch and up-to-date with the use of the latest technologies.

In addition to maintaining a high standard of quality learning, there is always a high bar in recruiting educators.

Like in most parts of the United Kingdom, London high schools are always on the lookout for qualified and professional teachers who will be proficient in their respective fields of specialization.

And, ultimately, ensuring a level of competence, validity, and reliability of content delivery upon gross evaluation, a more comprehensive curriculum, scheme of work, and lesson content to be delivered and to meet the needs of all learners.

Although, some, and not all, secondary schools in London maintain good academic standing.

To make it pretty simple to choose which school to send your child to, we have identified some of the best secondary schools in London to enroll your youngsters.

The level of expertise in most of these secondary schools is quite remarkable and worthy of recommendation.

That is just another reason why we are going to make this post as comprehensive as possible.

What makes this list stands out?

The advanced curriculum, specialized and experienced instructors, quality facilities, laboratories for scientific research and experiments, and distinctive approaches to solving academic matters are qualities that make this list the most preferred and most appropriate of all when it comes to secondary schools in London.

List of the Top 10 Secondary Schools in London

1Westminster SchoolCo-edPublic£21,321 p.a.
2The American School in LondonCo-edInternational£28,200 p.a.
3City of London SchoolBoysPublic£6,665 p.t.
4St Paul’s Girls’ SchoolGirlsIndependent£8,802 p.t.
5Latymer Upper SchoolCo-edPublic£7,153 p.t.
6Harrow SchoolBoysPublic/Independent£14,555 p.t
7James Allen’s Girls’ SchoolGirlsIndpendent£6,615 p.t.
8Alleyn’s SchoolCo-edPublic/Independent18,825 p.a
9Dulwich CollegeBoysPublic/Independent£7,224 p.t.
10Highgate SchoolCo-edPublic/Independent£7,200 p.t.

Top 10 Best Secondary Schools in London

1. Westminster School

AGES7 – 18
PHONE+44 (0)20 7963 1000
ADDRESS17A Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3PB

Westminster School is a public (fee-charging) institution situated in the Dean’s Yard, just a 2-minutes walk from Westminster Abbey, London.

The School is boys-only starting from the Under School (ages 7, 8, and 11), up to the Great School Phase, at age 13. It, however, becomes co-educational at age 16.

Application to study at Westminster is restricted only to pupils at either 11+ or 13+ but not both.

Founded in 1560, Westminster is one of the most expensive boarding and day secondary schools in London.

Since the past decades, the School has maintained the highest percentage of students accepted by two of the oldest, wealthiest, and most famous UK universities, Oxford University and Cambridge University.

Also, it is ranked one of the best boys secondary schools, not only in London but in the entire United Kingdom, in terms of GCSE results.

More than 80% of pupils scored A*-A for their A-Levels examination and GCSEs.

Entry Into Westminster School

There are four main points of entry for pupils as of this writing:

  • The Under School (ages 7, 8, and 11): This is the first learning phase at Westminster. A combination of internal examination and interview are both used to judge the entry.
  • The Great School (age 13): Entry is strictly for pupils aged 13. Unlike the Under School, entry is by ISEB Common Pre-Test or internal exams and interviews.
  • The Great School (age 16): Exams and interviews are the two entry determinants. However, these are all conditional upon GCSE results.

Please Note: The Great School (age 16) is the only entry point for girls.

Westminster is a historic secondary school with decades of academic and sporting excellence.

There are currently approximately 750 students aged 7 to 16 years enrolled at the School.

As a day and boarding institution, over one hundred of the 750 students are boarders.

Studying at Westminster is not cheap! It comes at a price.

Westminster School fees range from £7,107 to £10,917 for the Under School and Sixth Form Entry, per term, respectively.

The boarding fee per term is £14,424 and £43,272 annually.

Please Note: The school fees are subject to annual changes, usually, by the end of the summer term and published in early July.

2. The American School in London

PHONE+44 (0)20 7449 1221
ADDRESSOne Waverley Place, London NW8 0NP, UK

The American School in London, commonly abbreviated with ASL, is an independent institution in St John’s Wood district in Westminster, London.

ASL was founded in 1951 to cater to pupils from kindergarten up to secondary school.

At least three in every five students have parents with a United States passport. However, the school strives to create a diverse atmosphere by admitting students from different social and economic backgrounds.

Since its inception, The American School in London has enrolled kids aged four through 18.

In addition, ASL based its education system on the American teaching methods.

ASL over the past years has maintained a strong track record for Association of American Universities (AAU) collegiate placements and Ivy League.

The American School in London (ASL) has been rated outstanding in all fields inspected by The Office for Standards in Education, Children Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Divided into three schools, ASL consists of;

  • Lower School (PreK to Grade 4)
  • Middle School (Grade 5 to Grade 8)
  • High School (Grade 9 to Grade 12)

As an Independent International School, payment of tuition and fees is mandatory.

The American School in London has an annual tuition fee of £28,200, £31,300, and £32,650 for K1 to Grade 4, Grade 5 to Grade 8, and Grade 9 to Grade 12, respectively.

Tuition fees, however, can be paid in two installments; Semester 1 fees and Semester 2 fees.

Note that tuition covers laboratory fees, and most importantly, textbooks. However, Ecology trips, and Music Tour, choir members carry a supplemental charge.

ASL is not just another American institution. It is one of the leading secondary schools in London, with an outstanding academic and co-curricular track record.

3. City of London School

AGES10 – 18
PHONE020 3680 6300
ADDRESSQueen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 3AL

Established in 1442 (579 years as of this writing), the City of London School provides public school education to learners aged 10 to 18.

The school, commonly referred to as CLS and City, is a fee-charging secondary school for boys situated in the City of London, England.

CLS is an associate of the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference (HMC).

Over the past years, it has become one of the most successful secondary schools in London.

In 2020, according to a report by The Sunday Times Parent Power Guide, CLS was awarded London Independent Secondary School of the Year.

The City of London School (CLS), since its inception, does not only provides day education to boys.

However, it also seeks to provide a community “to foster good relationships between them and members of the staff, allowing pupils to develop their social confidence as well as thrive on academic excellence.

CLS boasts a plethora of facilities, including a 25-Metre swimming pool, AstroTurf and grass playing fields, music technology lab, ICT labs, drama studio, and a whole lot more.

The City of London School, although a fee-charging institution, charges very little compared to other top public and private secondary schools in London.

School fees at CLS per academic term range between £6,665 and £7,000, while school launch and music lessons cost approximately £292 and £271 per term, respectively.

4. St Paul’s Girls’ School

AGES11 – 18
PHONE020 7603 2288
ADDRESSBrook Green, Hammersmith London W6 7BS

St Pauli’s Girls’ School is a fee-charging private school located in West London. It was founded in 1904 to provide girls students in the London neighborhood with quality and relatively affordable education.

The school currently caters to approximately 800 young girls aged 11 to 18.

Since the past few years, its academic performance in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and A-Levels have been quite outstanding.

And, more often than not, nearly 100% of its students are regularly graded at A*s or As. It is arguably one of the best secondary schools in London and the country in general.

As an independent school, St Pauli’s Girls’ charges about £8,802 per term and £9,463 per term for new entrants to the Senior School (Year 12).

The school fee covers personal accident insurance and lunch. However, extra charges apply to textbooks, music lessons, LAMDA classes, sports coaching, and life drawing classes.

5. Latymer Upper School

AGES7 – 18
PHONE020 8629 2024
ADDRESSKing Street, Hammersmith London W6 9LR

Latymer Upper School is a public co-educational school located in Hammersmith, London, England.

It was founded in 1624 and currently has a student body of approximately 1,400 vibrant boys and girls. Latymer Upper is a selective school; hence, its basis of enrollment of students on some criteria, especially academic performance.

Entry into Latymer Upper School is usually known to be quite competitive. And on the other hand, it only accepts a few percentages of applicants.

At Latymer Upper, learners aged 11 and sixteen often are admitted through interviews and examinations.

The school’s academic performance has been outstanding over the past decades and has remained so.

Latymer Upper is, historically and to date, one of the highest academically performing secondary schools in London and the whole of the United Kingdom.

Please note that Latymer Upper also includes Latymer Prep, a preparatory school, which takes pupils aged 7 to 11.

Latymer Upper School fee is £7,153 per term. School fees are payable in advance on a term basis.

6. Harrow School

AGE13 – 18
PHONE+44 (0)20 8872 8007
ADDRESS5 High Street Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex HA1 3HP

Established in 1572, Harrow School situate in one of the historic villages in the Borough of Harrow.

The school was founded in the early 1570s by John Lyon, one of the wealthiest landowners in London – at the time. He was also the founder of John Lyon’s Charity organization.

Harrow School is a public, independent school for boys aged 13 to 18.

As one of the leading high schools in London, it provides many facilities, including 12 boarding accommodations that house approximately 830 boarders.

Going by its history, one would agree to the reason why Harrow School is rated among the best secondary schools in London and of the world’s most prestigious schools.

As of this writing, Harrow School has an enrollment of approximately 830 learners, all of whom are full-time boarders.

Harrow School fees per learner range from £14,000 to £14,555 per term. The fees cover boarding accommodation, tuition, textbooks, and laundry.

Fees at the school are paid in advance by the first day of the term.

7. James Allen’s Girls’ School

AGE4 – 18
PHONE020 8693 1181
ADDRESS144 East Dulwich Grove, London, SE22 8TE

Abbreviated with JAGS—James Allen’s Girls’ School—is an all-female school located in South London in England and catering to over 1,000 girls aged 3, up to 18 years.

Founded in 1741, 281 years ago, as of this writing, It is the oldest all-girls independent school in Greater London.

JAGS consists of three schools: Pre-Preparatory, or Junior School (for pupils aged 4 – 11), Senior School (catering to 11 – 16 years old girls), and finally Sixth Form serving learners from 16 – 18 years old.

Like most secondary schools in London, JAGS also is a fee-paying school.

Fees at the school are payable on a term basis and range from £5,995 up to £6,615—not including a one-time acceptance deposit of £1,750, plus a lunch cost of £292 and an optional £220 for instrumental lessons.

8. Alleyn’s School

AGE4 – 18
PHONE020 8557 1500
ADDRESSTownley Road, London, SE22 8SU

In affiliation with the Church of England, Alleyn’s School offers a co-educational education for children aged 4, up to 18 years old.

Alleyn’s School opened its doors to pupils in 1619, with only twelve learners on the roll, including a teacher.

However, it has for a long time grown past its infancy. Presently, it caters to approximately 1,252 with a capacity to accommodate a total of 1,340 learners.

As a co-educational institution, the School accepts applications from boys and girls within the age range of 4 to 18 years old, from all backgrounds.

Apart from School’s care, Alleyn’s offers a whole lot of unending opportunities to children; therefore, bringing out the best from each child.

Alleyn’s School fees range from £6,275 per term and £18,825 per annum for Junior School, and up to £7,125 per term and £21,375 per annum for Senior School.

9. Dulwich College

AGE2 – 19
PHONE+44 (0)20 8693 3601
ADDRESSDulwich Common, London, SE21 7LD, UK

Dulwich College is one of the leading Day and Boarding private secondary schools in London. The school prides itself on excellent facilities and a long history of academic excellence.

Although primarily regarded as a College – due to its name. However, it also serves pupils from the Early Years (aged 2 to 6) all-throughout Year 12 (age 16 plus).

The history of Dulwich College dates back to 1619. Then, it was with the name College of God’s Gift. At first, the school aimed at educating twelve poor students. Just barely 200 years after, it began to grow into what would later become Dulwich College which we all know today.

Dulwich is an all-boys College, and admission isn’t as highly selective as speculated.

However, there is an entrance examination into the Junior, Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools – Years 3, 7, 9, and 12 (for learners ages 7, 11, 13, and 16 years old).

And, as with most secondary schools in London, Dulwich College is a member of both the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, also known as HMC.

As a fee-paying school, tuition and fees hugely depend upon when the learner is a Day or Boarding student.

However, boarding fees at Dulwich College can also vary from student to student, as full-time boarders will most likely pay more than their weekly counterparts.

Dulwich College Day fees for Junior and School Years 3 – 13 (Age 7 – 18) range from £7,224 per term and £21,672 per year.

Dulwich College Weekly Boarders fees range between £14,136 and £42,408 per annum.

And lastly, Full Boarders cough up to £15,078 per term and £45,234 per year.

10. Highgate School

AGE3 – 18
PHONE020 8340 1524
ADDRESSNorth Road, London N6 4AY

Highgate School is an independent fee-charging institution situated in London, England.

Founded in 1565, the school provides students with excellent learning environments – coupled with its state-of-the-art academic and sporting facilities.

Highgate is a co-educational school, which means its doors are widely open to boys and girls. As an independent school, paying fees is crucial to keeping the school up and running.

In addition to providing high-quality learning and a stimulating atmosphere to learn and grow, it also caters optimally to pupils ages 3 to 11 years old.

As of this writing, the school has a student body of over 1,400 learners from Highgate Pre-Preparatory to Senior School.

Highgate School fees currently range between £6,235, £6,600, and £7,200 per term for Highgate Pre-Preparatory School, Highgate Junior School, and the Senior School.

Summary – Best Secondary Schools in London

There are more than a hundred high schools in London. That is a fact! And, while the majority of these institutions are state-funded, some are religious and faith-affiliated. Plus, a whole lot of private/independent.

However, many schools, not just high schools, in London have a selective policy.

As a rule of thumb, when questing for the best secondary schools in London, it is recommended to check whether the school has a selective or non-selective policy.

Also, check out to confirm if the school is co-educational or single-gender.

To help you get things right, we have included all the vital information you may need to make the best choice for your child.

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