What is a Prep School?

What is a Prep School?

Here at Bright World, we often get asked questions about the nature of prep schools, what purpose they serve, and why they should be considered. So, what exactly is a prep school?

Firstly, "prep" stands for "preparatory", as these schools are selective, independent UK boarding schools, which serve the purpose of preparing children for the Common Entrance Examination. This exam ensures that they will be granted a place at a private independent secondary school, or a good state selective grammar school. Prep schools were originally formed in the late 19th century to prepare boys for the top British public schools, such as Eton, Harrow, and Winchester. Today, they are still a good route to being accepted by a top-ranking school.

They primarily cater for children between the ages of 8 and 13, though the normal point of entry is in Year 7 (11+). The advantage of joining at this age is that it is the perfect time, prior to secondary school, for students to begin preparing themselves for the Common Entrance Exam, and ultimately their GCSE’s. It’s also the best time for international students to join, as it means that they gain experience of living away from home in a boarding environment. It also enables them to greatly improve their English language skills, and become comfortable with British teaching methods. Prep schools will also assist students with their onward transfers and scholarships to senior schools, taking into consideration the student’s academic achievements.

When it comes to senior school progression, there are three different types of Prep school. Some have a senior school on site, such as St Edmund's in Canterbury. Others, despite not being on the same site, are owned by a local senior school – St Andrew’s and Eastbourne College are both a good example. The third type are stand-alone schools which have no particular association with a senior school, such as Aldro School and Great Ballard School. These are known as “feeder” schools.

Here’s a word from a couple of our partner prep schools:

“For families planning a UK education for their children, starting at a nurturing prep school such as ours, can give their child an enormous advantage. Their child will be superbly prepared for senior school, both in terms of boarding, English language skills, and academic development. For families wishing to gain a place for their child at top UK senior schools, a UK prep education is a must. At Sherborne Prep our overseas children have been successful in gaining places at Sherborne School, Sherborne School for Girls, Harrow, St Mary’s Calne, Rugby, and many other top schools, some with scholarships too.” – Nick Folland, Headmaster at Sherborne Preparatory School

“Dean Close Preparatory School is passionate about ensuring pupils are suitably supported as they strive to reach their full potential, whether that is in the classroom, on the sports field, the stage or playing a musical instrument. By offering a broad range of opportunities and utilising our outstanding facilities we endeavour to help pupils achieve their goals whilst also developing the life-long habits of resilience, kindness and respect for each other.” – Katie Wells, Marketing Co-ordinator at Dean Close Preparatory School

What is a Prep School?

Bright World’s Director of Admissions, Sheena Trist, deals with dozens of applications to prep schools every year. She sees them as being “an ideal solution for younger pupils as by the time they are ready to move into Senior School, they are used to teaching practices and living in a boarding environment”.

Bright World's placement service is FREE. If you would like more information about prep schools, or to apply to one, please contact us by using the enquiry form or phone direct on +44 (0)1273 835745.

Posted on October 4th, 2017 @ 4:57 PM



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