☰ What's different in a prep school

What's different in a prep school

Posted on: February 22nd 2023 | Category:

Many of us will be familiar with the term Preparatory school, but what exactly is a prep school and how do children benefit?


What is a prep school?

Traditionally, Preparatory or ‘prep’ schools are independent schools that educate children from eight to thirteen. At Norfolk House School, we educate children from ages two to eleven. 

The term preparatory is used as it describes how the schools prepare children effectively for the next step of their education at senior schools, where they will usually complete GCSEs and A-Levels.


The Curriculum

Unlike mainstream primary schools, Preparatory schools are not restricted to following the national curriculum. This independence gives prep schools the freedom and flexibility to deliver a curriculum that not only aligns with their vision and ethos but can also be tailored to the needs of individual children. Children are not subjected to the ‘one size fits all’ approach. 

As members of The Independent Association of Prep Schools,  we are required to deliver a broad curriculum. The experiences offered during each child’s time in our EYFS reflect the philosophy and practice expressed in the statutory framework ‘The Early Years Foundation Stage’ [DFE 2007]. This statutory framework builds a coherent and flexible approach to education for our youngest pupils.

The EYFS curriculum is broken into seven areas of learning and development, with all areas interconnected. Three areas are crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. 

Class Sizes

Prep schools tend to boast smaller class sizes. Children benefit from the more individual time and attention from teachers who can better assess a child's progress and tailor their learning accordingly. Teachers can also build an in-depth understanding of each child and know each pupil's strengths, weaknesses, and needs. 

Smaller class sizes also enable children to build better relationships with their teachers and classmates, encouraging better class cohesion and less disruption.

Specialist Teachers

Rather than being taught all subjects by a single generalist teacher, many children attending a preparatory school will enjoy some lessons led by subject specialist teachers. These teachers have substantial expertise and enthusiasm for their respective curriculum areas and can best support pupils of all abilities to reach their potential.

At Norfolk House School’s Lower School site on Princes Avenue, we are fortunate enough to have Helen Enisuoh as Deputy Head, who specialises in Early Years, with experience working in the Thomas Coram Centre. Helen says, “being Deputy Head at the Lower School gives Early Years a greater voice in our school, and the quality of the Early Years is indicative of the quality of the rest of the school”


Extracurricular Opportunities

The educational experience at preparatory schools is enriched by the wide range of extracurricular opportunities available to pupils. At Norfolk House, we believe that school should be a fulfilling experience for all pupils. That’s why we provide our students with a rich curriculum outside the classroom and in it.

All pupils enjoy a wide range of extra-curricular clubs before, during and after school. Clubs range from chess, cross country, newspaper, art and pottery, drama, cooking and many more.

A wide range of activities and initiatives is a crucial advantage because it provides children with a more well-rounded education and broadened perspective. Pupils are able to discover and nurture new skills and interests whilst building confidence, responsibility and valuable soft skills. They also develop strong friendships, have fun and improve their well-being.

If you want to hear more about Norfolk House School or see why we are called ‘London’s biggest little school’, come to our open week this March, Monday 13th to Friday 17th; Contact us here for more.

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