Private schools are becoming an increasingly popular option for parents looking to secure the best possible education for their child. Over the last several years, many private schools have taken steps to open their admissions policies up to attract a wider demographic. In the past, private schools have been seen as signs of elitism and represent an opportunity that is unavailable to most families. While this is still true to an extent, private schools have become much more inclusive and no parent should feel guilty for wanting to ensure that their child receives the very best education available.
What is a Prep School?
The term prep school comes from the function that these institutions used to, and in some cases still do, namely, that they prepared students to sit something called the Common Entrance Exam, which was the standard exam used as an admissions test for various private schools. These days, the schools aren’t just used for this purpose and many parents choose to send their children to prep school because of the high-quality, focused curriculum that they use, which is still based on the common entrance exam. Prep schools are no longer only used to help students gain entrance to private institutions; these days, they are just as likely to be used by parents hoping to get their children into a good state school.
Traditionally, prep schools have served boys and girls slightly differently. Like many private educational establishments, prep schools have traditionally been single-sex institutions. Today, however, there are a large number of co-educational options as well. More traditional prep schools provide schooling either for girls between the ages of four and 11, or boys from age eight to 13. Boys may also attend a pre-prep school, such as Salcombe Preparatory School, a private pre prep school in north London, from a ages four to eight. For co-educational institutions, the pupils are usually aged between four and 13.
Benefits of a Prep School
There a number of different reasons that parents choose a prep school over a state school; the majority of prep schools feature smaller class sizes, this means that teachers can give more attention to individuals. Teachers at prep schools tend to be more specialised than in state schools and the ability to charge tuition fees means that more private schools can afford equipment and facilities that are unavailable to state schools.
Entry to most prep schools is dependent upon the student passing an entrance exam, although some institutions only require that the student interview for the place. Since the 2008 financial crisis, there have been many more vacant spots at prep schools and, consequently, a number of institutions have lowered their fees or taken other measures to encourage more people to apply for a place.
While private schools charge tuition fees, some prep schools may allow gifted children free admission. Others offer payment plans designed to make the school accessible for lower-income families.
A prep school can be an excellent step in your child’s education. Whether you hope to ultimately send them to a private school or a good state school, you should consider prep school as a way of improving their chances.
*This is a collaborative post