Common Entrance|Insights|School Applications

Written by our team of experienced education consultants, we are delighted to share our London Schools Guide. Every school has a different ethos, approach to teaching, facilities and staff. We know how important it is to find a school which is right for your child so here is our insight on the best independent Preparatory Schools in London to help you to make that decision.

For more information on school choices, read our blog How to Find The Perfect School For Your Child or get in touch with our team via the contact form. We also offer bespoke support for families – from 60 minute consultations to discuss schools and their application processes, to academic testing and ongoing support which gives children the best chance of receiving an offer from their first choice school.

The Academic Profiling Test

The Golden Circle uses the latest technology to inform parents on school choices and entrance exams. Using a new AI-powered assessment tool – The Academic Profiling Test – families are given an accurate insight into their child’s unique learning abilities.

Through an easy-to-use platform, our students take online tests in Maths, English, VR and NVR, and parents receive a detailed report on the child’s academic strengths and areas for development. Combining data with The Golden Circle’s expert knowledge of London and out-of-town schools, our education consultants provide evidence-based recommendations on school choices and a tuition route map to prepare optimally for school admissions tests at 7+, 8+, 11+, 13+ and 16+ entry points.

Our school APT assessments are priced at £750 and full school searches are £1400. These packages offer a detailed report on your child’s academic ability, school recommendations, and a personalised route map to prepare for Common Entrance exams.

South London

1. Thomas’s Battersea Prep School

Thomas’s Battersea Prep School educates 600 boys and girls from ages 4 to 11. Famed for educating the Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the school has become increasingly popular in recent years. Their beautiful school premises, located next to Battersea Square, offer an exciting, innovative learning environment for students. Families say they enjoy the benefits of a top class prep school – with an extensive extracurricular programme, excellent teaching staff, and comprehensive pastoral support – but value the more understated nature of the school (compared to some in neighbouring Chelsea, just North of the river). Thomas’s is a nurturing school which helps children to become well-rounded, conscientious and caring citizens of the world. Their motto is ‘Be Kind’. Their highly anticipated secondary school opens in September 2022 and is expected to be equally popular.

Location: 28–40 Battersea High Street, SW11 3JB
Head: Simon O’Malley
Pupils: 608 day: 339 boys, 269 girls
Ages: 4-13
Term fees: From £7,250

2. L’Ecole De Battersea

L’Ecole de Battersea is a bilingual Franco-British prep school for children aged 3 to 11. Their sister school, L’Ecole de Petit, is located in Fulham and caters for Early Years students to prepare them for prep school. L’Ecole de Battersea is renowned for delivering an exceptional education that combines the best of the French and British curricula.

Location: Trott Street, SW11 3DS
Head: Laurent Balerdi
Principal: Frédérique Brisset
Pupils: 260 day: 134 boys, 126 girls
Ages: 3–11
Term fees: £4,800

3. Newton Prep School

Newton Prep School is described by Tatler as “not your traditional prep school, and for all the good reasons”. They deliver a diverse academic and co-curricular schedule. Students are encouraged to be sporty and, as can be spotted from the train past Vauxhall, they have top of the range sports and drama facilities, including a 300-seat auditorium, astro pitches and gymnastics halls. Students are encouraged to voice their opinions through the Student Parliament and School Magazine.

Location: 149 Battersea Park Road, SW8 4BX
Head: Alison Fleming
Pupils: 630 day: 317 boys, 313 girls
Ages: 3–13
Term fees: £7,045

4. Eaton House The Manor School

Eaton House Schools educate boys aged 4-13 and girls aged 4-11. It is well suited to academically ambitious students, and has impressive leavers’ destinations, however academics is not their only focus. Eaton House Schools schools are places where children grow intellectually and emotionally, guided by teachers who inspire a love of learning beyond the National Curriculum. Children here are happy, learn skills outside of the classroom, and go on to thrive at top secondary schools in London including Westminster School, St Paul’s School, Dulwich College and James Allen’s Girls’ School.

Location: 58 Clapham Common Northside, SW4 9RU
Head: Sarah Segrave
Pupils: 230
Ages: 4–13
Term fees: £6,010

5. Northcote Lodge

Northcote Lodge is located on the edge of Wandsworth Common. Children start their education at Broomwood Hall Lower and, aged 8, girls progress to Broomwood Hall Upper while boys move onto Northcote Lodge. Their holistic ethos has led to an accomplished, thriving student body – academic rigor, manners, extracurricular interests, pastoral care and happiness are all prioritised. The teaching environment stretches and stimulates students so that they achieve academic excellence at prep school level and go on to enjoy more success at leading secondary schools.

Location: 26 Bolingbroke Grove, SW11 6EL
Head: Clive Smith-Langridge
Pupils: 250 day boys
Ages: 8–13
Term fees: £7,140

6. Garden House School

Garden House School is a family-run school located at the heart of Chelsea. Described by Tatler as ‘home from home’ and ‘an oasis of childhood’, this school provides a secure, happy and inspiring environment in which students are set to thrive both academically and personally. Alongside their rigorous academic curriculum, students are offered a wide variety of opportunities to develop their interests in Drama, Sports, Music and Art. With a focus on good manners and kindness, children are taught by a team of expert and enthusiastic teachers who help them become passionate and well-rounded individuals.

Location: Turks Row, SW3 4TW
Head: Dan Jameson (boys), Emma Studd (girls)
Pupils: 453 day: 196 boys, 257 girls
Ages: 3–11
Term fees: £7,850

7. Sussex House School

Sussex House provides an unparalleled extra-curricular programme which includes Architecture Club, Carpentry, Chess, Pottery Club and Coding. They have a strong reputation for their sports, music and drama activities and their artistic creativity is put on display during their yearly Exhibition, where students take over the building with their architectural models, paintings and musical performances. The family atmosphere at Sussex House allows the students to form lifelong bonds and benefit from a real sense of community.

Location: 68 Cadogan Square, SW1 X0EA
Head: Nicholas Kaye
Pupils: 184 day boys
Ages: 8–13
Term fees: £7,335

8. Wetherby Kensington

At Wetherby, educational excellence and tradition are delivered through a forward-thinking and holistic academic programme. Wetherby boys are guaranteed to benefit from a fulfilling academic journey through a variety of learning and co-curricular experiences. They perform exceptionally well in Common Entrance exams and the school boasts an impressive list of leavers’ destinations.

Location: 68 Cadogan Square, SW1 X0EA
Head: Nicholas Kaye
Pupils: 184 day boys
Ages: 8–13
Term fees: £7,335

North London

1. Highgate School

Highgate School educates over 1200 boys and girls from ages 4 to 18. Their secondary school is recognised as one of the best co-educational independent schools in the UK and many parents prioritise entry at prep school age to give them the best chances of securing a place. The school combines their exceptional academic programme with a wide variety of co-curricular activities and a strong sense of community. At Highgate Junior School, children develop the confidence to investigate and enquire, to solve problems and to take responsibility for their learning. This pays dividends at secondary age. In 2022, 31 of their students received offers to Oxbridge.

Location: North Road, N6 4AY
Head: Adam Pettitt
Pupils: 1277 a day: 646 boys, 631 girls
Ages: 4-18
Term fees: £7,200

2. Belmont Mill Hill

Belmont Mill Hill offers a rich and diverse curriculum, giving their students the opportunity to find their individual talent. Pastoral care is at the heart of their work and the school takes pride in providing tailored support for individual children and their families. They offer a holistic learning environment in which students can choose between 90 co-curricular activities. Students are even encouraged to start their own clubs. This is a good fit for children who have a diverse range of interests.

Location: The Ridgeway Village, NW7 4ED
Head: Irenie Manfredi
Pupils: 550
Ages: 7-18
Term fees: £6,520

3. Channing School

Channing School takes a personalised approach to academic learning – everyone is taught to a high standard, but not everyone is taught the same way. Using differentiated teaching methods and innovative technology, the exceptional educators at Channing School deliver a challenging academic curriculum. Student learning is enhanced by an outstanding co-curricular programme that includes activities, trips and guest speakers. With values of acceptance, free thinking and inclusivity at its core, Channing students are encouraged to recognise their strengths and embrace their weaknesses as opportunities to learn.

Location: 1 Highgate High St, N6 5JR
Head: Dina Hamalis
Pupils: 670
Ages: 4-18
Term fees: £6,550

4. South Hampstead Junior School

South Hampstead Junior School provides a happy and stimulating environment for girls from aged 4. Their team of experienced and enthusiastic teachers procure a fun and engaging education marked by the sense of adventure. Creativity, individuality and a love for learning are cultivated and students work and play together, developing co-operation skills and a strong sense of community. At South Hampstead, they spark children’s curiosity and imagination, allowing them to develop their personal interest and discover their sense of self.

Location: 5 Netherhall Gardens, NW3 5RN
Head: Caroline Spencer
Pupils: 265
Ages: 4-11
Term fees: £5466

5. Devonshire House Preparatory School

Devonshire House is one of the most competitive independent schools in London. It offers a rigorous academic programme that is rooted in tradition but delivered using innovative teaching methods and technology. At Devonshire House, they cater to the individual academic needs of their students, encouraging their independent thinking and learning. Students master advanced skills in reading, writing and numeracy. Creative expression and verbal communication are also nourished through lessons in Art, Drama, Music and Technology.

Location: 2 Arkwright Road, NW3 6AE
Head: Stephanie Piper
Pupils: 689 day; 376 boys, 313 girls
Ages: 2– 13
Term fees: £5,995

6. Lyndhurst Preparatory School

Lyndhurst Preparatory School is a school for boys aged 4-13. With an exceptional record of success at Common Entrance, they pride themselves on instilling a responsibility for one’s own learning, enthusiasm and commitment. The school caters to individual needs, ensuring children develop their strengths and personalities. In what they describe as a warm and safe environment, students are able to explore their passions and develop strong skills in critical and creative thinking. Their academic curriculum offers children an ambitious and intellectually stimulating school experience.

Location: 32 Lyndhurst Gardens NW3 5NW
Head: Andrew Reid
Pupils: 125 boys
Ages: 4-13
Term fees: From £6,120