The American School in London

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The American School in London
The American School in London logo.png
United Kingdom
Type International school
Established 1951
Grades K–12
Enrollment 1,350
Color(s) Orange and Black
Mascot Eagle
Alumni 12,653
Head of School Coreen Ruiz Hester

The American School in London is an international, private, independent K-12 school in St John's Wood, London, England for students aged between 4 and 18 years. Established in 1951 by journalist Stephen Eckard, it is the oldest American school in the city and the only non-profit American school in England. As of September 2006, the school has an enrollment of 1,344 students.

ASL is situated on 3.5 acres (14,000 m2) in central London, and maintains 21 acres (85,000 m2) of playing fields nearby.

The school follows an American structure and is organised into three departments: the lower, middle and high schools. Although the majority of students hold American citizenship, the school has a strong international flavour with over 50 countries represented. The school functions as an important cultural centre for American families in London and maintains close links with the American Embassy.[citation needed]

The American School in London welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama for a visit during the 2008-2009 school year.

ASL has been reviewed by the online Good Schools Guide International.[1]

A 2013 Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, a British Government department) inspection report found that ASL was outstanding in all fields. The school has a reputation as being one of the most selective institutions based on admissions, and is notorious for its waiting lists; saturated by demand.[2]


ASL was founded in 1951 by Stephen Eckard, an American journalist and former teacher living in London.

Within half a year, the School had become so popular that three teachers were hired and it was moved to a more spacious property in Chelsea. An alumnus of ASL in its early years remembered Mr. Eckard wearing many hats: "Headmaster, counselor, teacher, administrator, even bus driver – Mr. Eckard did it all."

The School continued to grow, moving first to a large house in Grosvenor Square and then adding two houses in Gloucester Gate and four houses in York Terrace. Students played sports at Regent's Park and on the lawn of Winfield House, the residence of the US ambassador.

The first High School graduation was held in 1960.

In 1964, the newly formed Board of Trustees made the decision to raise funds for a $7 million building to house the whole School. They broke ground in 1968 with the help of Ambassador David K. E. Bruce. The cornerstone was laid two years later by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. The Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher, MP, then Secretary of State for Education and Science, spoke at the building’s dedication in 1971.

In September 2000, the School opened a new High School wing, which included an additional 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2) of space, a new gym, art studios, computer labs and a renovated library.

In June 2006, the School broke ground on the School Center for Education and the Arts, to create a 450-seat theater and new flexible teaching and performance space. The Center was completed in the Winter of 2007 and officially opened in March 2008.

Mission statement[edit]

The mission statement of the school, developed by the school's Board and administration in the late 2000s as a means to refocus and encapsulate the goal of the institution, is: "Our mission is to develop the intellect and character of each student by providing an outstanding American education with a global perspective."[3]


ASL is housed on 3.5 acres (14,000 m2) in central London, and maintains 22 acres (89,000 m2) of playing fields.

In addition to 80 classrooms, the School has 17 computer centers; nine science labs; five music rooms; five art studios; a photography darkroom; recording studio; a state-of-the-art language lab; two libraries with a total of 50,000 volumes; two gyms; and two playgrounds. The School Center for Education and the Arts was renovated in 2007, and seats 450 people.


Tuition fees for 2013-14 school year:

K1–Grade 4 £21,950

Grades 5–12 £25,650 [4]

Tuition covers textbooks, laboratory fees and all required activities except for the Music Tour for band, orchestra and choir members. There is an additional fee for the support program for students with specific learning difficulties (SLD), which is £3,150 (the fee for High School students receiving half-time support at two times per cycle is £1,575.) There are occasional additional expenses—usually travel—associated with some Middle and High school classes. Tuition does not include expenses for trips related to extracurricular activities such as athletics, Model UN or service learning.

The school has a need-based financial-aid program, employing forms and analysis based on those used by the School and Student Service (SSS) for Financial Aid in the US. Interested families should contact the admissions office.

Accreditation and memberships[edit]

The American School in London is accredited by the United States Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the European Council of International Schools. It also belongs to the National Association of Independent Schools and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.


The school's mascot is an Eagle. The rugby team is called the Pirates, renamed after a mishap with team jerseys in the 1980s forced the team to sew on skull and cross-bone patches when their eagle patches did not arrive in time for the team's championships. The name was kept out of team pride and as a symbol of defiance towards the athletic department, as the team felt disregarded and under-funded relative to the school's more popular football (soccer) team.[5]

Heads of School[edit]

  • Stephen Eckard, founder, head of school 1951-1971
  • Jack Harrison, head of school 1971-1986
  • William E. Harris, head of school 1986-1991
  • William Greenham, interim head of school 1991-1992
  • Judith L. Glickman, head of school 1992-1998
  • William C. Mules, head of school 1998-2007
  • Coreen R. Hester, head of school 2007-

Notable Students[edit]

The school has gained a reputation for sending students to elite private colleges and universities, including those within the Ivy League as well as institutions accredited within the U.S. News & World Report "Best College" rankings. The alumni base predominantly has elected to study in the U.S.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°32′05″N 0°10′36″W / 51.5348°N 0.1766°W / 51.5348; -0.1766