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The historic village of Barnes, nestled on the banks of the River Thames, is a popular location for families. The highly desirable area feels set apart from the hustle and bustle of the city, bordered by the river itself on three sides. Yet its prime South West London location gives easy access to the city itself.
Its transport links work to its advantage, offering a straightforward commute. There are two mainline train stations, Barnes Bridge and Barnes. Barnes Railway Station is a Grade II listed station, just 7 miles downline from London Waterloo. It takes less than half an hour to travel into central London from these stations. There is no dedicated Underground stop for Barnes. The nearest is East Putney, around 2 miles away. The village is regularly served by buses, from which commuters can alight at Hammersmith for the Underground or one of the many excellent schools.
For families moving to Barnes, one of the main draws is the high concentration of exceptional schools, both state and private. With Chiswick to the west, Fulham to the east and Hammersmith to the north, Barnes is well placed for a number of highly regarded schools. For this reason, Barnes often attracts families from other affluent London neighbourhoods.
If you’re looking for schools in Barnes, we have put together a guide to some of the best here to help you start your search. When it comes to independent schools, there really is the pick of the very best in London within a couple of miles of Barnes.
Located within Barnes itself are two very highly regarded private schools. The first is St Paul’s School (including St Paul’s Juniors), which caters for boys aged 7-18. This school has been leading the way academically for over 500 years, having been founded in 1509. As such, admission requires both an entrance examination and interview. The school only accepts boys who are highly able and committed.
Second, The Harrodian is set on a huge 25-acre estate on the banks of the river in Barnes. This is a high-achieving school that accepts both boys and girls from 4-18. The school is split into Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior/Sixth, but it aims to retain a close-knit community between the different ages.
For girls, St Paul’s Girls in Hammersmith is one of the country’s leading independent girls’ schools. The school was founded in 1904 as one of the first schools placing an importance on educating young women to fulfil their potential. It offers a broad and varied curriculum, and values creativity, the arts and sport.
Also in Hammersmith is Godolphin and Latymer, which was named the Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020. It is a school for girls aged 11-18, offering a wide range of both curricular and extra-curricular activities.
For a co-educational experience, Laymer Upper has consistently excellent academic results. It has been around for 400 years, with a strong ethos of social inclusivity from the very beginning. There is also Ibstock Place in nearby Roehampton, as well as Putney High School for girls in Putney Hill.
For families moving to Barnes with younger children, there is an equally exceptional choice when it comes to primary and preparatory schools. Most are located just outside Barnes, in the neighbouring areas of Putney, Mortlake, East Sheen, Hammersmith and Richmond.
Falcons School for Girls is a small family school that focuses not only on academic achievements, but on emotional wellbeing too. Incorporated into the school is Peregrines Nursery School, which offers provision for children from 2-4, helping prepare them for the transition to school. The Falcons Pre-Preparatory School for Boys is located in Chiswick for pre-Reception and Reception aged children. It also offers a limited number of places in Year 1 and Year 2, and is linked with the Falcons Prep School in Richmond.
Hurlingham Nursery and Prep-Prep became part of the Hurlingham family of schools in 2017, with the main school situated in Putney. The pre-prep offers nursery provision from the term after a child turns 2. Attendance at the pre-prep guarantees a place in the main school at age 4, however there is also the option to follow a 7+ pathway if a different school option is preferred.
Another popular option with Barnes residents is Tower House School, which only has 180 boys in Reception through to Year 8. The school aims to nurture its students to achieve academic excellence, as well as thoroughly prepare them for top senior day or boarding schools.
There are some well-regarded state schools in the Barnes area. Barnes Primary School has been serving the community since it was founded in 1903 and has a good reputation in the area. Other state primary schools popular with local families include St Osmund’s Catholic Primary, St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary and Lowther Primary School.
The nearest state secondary school to Barnes is Richmond Park Academy, which promises an inclusive and dynamic co-educational experience. Otherwise, there is Ashcroft Technology Academy in nearby Wandsworth, which was marked Outstanding at its last OFSTED inspection. It also offers the option to study for the International Baccalaureate instead of A-Levels.
We’ve only covered a small number of the many good schools in Barnes. The Independent Schools Council has a useful search engine for private schools, listing all of the ones in Barnes and the neighbouring areas.