Day Prep Schools

Finding a good prep school

There are around 1000 private preparatory schools in the UK and so there will probably be at least one fairly close to where you live. School location is really important for families with young children and if you are looking for a day school, you will almost certainly want it to be within five miles of your home (and closer in London) because of the two ‘school runs’ each day.

Prep schools cater for children from age seven up to 11 or 13 when they will progress to senior school. More than 80% of prep schools are day schools but the boarding prep schools almost all have day pupils as well. Prep schools vary considerably in size and quality. Some are very small and whilst this can be ideal for a shy child requiring a lot of individual attention, the school may not have the same range of facilities and opportunities that would be found in a larger school.

Our school search engine works on a geographic search and you need to enter the name of your town or city or the name of a particular school. When it produces a list of schools, you can click on a school name to obtain outline details. It is vitally important to visit prospective schools and see them ‘in action’. Be sure to arrange an appointment to speak with the headteacher who will be responsible for defining the ethos and direction of the school.

How can I tell if it is a good prep school?

Prep schools are regularly inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the reports can provide useful information about the quality of education, leadership and pastoral care. However, many are several years old so always be prepared to trust your own judgement when you visit a school.

What about results?

Academic results are difficult to assess for a private prep school because, unlike in senior schools, children are not entered for external public exams, the results of which can then be compared with other schools. We therefore look closely at leaver destinations when considering the academic ‘level’ of a prep school. If a significant number of children progress to top ranking senior schools each year this is a clear indication of the quality of academic provision. In some areas with state grammar schools, prep schools may specifically prepare children for the 11+ exam and pass rates in this are also a useful indicator.

Academics are by no means the only thing to consider even if you have an exceptionally bright child and/or high academic ambitions for them. For most parents, the key factors will be the overall quality of education provided, opportunities for their child to experience a wide range of activities to develop their skills, personality and confidence and a supportive and stimulating environment where the child will be happy and thrive.

How do you find the best prep school for your child?

For parents wanting to do their own research we refer you to our free downloadable eGuide to choosing a prep school which offers advice and tips about what to consider.  However, families are often understandably confused by the huge number of schools on offer and are unsure where to start. This is especially the case for parents unfamiliar with the UK private school system or who have specific requirements.

We offer a bespoke advice service to guide you through the whole school choice and application process.  We are very experienced at prep school placements. Our advice is totally impartial and independent. In most cases we try to map out a pathway to senior school to cover all life stages. We will try to get you several offers to give you a choice. In the first instance, why not contact us for a free telephone consultation on +44 (0)1622 813870 or complete an Enquiry form.

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