A British preparatory school (or prep school) is a fee-paying school for children of the ages of 8-13, often preparing them for the common entrance exam and entry into secondary independent schools or for the 11+ an entrance into grammar school.
As independent schools, prep schools do not have to follow the national curriculum. Children do not have to sit SATs or other Department for Education tests but are likely to take exams at the end of each year.
Children in prep schools are more likely to be taught by subject specialists rather than a teacher who takes the same class all week. For example, they may have different teachers for science, languages and PE. In general, the class size is smaller and the facilities can often be good (but not always – especially in the case of very small schools) and there is usually a wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.
Pre-preparotary schools accept children between the ages of 2 and 7 and prep schools from the age of 7 to 11 or 13
Admission to a prep school is often based on an entrance exam and interview, however some preps use interview only as the basis of their admissions.
Annual school fees for prep schools general range from about £3,000 to £9,000.