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The Top 10 Independent Schools in London: Complete Guide

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About the 11 Plus (11+)

Year 7 is a common entry point into independent schools. Academically selective independent schools often require your child to sit exams called the 11+ to determine their suitability for the school. 

Each school has its own process with slightly varying key dates, however, typically registration runs between spring and November 2023; exams are at the end of November/ beginning of December; interviews are in January; and offers are sent out in February, to be accepted by March 2024. 

The 11+ selection process, for an independent school, is typically formed of an exam, a reference from your child’s current school, and interviews (some schools select for interviews based on exam performance). 

This article will give you more information about the 11+ process for 2024 entry into London’s 10 highest-achieving Independent schools. The ranking is based on their most recent moderated examination results for GCSEs and A-Levels. 

For more in-depth information you can visit our full articles on each of these schools, which are linked in each section. 

1. St Paul’s Girls

St Pauls Girls School
Image property of St Paul's Girls' School, www.spgs.org

Number of pupils: 789

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 1

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/st-paul-s-girls–school-7035

School’s contact details: 020 7603 2288, [email protected], www.spgs.org

Full exam information article: here click

St Paul’s Girls’ School (SPGS) is an independent school for girls founded in 1904. The school aims to develop independent, confident, academically outstanding students. 

In 2022, its examination results were the highest of all independent schools in London with 97.9% of GCSE graded 9-7 and 99.5% of A-Level results graded A*-B. 

Entry into this school is highly competitive. Registration to apply opens in late spring 2023 and their deadline is mid-November. 

Preliminary cognitive ability tests (assessing verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and maths skills) for all who are registered will be held at the end of November. 

Successful candidates will sit written exams in English, maths and comprehension in January 2024. These papers are all 1 hour 15 minutes and access content from the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum. 

Candidates who do well in these tests will be invited back for interviews in mid-January. Offers will be given on 9th February and must be accepted by early March.

2. St Paul’s School (Boys)

St Pauls Juniors
Image propety of St Paul's School, www.stpaulsschool.org.uk

Number of pupils: 1, 521

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 2

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/st-paul-s-school-7036

School’s contact details: 020 8748 9162, [email protected], www.stpaulsschool.org.uk

Full exam information article: click here

St Paul’s is a prestigious independent school for boys. St Paul’s ethos is to inspire boys to develop kindness, respect, and humility, as well as being highly successful in their academic pursuits. 

In 2022, 98.9% of GCSEs were graded 7- 9s and 98.8% of A-Levels were graded A*-B. St Paul’s has achieved several deserving accolades, being featured in many guides of top independent schools. 

Registration to sit their 11+ exams for 2024 entry is now open. An Open Day will be held on 9 September 2023. 

You must register your son for the ISEB preliminary test between mid-August and 6 November 2023. ISEB preliminary tests will take place online on 4 December. 

Successful applicants will be invited to sit written exams on 9 January 2024. Interviews will be conducted in mid-January before formal offers are given in February. Offers must be accepted by 1 March 2024.

3. King's College School, Wimbledon (Boys)

Kings College School
Image property of King's College School, www.kcs.org.uk

Number of pupils: 1, 194

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 3

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/king-s-college-school-6604

School’s contact details: 020 8255 5335, [email protected], www.kcs.org.uk/

Examberry full article: click here

Founded in 1829, Kings College is an independent day school for boys situated in Wimbledon. The school was voted Independent School of the Year in 2022 and prides itself on nurturing boys who achieve great feats academically and are compassionate and caring. 

The school consistently receives high examination results. In 2022, 97.7% of GCSE grades were 9-7 and 99.3% of all A-Level results were A*-B. 

Kings’ College invites prospective students to visit them on an Open Evening on 14 June 2023. You don’t need to book for this event and more information about it can be found on their website. 

Registration for their 2024 entry into Year 7 is now open and the registration deadline is the end of October 2023. 

The entrance exam will take place in early December 2023. The entrance exam tests three areas: English, maths and verbal reasoning. Boys who perform well on the examinations will be invited back for an interview in January 2024. Offers will be made in mid-February 2024.

4. Godolphin and Latymer School (Girls)

Godolphin and Latymer
Image property of Godolphin and Latymer, www.godolphinandlatymer.com

Number of pupils: 820

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 4

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/the-godolphin-and-latymer-school-7118

School’s contact details: 020 8741 1936, [email protected], www.godolphinandlatymer.com

Examberry full article: click here

Godolphin and Latymer School was founded in 1861 and is located in Hammersmith, West London. Named the Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year in 2020, Godolphin and Latymer is recognised nationally for its academic excellence and pastoral care. 

The school continuously achieves great national examination results. In 2022, 98.3% of GCSEs were awarded grades 9-7 in 2022 and 98% of A-Levels received grades A*-Bs. 

Furthermore, they provide their students with opportunities to partake in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. They were awarded Sunday Times’ Independent Secondary School of the Year in 2020. 

If your daughter would like to attend this school, registration is open now on their website. After registering, you will be sent an exam entry form in Autumn. The exam will take place in late November or early December 2023. 

The entrance exam is 100 minutes long, with a 30-minute break in the middle, and is split into these sections: maths (20 minutes), non-verbal reasoning (10 minutes), English comprehension (20 minutes), verbal reasoning (10 minutes), puzzles & problem-solving (15 minutes), creative comprehension (25 minutes). 

5. Westminster Under School (Boys)

Westminster Under School
Image property of Tatler, www.tatler.com

Number of pupils: 776

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 7

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/westminster-school-7236

School’s contact details: 020 78211 5788, [email protected], www.westminster.org.uk

Examberry full article: click here

Westminster School is an independent school for boys located in central London. For boys joining in Year 7, the entry point is the prep school called Westminster Under School. Boys accepted into the Under School at the 11+ entry point will automatically be considered for Westminster School. 

The school aims to provide an education that is holistic and multi-faceted. At Westminster, boys are encouraged to reach their potential in sports, music, and the arts as well as academic subjects. In 2022, 98% of GCSE grades were 9-7 and 97.5% of all A-Level results were awarded grades A*-B. 

Registration for 2024 entry is open and the deadline is in October 2023. You may also register to visit the school on an Open Day. The next Open Day is being held on 23 September 2023. 

Registered applicants will sit the Stage 1 exam in November 2023. This is an online ISEB common Pre-test consisting of four papers: English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. 

Successful candidates will be invited to sit the Stage 2 exam in January 2024 and attend interviews in late January/early February. This exam consists of two written papers in English and maths. Offers will be sent by late February and must be accepted by early March.

6. North London Collegiate School (Girls)

north london collegiate school
Image property of North London Collegiate School, www.nlcs.org.uk

Number of pupils: 1,107

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 10

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/north-london-collegiate-school-6736

School’s contact details: 020 8952 0912, [email protected], www.nlcs.org.uk

Examberry full article: click here

Founded in 1850, the ethos of North London Collegiate School is to produce confident and independent young women ready to make their mark on the world. The school offer a highly challenging academic curriculum and an extensive range of co-curricular activities to form a well-rounded education. 

In 2022, 96% of GCSE grades were awarded grades 9-7 and 97.2% of A-Level grades were awarded A*-B. Around one-third of their students achieved 3 or more A*s at A-Level. 

Registration is now open until 15 November and you can register online on their website. There will then be an entrance exam held at the school on 7 December 2023, consisting of standard format English (1 hour 20 minutes) and maths (1 hour 15 minutes) papers. 

Successful students will be invited for an informal interview in mid-January, which will help determine who is given an offer in mid-February 2024.

7. City of London School (Boys)

City of London School boys 1
Image property of Mentor Education, www.mentoreducation.co.uk

Number of pupils: 1, 020

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 11

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/city-of-london-school-6334

School’s contact details: 020 3680 6300, [email protected], www.cityoflondonschool.org.uk

Examberry full article: click here

City of London School is an independent school for boys aged 10-18, situated on the river Thames by St Paul’s Cathedral. The school is situated in an iconic location on the banks of the River Thames with views of Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern. City of London School’s ethos is to nurture students to be ‘kind, aware, and ready’. 

The school is known for its impressive academic performance which includes 26 places at Oxbridge, 97% of students achieving 9-7 results at GCSE level, and 91% of students achieving A*-A results at A-Level in 2022. The school was also awarded London Independent Secondary School of the Year in 2020.  

You may register to apply for 11+ entry in 2024 now until 3 November 2023. If you would like to visit the school they have Open Days on 28 September and 4 October 2023. 

The City of London School Stage 1 11+ exam will be on 7 December 2023. This exam is comprised of two papers in English (60 minutes) and maths (60 minutes). 

Students who are successful in the Stage 1 assessment will be invited to complete the Stage 2 exam on 13 December and have a short informal interview with a senior member of staff in January 2024. The Stage 2 exam is comprised of two multiple-choice papers in verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. Formal offers will be sent out in February and must be accepted in early March 2024.

8. Francis Holland School, Sloane Square (Girls)

Francis Holland Sloane Square
Image property of Alpha Planning, www.alphaplanning.ltd.uk

Number of pupils: 718

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 13

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/francis-holland-school–sloane-square-6464

School’s contact details: 020 7824 5005, [email protected], www.fhs-sw1.org.uk

Examberry full article: click here

Francis Holland School (Sloane Square), not to be confused with its sister school Francis Holland School (Regent’s Park), is an independent day school for girls located in central London. This school was recently voted Sunday Times’ Independent Secondary School of the Year 2023. 

Their most recent exam results were outstanding, with 94% of GCSEs being awarded grades 9-7s and 97% of A-Levels being awarded A*-Bs. Francis Holland offers a challenging curriculum and a wide range of extracurricular activities, enabling its students to reach their full academic potential.

Registration for this school is open and the deadline is 10 November 2023. You may also register for their next Open Morning, through their website, which will take place on 21st June 2023. 

The entrance exam is in late November/early December 2023. It is 100 minutes long, with a 30-minute break in the middle, and is split into these sections: maths (20 minutes), non-verbal reasoning (10 minutes), English comprehension (20 minutes), verbal reasoning (10 minutes), puzzles & problem-solving (15 minutes), creative comprehension (25 minutes). 

Interviews will take place on 10 January 2024. Formal offers will be sent out in February and must be accepted in early March 2024.

9. City of London School for Girls

City of London School for Girls
Image property of Mentor Education, www.mentoreducation.co.uk

Number of pupils: 738

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 14

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/city-of-london-school-for-girls-6335

School’s contact details: 020 7847 5500, [email protected], www.clsg.org.uk

Examberry full article: click here

City of London School for Girls is an independent day school founded in 1894 and situated in the Barbican, central London. 

They pride themselves on their unique approach, mixing academic rigour with an environment of comfortability and friendliness. In 2022, 98.7% of GCSE grades were awarded 9-7 and 94.5% of A-Level grades were awarded A*-B. 

Registration for 11+ 2024 entry closes in October 2023. The school is also currently running Open Days and their next events are on 26 September and 5 October 2023. 

Registered pupils will sit a 1-hour computer-based exam as part of the Stage 1 assessment in mid-November 2023. This will assess the child’s numerical, verbal, and non-verbal reasoning skills. 

Successful students will be invited to sit a Stage 2 assessment of two 45-minute, multiple-choice English and maths papers in mid-December. There will also be an interview in early-mid January 2024 before offers are sent in February 2024. 

10. Hampton School (Boys)

Hampton School 1
Image property of Hampton School, www.hamptonschool.org.uk

Number of pupils: 1,343

The Sunday Times Parent Power National Rank: 16

ISI report: https://www.isi.net/school/hampton-school-6507

School’s contact details: 020 8979 9273, [email protected], www.hamptonschool.org.uk

Examberry full article: click here

Hampton School is an independent day school for boys known for excellent academic results, as well as its sporting and musical achievements. 

In 2022, 95.4% of GCSE grades were awarded levels 9-7 and 95.9% of A-Level grades were awarded A*-B. 

You may want to visit the school before your child begins. The school has some upcoming Visitor Events on 5 October, 19 October and 7 November 2023, which will include a presentation from the Headmaster, a tour of the school and the opportunity to speak to key members of staff. 

Registration to apply is open until 1 November 2023. The exams will be at the end of November, and some students will be invited back for interviews in January. 

The exam is made up of three written papers in English (40 minutes), words & reasoning (40 minutes) and maths (45 minutes). Shortlisted candidates will then be invited for interviews in early January 2024. Offers will be sent on 9 February and must be accepted by 1 March 2024.

How to prepare your child for an Independent School's (11+) exam

The most useful way to prepare for an 11+ entrance exam is to use practice tests to familiarise your child with the exam content and format.

These tests can help your child to build their confidence and improve their performance in the exam.

For independent school 11+ preparation, we recommend the following packs: 

11+ Practice Tests

Key Recommendations for a multiple-choice exam

  • Non Verbal Reasoning Pack 2 Download v2

    11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning – Pack 2 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Non Verbal Reasoning Pack 1 Download v2

    11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning – Pack 1 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Verbal Reasoning Pack 2 Download v2 1

    11+ Verbal Reasoning – Pack 2 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Verbal Reasoning Pack 1 Download v2

    11+ Verbal Reasoning – Pack 1 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • English Multiple Choice Pack 2 Download v5

    11+ English (Multiple Choice) – Pack 2 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • English Multiple Choice Pack 1 Download v5

    11+ English (Multiple Choice) – Pack 1 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Maths Pack 2 Multiple Choice Download

    11+ Maths (Multiple Choice) – Pack 2 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Maths Pack 1 Multiple Choice Download

    11+ Maths (Multiple Choice) – Pack 1 (Download)

    £14.99
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Key Recommendations for a standard format exam

  • English Standard Format Pack 1 Download Cover 2

    11+ English (Standard Format) – Pack 1 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • English Standard Format Pack 2 Download Cover 1

    11+ English (Standard Format) – Pack 2 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Maths Pack 1 Standard Format Download

    11+ Maths (Standard Format) – Pack 1 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Maths Pack 2 Standard Format Download

    11+ Maths (Standard Format) – Pack 2 (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Maths Difficult Standard Format Pack 1D Download Cover

    11+ Maths Difficult (Standard Format) – Pack 1D (Download)

    £14.99
    Add to basket
  • Maths Difficult Standard Format Pack 2D Download Cover

    11+ Maths Difficult (Standard Format) – Pack 2D (Download)

    £14.99
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Further Recommendations

  • Sale! 11 plus spelling and vocabulary advanced level full series PDF download cover

    11+ Spelling & Vocabulary Advanced Full Series – Books 1-4 (Download)

    £53.99
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  • Sale! ECC Complete Physical Bundle Cover v4

    Examberry Children’s Classics – Complete Collection (Physical)

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  • Sale! 11 plus verbal reasoning boost PDF download full series cover

    10+ & 11+ Verbal Reasoning Boost – Full Series (Download)

    £67.49
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Mock Exams

Find out more about Examberry’s in-person mock exams: please click here.

Tuition

Find out more about Examberry’s in-person and online tuition courses for independent school 11+ preparation: please click here.

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