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In a league of its own: a tale of two cities

Melanie Butler examines two types of London location

So, which is the best value school in London? The answer is easy: Wimbledon School of English. In second place is the London School of English.

These schools have two things in common: they both received perfect scores on their British Council inspection, and they are both located in London villages: the quintessential leafy and historic areas outside the centre where Londoners prefer to live. Wimbledon is, of course, the home of lawn tennis, while riverside Chiswick, the home of the London School’s General English centre, is another historic residential area beloved of British elites.

The UK capital has two main kinds of destination: the centre and the villages (though there are a tiny number of schools in student zones like Camden). When it comes to value for money, the villages are at an advantage – classroom space is cheaper and accommodation is local. However, at the bottom end of the price range, there are more schools in the centre.

Where there are two schools with the same score, the one in a village location is likely to cost less than the one in the centre, as is the case with St Giles Highgate, which is around ten percent cheaper than St Giles Central, though both schools score 12 points.

So, there are two value rankings: one for the villages, where we have data on a total of 14 schools, and one for the centre, where we have data for a total of 24.

Top Value London Villages

  1. Wimbledon School of English
  2. London School of English
  3. St Giles Highgate
  4. West London English School, Ealing
  5. Oxford House College Richmond
  6. TTi Camden (a student zone school)
Wimbledon village

Where the London village ranking is dominated by the high-ranking schools, the results for Central London are far more spread out. Long popular with students for its mix of the historic and the fashionable, the centre has great schools across all price ranges, though interestingly neither of the most expensive schools – those charging £24 an hour or more – make it into the top value list: in London, high cost doesn’t always mean high quality.

Top Value London Central

  1. International House London
  2. Kensington Academy
  3. Oxford House
  4. Delfin
  5. Victoria School of English
  6. St Giles
  7. English Studio
  8. EC London
  9. Frances King
  10. Malvern House
  11. LSI Central
Interior of the British Museum, London

Perhaps the most distinctive difference between London and other major EFL centres, such as Oxford or Manchester, is not the number of great schools it has based on the British Council rankings, but the number of great value schools the city offers at every price point.

Images courtesy of OCTAGON and PIXABAY
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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