Prior's Field September 2018

Preparatory Schools

What is a prep school?

A British preparatory school or prep school is a fee-paying school for children aged 8-13. A prep school often prepares a child for the Common Entrance exam and entrance to independent secondary school or for the 11+ exam and entrance to a grammar school.

Do prep schools follow the National Curriculum?

Independent prep schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum. Pupils in an independent prep school do not have to sit SAT tests or any other Department for Education tests. They do however often sit exams at the end of each year.

What are the differences between a prep school and a primary school?

Independent prep schools do not have Ofsted inspections in the same way that state schools do. All independent schools are required to register with the Department for Education (or the Welsh Office Education Department)  which can close schools for serious or repeated problems.

Children in a prep school are more likely to have different teachers for each subject, rather than stay with the same teacher all week. For example, there will usually be a PE teacher, an English teacher, a Maths teacher and so on.

Class sizes are usually considerably smaller in an independent prep school and there are often good facilities and a wider range of extra-curricular activities available than you would expect to find in a state primary school - though this is not always the case.

Admissions for independent preparatory schools

Admission to a prep school is often based on an entrance exam and an interview but this is not as daunting as it sounds and is tailored to what is expected of a 7-year-old.

Many prep schools have a pre-prep school (for children aged 2-7) associated with them, often on the same campus. Pre-prep education is often structured to help children to prepare for admission to prep school.

How much does prep school cost?

Annual school fees for prep schools in England range from around £3,000 to £9,000. Fees for pre-prep schools are usually a little lower, and in some schools the fee will be slightly higher for each school year.

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