Ofsted rankings: London schools top charts for the most ‘outstanding’ ratings

Over half of Kensington schools - 51.5% - were rated outstanding by Ofsted, data showed.

Eight London boroughs are among the top ten areas in the country with the highest percentage of schools ranked outstanding by inspectors.

The capital has dominated a list of places to live for the best schools in England, according to data from the Department for Education (DfE) and school inspectorate Ofsted.

Kensington and Chelsea; Richmond upon Thames; Harrow; Lambeth; Westminster; Newham; Redbridge; and Hammersmith and Fulham featured in the top ten.

Over half of Kensington schools - 51.5% - were rated outstanding by Ofsted, data showed.

London schools have topped the charts for outstanding Ofsted ratings. Photo: Getty

Kensington councillor and education spokesperson Catherine Faulks said: “I’m exceptionally proud of the education children receive in Kensington and Chelsea and of the brilliant school staff and teachers that give local children the best possible start in life.

“Every credit to the borough’s hard-working children.”

It comes as the government appoints Gillian Keegan as education minister - the fifth politician to take the key cabinet post in four months.

Latest government statistics published in December 2021 found 87% of all schools across the UK were rated good or outstanding.


A fifth of secondary schools received the top ranking, while 58% were deemed good, while 72% of primary schools were rated good and 16% outstanding.

For an outstanding score, inspectors must decide if a school “meets all the criteria for a good quality of education securely and consistently” and offers “exceptional” education quality.

Schools must also:

  • Embed the curriculum’s “intent and implementation” at every level;
  • Teachers must understand the curriculum and contribute to delivering it in lessons;
  • Pupils achieve the curriculum aims and gain knowledge and skills for study and work;
  • Student work is “high quality” throughout the curriculum;
  • Learners “consistently achieve highly”, especially the most disadvantaged. 
  • And pupils with special educational needs or disabilities achieve exceptionally well.
Children playing on a school playground. Photo: Getty

Ofsted says: “Outstanding is a challenging and exacting judgement.

“In order to reach this standard, inspectors will determine whether the school meets all the criteria for good under that judgement, and does so securely and consistently.”

Richmond upon Thames and Harrow placed second and third with 46.4% and 41.5% of schools given the top rating in their most recent inspection.

Rounding off the top five are Lambeth and Westminster, ranking fourth and fifth, with both boroughs having over a third - 35.4% and 34.7% - of their schools rated as outstanding.


While the remaining locations were Trafford, in Greater Manchester, and Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire.

In contrast, the Isle of Wight (IoW), Blackpool, and Dudley ranked lowest - with the IoW having zero of its 45 schools ranked outstanding; and Blackpool and Dudley both at 5.1%.

Data from 150 areas in England was analysed by childcare and education experts Little Ones London (LOL) to establish which areas are most likely to offer a great education.

An LOL spokesperson: “Every parent wants the best education for their children, so living close to good schools is a priority for many families.

“The results from this study offer an intriguing insight into which specific areas of England can offer the best education, with London dominating the list.”

Joanne McCartney, deputy London mayor for children and families, said: “We are proud of the high standards in schools in London and the Ofsted inspections reflect the incredible hard work that our teachers and students are putting in across the capital.

“However, there are still worrying levels of inequalities faced by pupils and communities across London. That's why it's vital that the government continues supporting our schools by investing in our children’s futures and helping to tackle these inequalities so that all young people get the best possible education."