Why is London so particularly competitive? In part it is simple demographics. With a population of 8,546,761 London has grown 16% in a decade, adding a million new people since 2004. There are now 2,117,000 children under the age of 19 in London, and this population is predicted to swell by 13% over the next decade. New school places are simply not being built quickly enough. Entrance to all types of school in London is now highly competitive, with parents scrambling for primary and secondary school places.

The city has the fastest improving state schools in the UK but parents still prefer the private sector. Just 35% of parents in London would choose state schools if money was no object (the lowest percentage in the country).

London state schools are successful at achieving national averages but London parents seek more than average performance. Joint Council for Qualifications data shows that:

  • 8.9% of children in London state schools achieved A* at A-level in 2015.
  • 17.4% of independent school children nationally get the top results.
  • London independent schools do even better. Around 50% of St Paul's pupils consistently get the top A* grade.

There is a stark message here for ambitious London parents. If you want the best results you need to consider independent schools.