Many Worcestershire parents will be thinking about primary school admissions right now, and the important decision of which school to choose.

Following the year we’ve just experienced with numerous lockdowns and disruptions to education, now more than ever our children’s education has to consider more than just academics. Little minds need to be nurtured, supported and challenged.

Read on to learn why choosing a prep school might be the best option for your child and your family this coming September.

First of all, what is a ‘prep’ school in the UK?

In the past, prep schools were designed to help prepare boys aged eight to 13 to start boarding school. Today, prep-schools are still private educational establishments, but most have diversified with more than half now co-educational, meaning both boys and girls attend and are taught together.

‘Prep’ or preparatory schools are the equivalent to a state education sector primary or middle school. Most prep schools take children aged two right through to 13 years old, just before they start to think about GCSE choices. There are some schools however, that take children up to the age of 11.

Preparatory schools are all very different in their ethos and their approach to learning and as they are privately funded often they benefit from far greater resources and the children learn using the latest technology. They also don't have to follow the National Curriculum although many use it as a starting point and build from there.

What are the benefits to sending your child to a prep school?

Prep schools often benefit from much smaller class sizes, subject specialist teachers and an excellent range of on-site facilities. This means your child has the best opportunity to get more time with their teachers to learn and grow in a safe environment where they feel supported throughout their education.

Whilst there is hope that life will start to return to normal post pandemic it is important to consider the possibility that future lockdowns and school closures might be needed. Over the past year many prep schools have managed to provide a seamless transition to remote learning, providing children with minimal disruption to their education and ensuring high levels of pastoral care is maintained.

Another benefit is that prep schools have the resources available to offer a wide range of ‘outside of the classroom’ activities to uncover interests, skills and passions in subjects like the arts, sports, music and even in serving the wider community. This ensures that children not only receive high quality education but also a wide range of essential life skills, such as independence, resilience and focus, vital for laying the foundations for their future.

And for busy working parents, most prep schools have roughly the same teaching hours as state schools, but with the added bonus of on-site wrap around care inclusive of school fees.

Are prep schools tied to the national curriculum?

Have you ever felt that your child would benefit from a different way of learning, and in particular one that wasn’t governed by the state? The good news is that prep-schools don’t have to follow the national curriculum in such a rigid way and have the freedom, in how and what to teach. This creates a far more innovative environment which is tailored to each child, perfect for those who might need extra support or perhaps have a spark which needs fostering.

This does not mean however that private schools are not regulated, they must follow strict criteria for delivering a broad curriculum and are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate and Ofsted, both using the DfE Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations to report on independent schools’ compliance.

Is it too late to apply for a September 2021 place?

Prep-schools do not have cut-off dates for admission. Although class sizes are kept to a minimum, prep-schools tend to have the flexibility to accommodate late admissions. Therefore, it is never too late to consider or apply for a place. Admission takes place throughout the year.

Do prep schools offer tours for prospective parents?
Yes absolutely. For parents living in and around Worcester, King’s Worcester offers two prep school options for your children. King’s Hawford in rural north Worcestershire with award-winning outdoor education and outstanding teachers to nurture and support your child and the other King’s St Alban’s, a hidden oasis in the heart of the city where prep school children also benefit from the outstanding King’s Senior facilities and teaching staff.

We would encourage the parents of any prospective pupil to talk to us and join one of our open days or arrange a private tour. There is nothing like seeing the school in action and this will help you make your final decision.

What is the average price of a prep school?

Varying by region, the average fee ranges from just over £3,700 per term in the North West to just under £6,000 per term in London. Often independent schools also offer discounts for siblings, pre-agreed payment terms, such as monthly or lump sum payments, and many have bursary options.  

At King’s Worcester, prep school fees start at just over £2,400 per term. This not only includes their academic education, but also an extensive programme of co-curricular activities such as weekly swimming lessons in on-site swimming pools, Forest School activities, after school clubs, wrap-around care and much more.

Join King’s Worcester for their Prep School Spring Open Days on Saturday, May 8, at King’s St Alban’s and Saturday, May 22, at King’s Hawford.

To register for their forthcoming Open Days, visit: