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What is a Prep School?

Prep school – more formally known as Preparatory school – is one of the most important foundational phases for your child to experience before heading off to secondary school.

A 13+ Prep school, as Holmewood House is, includes the primary phase of education. The age groups  in a 13+ prep school start from 3+,  up to 13 years of age. At around 13 years old – children will move on to secondary or senior school.  Some pupils will choose to leave at 11+ to join the Grammar Schools.

With so many schools available, many parents struggle to decide which school is best for their child, and which will provide them with a solid foundation to nurture their learning and development. There are many types of prep schools in the modern world, and parents will decide which of the differentiating aspects of the school they hold as priority. Single sex or co-educational? Day school or boarding school? Specialist provision schools that support unique skills development through specialised subjects such as science or music? There are indeed many choices.

Holmewood House Prep School is a co-educational, independent school with state-of-the-art boarding facilities. We also proudly cater for day school pupils and offer the unique prospect of flexible boarding – allowing your child to change between day school, part-time boarding, and full-time boarding. Our specialist teachers provide unparalleled exposure to subjects your child will enjoy exploring. Junior year groups (Reception –Y4) have specialist teachers for French, Art, Music, DT, swimming, and games. From the start of Year 5, all lessons are taught by subject specialists.

Prep School Curriculum

Being on the Independent  Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS) allows prep schools to deviate from the National Curriculum, while still following stringent criteria for covering and delivering a broad curriculum. It is the prerogative of the prep school to decide how and what they teach. Modern prep schools offer an unparalleled standard of education that, while not precisely structured around the National Curriculum, offer learning opportunities that encompass the guidelines and often span beyond them.

Prep schools offer a homely, family-feel that allows children to cultivate their own unique abilities and identify unique skill sets that can develop over the years. Specialist teachers provide unmatched subject expertise, affording your child the opportunity to develop their interest and knowledge on a wide variety of disciplines.

Prep School – Criteria for Entrance

Entrance to prep school is often based on an entrance assessment and interview. At Holmewood House, we welcome children at any stage of their Prep School journey, subject to the availability of places, a report from the child’s current school and an informal assessment from Year 5. Our Prep School is divided into Pre-Prep (Nursery – Year 2), Lower School (Years 3 – 5) and Upper School (Years 6 – 8).

How are Prep Schools Inspected?

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspects prep schools and operates under the supervision of Ofsted. Prep schools can choose to make their ISI reports available to parents, typically through their website. Holmewood House is a proud member of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), forming part of the association’s membership of leading prep schools in the UK.

To obtain membership, prep schools must demonstrate particularly high adherence to standards. Standards include pastoral care, delivering a broad prep curriculum, as well as the continued development and up-skilling of the staff members responsible for prep school education.

Prep School Advantages

Smaller classes are perhaps one of the biggest advantages of choosing a prep school. Subject specialists teach the children through prep school years, as opposed to having one teacher who conducts lessons throughout the week. Your child is afforded the individual attention needed to enable them to reach their full potential.

Pastoral care is an important aspect that Holmewood House embodies. Our ‘whole child’ approach is supported by every one of our dedicated staff who share the collective responsibility of representing the ethos and values we have come to be renowned for.

Our extra-curricular activities support the unique talents and abilities of the children in our care, and with specialist staff leading extra-curricular activities, your child is bound to not only develop their abilities, but enjoy the time spent doing so.

Our sporting amenities and beautiful 32-acre grounds are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We constantly assess and strategise on how best we can enhance your child’s learning experience through new and improved facilities and, most importantly, employing the very highest calibre of professionals to teach and care for your children.

We would love the opportunity to speak with you about your child’s educational needs, and how we can provide the ideal environment for them to grow and flourish.

Please contact us on 01892 860 000 for any queries you may have.