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Rich in capital city charm and southern hospitality, Richmond, VA, has much to offer families and kids of all ages. One survey ranks Virginia as the 4th best in the U.S. for overall education quality and the 4th lowest for bullying incidents. Broadly, Virginia schools are some of the safest in the nation.
Richmond has 435 schools, with 105 of them public district schools. There are 342 preschools, 163 elementary schools, 89 middle schools, and 70 high schools. Richmond also has 2 Public Charter Schools. Choosing the best school can seem overwhelming, especially in a Capitol City landscape where something is always happening. Not to worry. This guide gets the search started.
Interested in other Richmond guides? Check out our guides to living in Richmond, below
Finding the best schools in Richmond, VA
With over 300 schools for kids from kindergarten through twelfth grade, most are private schools. Finding the best private school may be time-consuming, given the number. Nonetheless, asking a few key questions should make the decision easier.
- How does the school fit into your local neighborhood? Publicity of any kind might be distracting. How is the school’s local reputation?
- What are the high school graduation rates?
- How do student proficiency scores compare to other schools?
This guide did some of the research you’ll need ahead of time, so you save time for your search. Now, on to the guide.
How are public schools in Richmond, VA?
Richmond’s public schools have ground to make up in the reading and math proficiency ratings. According to U.S News and World Report, 54 percent of elementary students read at or better than the proficiency level. This complements the 61 percent math proficiency for elementary school students. The numbers for middle school students drop to 52 and 47 percent, respectively but rise to 75 and 64 for high school students.
Compared to urban schools from surrounding communities, Richmond City Public Schools have a greater student-to-teacher ratio of 19 to 1 versus the state average of 14 to 1. Richmond’s public schools are some of the most diverse in the country, providing students of all ages the opportunity to experience other cultures.
Because Richmond is the state capital, there are several opportunities for civic-minded students who want to get into public service. From an urban setting with advanced AP classes to joining 4H and other rural/suburban school clubs, Richmond’s opportunities and diverse cultures prepare students for real-world situations.
How do schools in the Richmond urban landscape compare to suburban schools?
Generally, expect public school education to improve as you move away from the capital area. For example, Niche gives Innsbrook an A+ with top reviews and a grade of A for its public schools. Many Richmond suburbs have similar grades. Even the medium suburb of Tuckahoe comes in with an A- rating.
Richmond, VA, high school graduation rates
Statewide, Virginia’s high school graduation rate was 92.1 percent in 2022, higher than the previous two years before the pandemic. School districts surrounding the Richmond Public School District have higher graduation rates. Richmond city schools only graduated 67 percent of students in 2022.
Among the 54 public schools in the Richmond City Public Schools School District, reading proficiency is 47 percent versus 70 percent statewide. Math proficiency is 33 percent in the district and 54 percent statewide.
Top-rated public schools in Richmond, VA
With about 1.25 million people living in the Richmond, VA, metropolitan area, there are hundreds of public and private schools. As a central capital region, Richmond provides learning opportunities rural kids might not have access to.
Best Elementary Schools in Richmond, VA
Best Middle Schools in Richmond, VA
Best High Schools in Richmond, VA
What private schools are in Richmond, VA?
There are several private schools in the Richmond, VA, area. From small high schools with under 50 students (Brook Road Academy) to larger schools with over 1,500 PK-12 students (Collegiate School), there’s something for all student skill levels and club/sports activities.
The 2023 school year in Richmond, VA will see 23 private high schools with just over 5,000 students open their doors. The top-rated private high schools are Buford Road Christian Academy, Banner Christian School, and Trinity Episcopal School.
Richmond has 45 private elementary schools with just over 8,200 students. Top-rated schools Buford Road Christian Academy and Trinity Episcopal School also have high school students. Richmond Waldorf School enrolls middle and elementary students in grades first through eighth.
There are more than thirty private pre-schools in the Richmond area. Westhampton Day School and St. Edward-epiphany School are two of the top-rated preschools. Finally, The Grand Magnolia School is one of the smallest, with only eight students enrolled for 2023.
What are suburban Richmond, VA, schools like?
Like other capital cities, Richmond has a population and urban center focused on state government. This adds vibrance to the region, particularly for young adults who are public service orientated. Thus, the schools get better when families move to the suburbs.
What suburbs have particularly good school systems?
The suburbs surrounding Richmond have some of the best schools in the region. Many suburban schools rank among the top ten for safety and academics. Innsbruck, Short Pump, and Whydham suburbs received A+ ratings. Wyndham is just outside of Richmond and has one of the top-rated school systems in Virginia.
According to one source, Short Pump is the number one place to raise a family in Richmond, VA. Just over 27,000 people live in the suburb. Another suburb that deserves mentioning is Woodlake. There’s a more rural feel in Woodlake, and they have some of the best schools in the Richmond area.
What are the best school districts in Richmond, VA?
With an A- rating, Goochland County Public School District has some of the best schools in Richmond and the surrounding suburbs. With just over 2,500 students, there is a 13:1 student/teacher ratio, slightly lower than the state average of 14:1 students per teacher. Students test at 84 percent for math and 83 percent for reading.
Chesterfield County Public Schools have a B+ rating overall. With just over 60,000 students, the student-to-teacher ratio is even with the state average. Reading and math proficiency testing registers 79 and 82 percent, respectively. With so many students, this school district is the sixth best in the state for student-athlete development.
Powhatan County Public Schools enrolled just over 4,200 students for 2023. The county district has a more rural feel and is family-orientated. One source gives the district a B+ overall grade but an A for clubs and activities.
When you’re ready to move to Richmond, VA, our guides help you make the best of your time and energy, not to mention money. Choosing the right schools for kids with the best tuition can be challenging, particularly if a private school is the best option. Although schools inside the Richmond city limits have educational issues they must contend with (i.e., low test scores), schools in the suburbs are sometimes several factors better.
Lastly, if you’re ready to make the move to Richmond, let us know! We have local Richmond movers, and also offer long-distance movers in Richmond, too. We can even help with last-minute moves in Richmond.