Lord Wandsworth Leaderboard

What Are Prep Schools?

Published on isbi School News dated Tuesday 21st of March 2023

Prep schools are private schools in the UK. They are independent schools meaning they don’t necessarily have to follow the National Curriculum, although many prep schools use it as a starting point and then go beyond it.


How Have Prep Schools Changed Over The Years?


Over the last century, preparatory schools have changed immensely. When they were first established they were designed for boys aged 8 – 13 to prepare them for boarding school. 


Nowadays, most prep schools have diversified and grown, with more than half now allowing co-education.


How Are Standards at Prep Schools Inspected? 


Most prep schools are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), which on behalf of the UK’s department of education, is monitored by Ofsted. Although, leading prep schools also apply for a membership with the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS).


To be eligible for a membership with IAPS, schools must be of high standard, with strict criteria on teaching a broad curriculum, and keeping up to date with maintaining staff members’ professional training. Each independent school must show full commitment to provide a well-rounded, excellent education for their pupils.


How are Prep Schools Different To State Schools?


Prep schools offer a high standard of education for their pupils, usually based on the National Curriculum, but often going above and beyond it. Many think of prep schools as old fashioned, but these days they are far from it, balancing traditional principles with leading edge teaching and learning. 


Having smaller class sizes, a strong focus on pastoral care and more extra curricular opportunities, allows pupils to gain a smoother, more in depth education, making them better prepared for college and university than state school students.


If your child is typically talented in sports, drama, music, or art, these tend to be strongly supported subjects in prep schools, helping to develop their confidence and performance during these subjects. 


What are the Benefits of a Prep School?


Prep schools allow your children to be fully prepared for their future, with many parents choosing preparatory over state school for these reasons:



  • Small class sizes benefit all academic levels, whether your child is very talented or has difficulties in certain subjects. Prep school students are taught by more specialist teachers and are offered more individual attention. This also means that no child gets ‘lost in the crowd’

  • Facilities at prep schools are often brilliant, with large grounds to explore and great sporting resources

  • DfE performance tables show that 94% of prep schools have added value compared to 37% of state schools

  • The added value to the educational programme and the many life skills this offers pupils, helping to prepare them for further education and adulthood


St Peter’s Prep


Here at St Peter’s we take children from age 3 to age 13. Our Independent primary school always puts our pupils first. Our pupils benefit from outstanding teaching in small classrooms, perfect for all abilities as they have the opportunity for individual attention, helping  challenge them and achieve their goals.


Your children will not only benefit from an outstanding education but also from growing up around incredible natural beauty, as well as being able to take part in many fun activities, which in the past have included:



  • Sailing

  • Kayaking

  • Horse riding 


And many more! 


At St Peter’s we will prepare your child for entry in the best possible senior schools, whether they are local, national, day or boarding.


If St Peter’s Prep sounds like the right journey for you and your child please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today to request a prospectus or arrange a visit on one of our open days!

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