Category : expat kids

Relocating from the U.S. to London? Top schools.

US UK flags

If you are relocating from the USA to London, you may want your child to continue in the American education system or to move to a British or an international school.  Read our tips below for a smooth education transition, based on your London location.  

1. Living in Central London

If you plan to live in Central London, the American School in London (ASL), will be one of your first choices.

ASL is a long-established American school in St John’s Wood, with excellent facilities.
American school London ASLASL follows the US curriculum, taking children from 4 all the way to 18.   The 50 different nationalities represented at the school give it a truly global outlook, whilst at the same time focusing on providing an American education.  An added advantage is the buses which pick kids up from their homes every morning.

The school has been rated “outstanding” across the board by Ofsted and places a high percentage of students in Ivy League universities.   ASL is over-subscribed with a high demand for places, so it is advisable to apply to several other schools just in case.

ACS Hillingdon, an American School outside London, operates a bus service from central locations such as St John’s Wood, Kensington,  Marylebone and Notting Hill.  ACS Hillingdon offers both the traditional American High School Diploma and the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma as well as the US Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

In Westminster, Central London, Southbank International school is a great option, offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.

British curriculum schools in central London include the co-educational Eaton Square, Mayfair and all girls Queen’s Collegeboth of which are experienced in catering for expat families and children moving from the US to the UK system.

2. Living in West London

If you plan to live in West London, the International School of London (ISL), provides a welcoming environment for expat families.  Like Southbank and the ACS schools, ISL teaches the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.  The IB is  seen by some as an easier transition for children moving from the US education system.  ISL has two campuses- one catering for children up to 16 years in Chiswick and a second catering for kids from 16- 18 years in Ealing.

3.  Living in Richmond, Surrey 

If you plan to live outside London, RichmondRichmond, Surrey in Surrey is a popular family area with lots of green spaces and close proximity to the river.  ACS Cobham and ACS Egham should be at the top of your list.   A shuttlebus service operates via Richmond and other Surrey areas to ACS Egham.  Similarly the shuttlebus for ACS Cobham picks up students living in Esher, Guildford and Weybridge.  Both schools offer the traditional American curriculum and the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.  ACS Cobham also teaches US Advanced Placement (AP) courses.  The ACS schools welcome students from over 100 countries and are experienced in catering for expat families.  As well as being academically outstanding, they offer excellent drama, music and sporting opportunities.

For more information on international schools in London, read our blogs on French schools and Arabic schools.   

Please contact us for expert support with applications to both international and British schools in London and throughout the UK.



Schools in Chelsea: Garden House School

sloane square chelsea

Whether you are already living in Chelsea, or relocating to this popular family area in South West London, you should consider Garden House School for your children.

Garden House offers the best of both worlds: a single-sex education in a co-educational school.   The high level of pastoral care and the warm, cosy atmosphere means that  your little ones will soon feel at home.  The small classes, dedicated staff and classical music playing at the start of each day, make for a calm, purposeful environment.Garden House prep school

The school is selective but looks for potential and spark rather than just academic ability.  Approximately two thirds of boys leave at eight, primarily to top London preps like Westminster Under and Sussex House.   Girls leave at 11, some to board at Wycombe Abbey and St Mary’s Ascot, whilst Francis Holland, Sloane Square is popular choice for day girls.

Garden House is academically first class.  But so too are the school’s extra curricula activities.  Staff want every child to find out what they excel in, and the 55 clubs that the school runs give them the opportunity to do just that.

Please contact us for expert support in finding the best London prep, secondary or boarding school for your child. 

Supporting your expat child’s education

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Planning a relocation with your family? One of your priorities will be planning your children’s education.  .

As parents, we want to support our children’s transition to a new school and to give our children every opportunity to excel academically  homeschooling

If you choose to send your children to school, it’s best to do your research before your overseas move.   Starting a new school can be overwhelming.  However, in a country where everything this new and different, it can be more difficult for kids to settle in.

See our tips below on how to get them off to a positive start in their new school and home.

Select the right school    

Choosing a school near your home will ensure that your child builds friendships with local children.

International schools will usually ensure that children are taught in their first language.  They can also give your child the opportunity to follow a familiar cultural-programmeseducation system.  This can be great for continuity.

If you’re staying in new country permanently and are keen to encourage interaction with the local children, you may want to consider a more integrated approach and chose a local school.

Talk about their feelings

An overseas move can be overwhelming for parents too. reassuring child 2 Setting aside time to chat with your child about his or her feelings can really help.  If they mention any worries or concerns, you can come up with solutions to help the to feel more secure.

Look for after school clubs

Research after school clubs in your area.  Getting your child involved in sport, music or drama can help them to develop confidence and to nurture friendships outside school.  You could also consider expat meet-ups to give you and your family a chance to relax with families in a similar situation.

Don’t be anxious about grades

For an expat family, the main focus will be ensuring that they settle into their new schools and forge bonds with local children.  New curricula and the general upheaval of a move may mean that grades drop, but your child will have plenty of time to catch up.  Once your family is settled, you may consider private tuition to help boost your child’s confidence.

Have a party

Once you and your child have made a few connections, throw a housewarming party. This is a great chance for you and your family to strengthen your burgeoning friendships.  A party with his or her new friends will also help your child to feel more self-assured.

For expert support in selecting the best school or private tutor for your child, please contact us

For more information on international schools in London, read our blogs on AmericanFrench  and Arabic schools.

Top Girls’ Schools in London


Girls Schools in London offer an excellent academic education.   Living in London, or relocating here?  

Many education experts believe that girls’ only education is best for girls.  This will, of course, depend on your daughter and the best environment for her.   To help with your choice,  see five of our top picks below:

Central London

City of London School for Girls city of london school for girls

A rising star, City of London School for Girls gets an of average 30% of its pupils into Oxbridge.  Plus its location in the heart of the City, and opposite the Barbican centre, enables girls to access the lifeblood of the capital’s cultural and academic life.

For high-achieving girls, from all backgrounds and walks of life (23% receive some form of assistance with fees), this school also excels in Sport, Music and Drama.  If your daughter is super academic, put this school on your list.

 Queens College  

Queen’s College is on the up. 110

One of the school’s key attractions has been the focus on each individual girls and the encouragement of every pupil to tread her own path.  But now, the academic results are rising with a record number of girls gaining Oxbridge places.  The warm, friendly atmosphere, small classes  and excellent pastoral care make this one of our top picks for London families.

North London

 South Hampstead High School

Part of the excellent Girls Days School Trust (GDST), which manages 24 all girls’ schools in London and the wider UK, including Kensington Prep.   Fantastic academically, pupils thrive both intellectually and emotionally and excel in Music, Art and Drama.   Teaching is first-class and results are outstanding with top 10 university destinations including Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Bristol and UCL.

North London Collegiate

Regularly topping the league tables, North London feels  less like a traditional British public school  and more like an outstanding, but unpretentious state girls’ grammar school. north london collegiate


It is able to select from the cream of North London’s clever girls and to attract the very best teachers.   In 2017, 45 girls were offered places at either Oxford or Cambridge, with 100% of students who applied receiving offers from Russell Group institutions. In addition, 17  pupils received offers to study at Ivy League US universities.

West London

 St Pauls’ Girls School

st paul's girls' school

Parents hope for a place at Bute House Prep School, as a high percentage of Bute House girls gain places at St Pauls’. Renowned for its outstanding academic results and highly liberal ethos (there are few rules and no uniform, for example), 41 girls were offered places at Oxbridge in 2017.  Moreoever, Music, Art and Sport are very strong with over 100 extra- curricular clubs and societies enabling girls to explore their individual interests.  A top choice for very academic girls.

Do you need specialist advice on finding the best school for your daughter?  Our experts can help.

Please contact us to book a consultation. 


For more on girls’ schools, read our blog post Here on the merits of an all girls’ education 



Moving from the American to the British education system

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Relocating from the US to the UK?  Moving between education systems can be stressful for children.  Despite the differences between the American and British education systems, students can move successfully from one to the other.  Planning carefully is the key to a smooth transition. 

  1. The Early Years

The difference between the two early years approaches can be a culture shock for younger children. 

For children from aged 4 upwards, the mainstream UK system is focused on learning to read and write at a young age.  primary school children Children start school aged four in the Reception class, although some schools now offer more flexibility with a starting age of five.  Alternatively, you can opt for a Steiner or Montessori school in the early years, both of which offer a gentler approach and teach reading later:  the Steiner system does not teach children to read until they are seven.  These schools are mostly private.

In contrast, in the US system children are eased into academic studies, and there is a strong emphasis on socialisation in addition to fostering basic English and maths skills.  From kindergarten to Grade 3, children the academic foundations which are further developed during Grade 4.

2. High School:  Assessments and Testing

As the US and UK have a shared language, it is often assumed that the education systems in the two countries are broadly similar.  Children moving from US to UK schools need to be prepared for the fact that the UK has more nationally-assessed Bennett-Education-Table_12146_t5 US UK equivalent school years 2018exams to contend with.  In the US, although children are assessed at the end of every school grade, the examinations are not national and for the most part, have little bearing on their progression from year to year.  The standardized tests in the U.S. tend to be state mandated instead of federally mandated.  In New York, many high school students take the “Regents” exams which test the core subjects- but the exam system will vary from state to state.  Therefore, GCSE and A level exams are a culturally different experience for US children.

3. Generalist versus Specialist 

In addition, the US system is more generalist whereas the UK is more specialist.  In US schools, as in the French Baccalauréat, students have more opportunity to study a wider range of subjects for their High School Diploma.  There is more focus on sport, music, drama and art and as a result, a move to the UK can seem restrictive at first to US students.  Mathematics in both countries is also taught very differently and this must be taken into consideration when settling a US family into a UK school.

Culturally, children in US schools tend to be praised more- which is a positive attribute.   Children who have previously studied in the US system should be prepared for the fact that recognition of achievement in UK schools can be less effusive.

Finding a school that is willing to support the student’s adjustment, academically, emotionally and socially, is vital.   Please contact us for expert support with applications to schools in London and throughout the UK.

Read more about American schools in London. 

See our key points to consider when choosing a London school.

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