It can be a bit of a challenge if you are moving to London with children of school age. Schooling will be of paramount importance, and the fact that children have to attend the school that is closest to where they live, will have an impact on where you decide to live in London. Attending school outside of the catchment area is nearly impossible, and there would need to be very specialized circumstances for a child to be allowed to attend a school in another district.

State Schooling in England

For the most part state schooling in England offers and excellent education and prepares children extremely well for university and college. Over 90% of all children in England are educated through the state school system which is split into four areas of learning and education.

  • Primary Schools: These are schools for children between the ages of five and eleven; they are usually mixed gender and can either be secular schools or based on religious principles. They offer a general education and a well rounded education preparing children for secondary school.
  • Secondary Schools: Children attend secondary (high) school from the age of eleven until the age of sixteen, although some areas offer a middle school which takes pupils from the age of nine until eleven, when they move onto secondary school. Most secondary schools in London are comprehensive, which means that they do not select pupils on academic merit, and they do not stream pupils according to ability. In some parts of London and England there are grammar schools which require pupils to write an entrance exam so that they are placed in classes according to their ability. It is common for families to send their children to a grammar school if they are intending on applying for further and higher education. Pupils normally sit for the GCSE exams in their 16th year, writing up to nine subjects if they are considering continuing on to do their  A-levels
  • Further Education: Although pupils may leave school at the age of sixteen, there is a compulsory two years of A-level education if a pupil is applying for university or college. They usually take 3 subjects in a field that they are intending studying to ready themselves for university standards.

There are a number of schools that are available for children who have special needs, or who require a specialist education. These are also free, but you will have to be sure that you fall into the catchment area to be able to attend one of these schools. Children are assessed at the end of every year, but are only assessed according to National Curriculum Standards at the end of Year 2, Year 6 and Year 9.

State schooling delivers a rounded education and prepares pupils for further education as well as vocationally. Different areas have better or worse schools, so your choice of London rental home should be well thought out if you have children who will be attending school in London.