Schools & Nurseries

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Know Your Child. Understand the System. Choose Better.

Should you like assistance guiding you through the British School system (both state and private), Magus Education can help you. After helping parents navigate the education system for years through NW8-mums, I set up Magus Education together with three other amazing women all of whom are mothers. We offer workshops and individual consultations. We also work with corporate clients. If you would like to know more, please have a look at our website and should you need any help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on

Some General Thoughts and Tips

Please note that NW8-mums has no affiliation with any nursery or school. NW8-mums are not to be held responsible should you not be happy with anything listed here. Things change quickly and although I do my utmost to keep track of everything, I am not a superhuman.

Many people in St John’s Wood, including my husband and I, didn’t grow up in the UK. To most of us foreigners, the education system is confusing and many are not sure how it works, what to do, when to do it and even where to look. My husband and I certainly belonged to this group, but we were lucky enough to have quite a few friends whose children had already started school, and we had lots of help and advice from them.

The process can be quite confusing both if you are a foreigner (regardless of how long you have been in the country), but also if you come from here and went to your local primary school. London is very much its own bubble when it comes to education.

If you are new to the UK, remember children start reception during the year they turn four, and the cut off day between school years is 1 September. So, if your child was born 31 August, they will be the youngest in the year, and if were they born on 1 September, they will be the oldest. My daughter was born in April and started reception at the age of 4+. I hope that makes sense.

I could write a book about this and there is a lot more to it all, but hopefully this is a start. I have gone through the process myself with my daughter who is now well into the system, and we are currently going through it again with our son.

There are way too many schools to mention here, however, if you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and my colleagues on



I wrote a piece for leading online parenting magazine MyBaba on what questions to ask when visiting a nursery school. Click HERE to read my article.


As a first step: look into and decide if you want to/can go through the private, state school or a combination route. Please note that private school fees can be astronomical. If you opt for the private system, it is worth noting that some nursery schools run out of spaces before your child has even reached the age of a couple of months! I am NOT joking. However, the good news about being in London is that it is such a transient place and things can change.


Day Care Nurseries

If you are looking for a day care nursery that can take children from quite young, Bright Horizons – St John’s Wood Nursery & Preschool, Active Learning and Carlton Hill Community Nursery are options within St John’s Wood or nearby. Nearby, you can also find Merchant Square Nursery (close to Paddington) and Abacus Ark (Maida Vale/Kilburn border). In a normal day care nursery, your child can often start from as early as 3+ months old, and timings are typically from around 7 am till 6.30 pm which can be a good option for those families where both parents work.

There are more nurseries than these mentioned above and for an up-to-date full list, check with the Citizens Advice Bureau, Westminster or Camden Councils.

Nursery Schools

The daycare nurseries mentioned above are quite different from nursery schools which usually start between ages 2,5 and 3,5, and they help prepare your child for starting proper school. One thing to note is that nursery schools operate on a normal school term basis which means there are many weeks in the year when your child will be off on various school breaks.


There are several nursery schools calling themselves Montessori Schools, however not that many are Montessori accredited, so please make sure you do your research if you are after a ‘purist’ Montessori school/nursery.

The Good School’s Guide gives you information about a variety of schools. Read it, but most importantly, go and visit the schools and nursery schools themselves. Very often, it isn’t till you go in person that you can get a proper feel for them.


Private System

All private schools, including nursery schools, have different dates and procedures for application. Many private schools assess children between the age of 3 and 4. Competition is fierce. You also need to think about whether you would like your child to go through the 7+ exams or the 11+/13+ exams. To make things even more confusing, many of the pre-tests for boys take place at the 11+ stage.

State Schools

Further down are links to state schools within the borough of Westminster and Camden. Those in St John’s Wood are Robinsfield Primary School, George Eliot Primary School, Barrow Hill School and The Harris Academy (previously Quintin Kynastin School/QK).

The application process for the state schools differs from the private school application process. You usually apply in January of the same year your child is due to start reception. Below are links to Westminster and Camden Councils where you can find out more about the schools and how the application process works.;jsessionid=0DB6A3A4883945DF7B117893C62F56C0

There are some faith schools such as St Saviour’s Primary School in Little Venice/Maida Vale and St Joseph’s Catholic School in Maida Vale. These are also popular and to have any chance of getting a spot, you need to go to church. However, there are many more things to be aware of, so always check the criteria for each school.


More information about private nurseries and schools

Below are a number of nurseries, nursery schools and schools that are either in or close to St John’s Wood. There are of course several more.

Nursery Schools – a few local ones

The Liberal Jewish Nursery School (LJS)

Toddlers Inn

Broadhurst School

Ready Steady Go 

The Maria Montessori Children’s House

Casa dei Bambini Montessori School

St John’s Wood Synagogue Kindergarden Nursery

Phileas Fox Mulitlingual Nursery School

St John’s Wood Pre-Prep School

Tigerlilies Pre-School

Windmill Nursery School

Little Sweethearts Montessori School

Keren’s Nursery

Kido International Nursery & Pre-School

La Petite Nursery

Les Petits Bellots (creche)



Private Schools

Below is a link to the private schools in the borough of Westminster and the names of some private schools in/around St John’s Wood.



Girls Only – just a few local-ish ones


Boys Only – just a few local-ish ones

Co-ed/Mixed – just a few local-ish ones



Girls Only


Boys Only





This list is by no means exhaustive and things change, but it is a start.

Children with Special Needs

Abingdon House School – the school now goes from age 5-18 and offer GCSE, Btec and Asdan (life skills exams). It’s an amazing bespoke small school offering one to one therapy while letting the children take the curriculum at their own pace.

Swiss Cottage SEN School – this school opened in 2014 and offers schooling to children with severe issues. Not only does it cater for children with a range of special needs, but it is also a training school as well as caters to helping other schools.