Moving to London, made easy.

Moving to London? Learn about the different levels of education,

the British curriculum, and international school options.

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School enrollment and attendance is required for all children living in the UK aged 5 to 16 and all students are entitled to a free education at a state-run school.

Basic education in the UK is divided into four phases:

  • Nursery School: Starting at least two years of age, many children attend a nursery school or a nursery class of a primary school. Nursery school is not compulsory.
  • Primary Education: Similar to elementary school and middle school in the United States,
  • Secondary Education
  • Sixth Form / College: Sixth Form school, sometimes referred to as college, is a two year period of education and results in A-level qualifications. This is equivalent to the 11th and 12th grades in the United States and the resulting high school degree.
  • Higher Education: This typically refers to a university or college. Institutions of higher education charge tuition but fees are capped at £9,000 a year.  

Primary, secondary, and sixth form schools have three terms per school year. The first runs from early September to late December, the second from early January to late March, and the third from mid-April to late July. Each term has a mid-term break and a break at the completion of the term.

These schools will also have certain admission criteria. The criteria could be based on having siblings at the school, living nearby to the school, religious affiliation, or meeting academic standards.


The UK’s public schools follow a standardized national curriculum that covers English, math, science, art and design, computing, design and technology, geography, history, languages, music, and physical education. Independent schools are free to design their own curriculum.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (known as Ofsted) inspects and rates all public schools.


There are dozens of international schools in London that cater to the huge population of expats; most of which serve children aged 3 to 18. Tuition can be staggeringly high, however – the most expensive is nearly £30,000 per year per student.


Locrating – This website lets you search a London neighborhood, see what schools are tgere, and see Oftsed ratings and parent reviews in an easy-to-use format.

Schools Finder –  This resource helps you find a school.

International Schools Service – Directory of international schools around the world, including in London.

Coursera –  Online resource for building skills with courses, certificates, and degrees from world-class universities and companies.

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