Schools & Nurseries

Know Your Child. Understand the System. Choose Better.

Should you like assistance guiding you through the British School system (both state and private including help for children whose needs are complex), Magus Education can help you. After helping parents navigate the education system for years through NW8-mums, Karin set up Magus Education, separate from NW8-mums. We offer workshops, individual consultations and placement services for private as well as 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 a school or nursery you found listed here.

Karin: ‘Many people in St John’s Wood, including my husband and I, didn’t grow up in the UK. To so many parents, the education system is confusing and overwhelming; it is hard to know how it works, what to do, when to do it and even where to look.

The process can feel overwhelming and daunting if you are a foreigner (regardless of how long you have lived in the U.K.). However, in all my years of helping parents, I have found that many British-born parents, including those who grew up in the U.K., also find it a challenge and especially if they grew up outside of London. London is very much its own bubble when it comes to education. There are also many myths around which often send parents into unnecessary panic.

If you are new to the UK, the first thing to remember is that the majority of children start their formal schooling during what is referred to as Reception; the year when they turn 4. The cut-off day between school years is on the 1st September. So, if your child was born on the 31st August, they will be the youngest in the year, and if were they born on the 1st September, they will be the oldest. Reception is often referred to as a 4+ start. My daughter was born in April and started reception at the age of 4+. Hopefully that makes sense.

I could write a book about schools and education here and there is of course a lot more to it than what you will find on this page, but hopefully the information here will be a good start.

There are way too many nurseries and schools to mention here, however, if you would like professional help from me or my colleagues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on’

Karin 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 or state school sector or a combination route. Please note that private school fees can be astronomical.

Day Care Nurseries

If you are looking for a day care nursery that can take children from quite young b_together nursery, Keren’s Nursery, La Petite Nursery, Bright Horizons – St John’s Wood Nursery & Preschool, Bright Horizons JW3 Finchley Road (previously known as Active Learning), LEYF Carlton Hill Nursery & Pre-School and Marylebone Nursery & Pre-School (formerly known as Tresham Community Nursery) are all options within St John’s Wood or nearby.

Not too far away, you can also find Merchant Square Day Nursery (close to Paddington) and Abacus Ark (on the 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 Westminster or Camden Councils.

Phileas fox nursery school
b_together nursery

Nursery Schools

The daycare nurseries mentioned further up on this page are quite different from nursery schools which usually start between ages 2- 3+ and which help prepare your child for starting proper school. One thing to note is that nursery schools tend to 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.

Many nursery schools call themselves Montessori pre-schools or nurseries, however not that many are Montessori accredited, so please make sure you do your research if you are after a ‘purist’ Montessori pre-school or nursery. To learn more about the Montessori method, please click here.

The Good School’s Guide is very useful and gives you information about a variety of schools. Read it, but most importantly go and visit any setting you have in mind. It isn’t till you go in person that you can get a proper feel for a place.

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. Some schools start at 7+ entry or have an additional entry at 7+ or 8+, and for senior/secondary schools you are looking at the 11+ or 13+ exams.

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, The Harris Academy St John’s Wood (previously called Quintin Kynastin School/QK) and UCL Academy (situated by Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre).

The application process for the state schools differs from the private school application process. Below are links to Westminster and Camden Councils where you can find out more about the schools and how the application process works.

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, there are many more things to be aware of, so always check the admissions’ criteria for each school.

my family on the school run

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.

Private Schools

Below is a list of some private schools nearby and popular with parents in St John’s Wood. This list is by no means exhaustive.


saint christina’s school





Sign Up for Our Newsletters

If you would like to keep in touch with NW8-mums and receive newsletters, please fill in your details below.