independent education advice for all your schooling needs

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At The School Gates is an independent education consultancy, which guides parents through every aspect of school and university selection.

We have an in-depth knowledge of the UK education system and provide advice about both state and independent schools, including boarding schools.

We work with families relocating to the UK, or within it, and with families whose children have reached natural points of transition, from primary to secondary, from day to boarding, from school to university.

We also offer a bespoke university admissions service.


At The School Gates offers genuinely independent advice (we receive no commission from any school) and our extensive knowledge and wide range of contacts mean we can provide an objective view of the right school for your child.



This service starts with an initial consultation to learn as much as possible about the family’s priorities and, in turn, provide them with an overview of their educational choices. In this conversation, we discuss the child’s background and suitability for particular schools.

This service includes:

  • Initial consultation
    This consultation generally takes place in a mutually agreed location in central London, but can also be carried out on the telephone or by Skype.
  • School search
    Schools are identified which meet the child’s needs, where places are potentially available.
  • A report
    Within ten days of the meeting the family receives a full written report detailing schools we feel would be the best fit for the child.
  • Schedule of school visits
    A schedule of school visits is arranged and advice is given about any necessary preparation for testing and interviews.
  • Further telephone and email guidance until a school is chosen
    We continue to liaise with schools and families until the child is settled in a school the family is happy with.


This service works best for families already familiar with the English education system but looking for schools to meet specific requirements. It is often used by those planning several years in advance, looking at a move to secondary school, for example, or a move from a day school to a boarding school.

This service includes:

  • Initial consultation
    This consultation - with parents and, where relevant, with the child - provides an overview of the education choices available. It can take place in a mutually agreed location in central London, on the telephone or by Skype.
  • Full written report
    This report provides the family with essential information about why specific schools are likely to suit their child. It acts as a strategy document, enabling them to proceed with the assurance that they are well informed about their options.
  • Follow-up advice
    After the family has received the report, they are free to contact us by telephone or email at any time until their child is settled in a school they are happy with.

University Advice

The UK has the highest concentration of leading universities in the world outside the US, but finding the right course and the right university can still be a challenge.

At The School Gates provides expert advice on university and subject choice, as well as guidance on preparing personal statements and other necessary documentation for a successful application.

As well as those applying for a first degree, we work with post-graduates looking to further their studies in a pre-Masters or taught Masters.

This service includes:

  • Initial face-to face interview with the student
    In this we discuss their interests, achievements and aspirations and how these relate to a choice of subject and university.
  • Follow-up report
    This report outlines appropriate courses with details of entry requirements at individual universities.
  • Advice on how to construct a personal statement
  • Two edits of the personal statement


When applying to university, the personal statement is one of the most important means to convey why an applicant wishes to study a specific course at a specific university. Most students have little experience of this form of writing, and guidance about what to include and how to construct a statement can often make a significant difference in helping their application stand out in a competitive field.

This service includes:

  • Initial one-to-one interview on the telephone or on Skype
  • Advice on how to construct a personal statement
  • Two edits of the personal statement


We offer an hour-long telephone consultation to help with focused queries. This service might, for example, be used to weigh up the choice between two or three different schools or to discuss the implications of different exam systems.


Dr Lisa Freedman
Founder & Director at the school gates

Dr Lisa Freedman, BA, MA, PhD, is an experienced education consultant and analyst, who writes regularly about the English education system in the national press.

She attended school in Canada and London, and holds a PhD in education from the UCL Institute of Education, the world’s leading centre for education research. Her understanding of the English education system has also been informed by her experience as a parent. She has two sons, who have attended both state and independent schools, going on to leading universities in the UK at both undergraduate and post-graduate level.

In 2005, she set up the well-regarded education consultants, At the School Gates, to help families find appropriate schools in the UK. Due to the increasing demand from older students, in 2016, she launched University in the UK,, which offers expert, tailor-made advice on applying to university in the UK at undergraduate and graduate level.

For more information, please click here.


Emma Storey
Founder & Managing Director Bespoke Tuition

Bespoke Tuition was founded in London in 2010 by Emma Storey, previously a full-time tutor in London, Hong Kong, France, Monaco and Switzerland.

A BSc graduate of Durham University, Emma has delivered hourly tuition, residential tuition and home schooling to students preparing for entrance to top UK and US schools (for exams such as 11+, 13+ and SSAT). She understands the importance of a well-matched tutor and places great emphasis on finding ‘the right tutor’ to complement each student.

Having grown Bespoke Tuition organically, she now acts as an agent for her exclusive team of hand-picked academic tutors and mentors, ensuring the highest standards of personalised tuition.

Bernadette John
Founder & Director of schools Advice Service

Bernadette John is director of the Schools Advice Service, an organisation which specialises in finding school places for children with special educational needs and advising parents on SEN support in schools.

She has worked in the SEN world for more than 20 years advising and advocating for parents of SEN children, as well as aiding government pathfinder organisations to establish local SEN services. She has first-hand experience of SEN, having raised a son with special needs.


If you would like further information about our services
or to arrange a consultation please get in touch via email or phone
Alternatively, please feel free to use the contact form below.

+44 (0)20 8341 6463