For students whose families live in the UK, day schools are often the most attractive option. London in particular boasts some of the best and most famous schools in the country. The capital’s day schools tend to top the league tables, and the vast majority of their students continue to the significant proportions of their students to the best British universities. Not only do day schools boast a fantastic standard of education, they also host wonderful grounds and facilities for sports and the arts.
Most students start day school at the age of 11, known as year 7, unlike boarding schools which mostly start at 13. However, many day schools take on more students at 13 years-old and even more so at 16, when sixth form starts. To see how day schools relate to the British education system as a whole, visit our interactive graph.
For the first two years, students study around twelve or subjects, alongside sporting activities twice a week (on average) and music and art. In year 9, students choose their GCSEs: most take the core subjects (English, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics) as well as four or five other personal choices. Generally schools encourage at least one modern language, but otherwise students are free to choose from creative subjects like Art, Music and Design Technology, to traditional humanities like History, Religious Education and Classical Civilisations to more specific subjects like Information Technology and Psychology. For schools which take the International Baccalaureate, children similarly start with a broad and balanced range of subjects.
The success of day schools in the league tables is largely due to the excellent educational environments they provide. Teaching is of the highest quality, with small class sizes which nurture supportive academic communities and encourage students to flourish. School houses, assemblies and prize givings further build this sense of community. In addition to traditional teaching, many schools invite well-known speakers to give talks and arrange school trips, both locally and abroad. In addition, there is excellent support for the university admissions process, with personal statement and interview coaching; at the best London day schools, a significant proportion continue to Oxbridge.
London day schools are among the most competitive in the country. Schools like Westminster, St Paul’s School, City of London School, South Hampstead and Highgate School are heavily oversubscribed, and parents need to begin preparing two to three years in advance.
Applicants are required to sit an exam (normally in January) as well as attend an interview. The exams tend to be English, Maths and verbal and nonverbal reasoning, while the interviews are more informal and try to gauge students’ personalities. Academic, sports, music and art scholarships are available for applicants who excel.
For international students, it is important to note that many of these schools do not sponsor long-term student visas, which thus limits choices.
We understand how overwhelming selecting and applying to day schools can be. Our team of consultants have a wealth of experience in helping students find the right school for them, and supporting them through the application process.
We can provide you with insider information about the idiosyncrasies of each school and arrange tuition, either face to face or over Skype, with a highly-qualified tutor to ensure students are well-prepared before taking the exams. Call us on 0203 397 7744 or send us an enquiry to discuss your options further.