Prep Schools in the UK

With a failing public education system, plagued by budgets cuts and a myriad of other problems, many parents are turning to preparatory (prep) schools to get their kids a high school education that really counts.

If you are one of these parents who choose the college prep way for their kids, rather than leaving them at the mercy of public education, choosing the right school is the key to your child’s future.

Most prep schools in Britain are usually private boarding schools. Independent prep schools provide children with their first taste of boarding life. Prep schools take boarders who are between 7 and 13 years of age and prepare them for senior school. The majority of prep schools are co-educational, although there are some single-sex prep schools around the country.

While prep schools cater for boarders between 7-13 years, some preparatory schools have a pre-prep department that takes younger day pupils. Students are usually age five or above, but can even be as young as two. The youngest age that children can start boarding in the UK is seven.

Other types of prep school include non-denominational schools, choir schools and prep schools for special educational needs (SEN) children. Prep schools are either stand-alone, or attached to a senior school. At the end of prep school, pupils can go on to study at the senior school that their prep school is attached to, or progress to any of the other senior schools in the country.

One of the most common reasons why many parents prefer UK boarding prep schools is the access to great academics. Prep schools offer a high standard of education and prepare children for future study. Maths, English and Science are at the core of the curriculum, with other subjects available, such as geography, information technology and modern languages. Pupil’s progress is assessed using National Curriculum Tests at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 (ages 7 and 11) or may be assessed with an alternative system.

Another reason to choose UK boarding prep schools is to build a sense of independence in your child. Many kids have trouble taking care of basic responsibilities while they live at home, especially if they think their parents will do the job for them. But when they simply live with other kids their age, they may gain the same sense of independence that they would get from college, only sooner. If your student has trouble managing tasks you think he or she should be able to handle by now, attendance at a school that requires him or her to live far away may be a good idea.

Prep school usually prepares students for the Common Entrance (CE) examination, which evaluates student’s abilities in core subjects. Senior schools take into account the Common Entrance examination results when considering admissions applications, and the required marks vary, depending on the senior school.

Extra lessons can be arranged for pupils whose first language is not English and many UK boarding prep schools provide extra support for pupils with specific needs.