In this section we look at the whole process of getting your child into your chosen prep school, as well as considering ways to finance a private education. We look at the different admissions criteria, entrance tests and application procedures.
For the purposes of this website, we concentrate on admissions for children aged 4 to 11 into preps and pre-preps, ignoring nursery and kindergarten admissions. Each school tends to have its own admissions criteria, which frankly depend on (1) the demand for places and (2) the selection focus of the school – those preparing children for elite senior schools will generally have much more stringent entry requirements than those which send children to a wide range of senior schools. If your child is 11 or 12 and you are targeting public school entry at age 13, you have a much smaller selection of prep schools and they will certainly require the child to pass a tougher admissions test.
Location is also an important factor and admission to schools with London postcodes is generally more competitive than in other areas. In some cases, schools require children to be registered soon after birth to be considered for a place when they reach school age, and even then, the child is not guaranteed admission. Schools operate various criteria for managing places, from sibling preference to stringent entrance exams. If your choice is, by necessity, limited to a specific area, you may like to speak to us to discuss your options.
International parents often face additional challenges. Many fail to appreciate the long lead-in time involved in securing a top prep school admission. Of course they might have just transferred their job to the UK at short notice and have no choice regarding timing. Some schools only allow children to join in September at the beginning of the academic year, and others only into certain year groups. If the child is not proficient in the English language it can be difficult to get a place in a London day prep. In such cases, a boarding school on a day basis is often a better bet. Remember also that international children from outside Europe will probably need a UK visa. The majority of day preps do not have UKVI Tier 4 status and cannot issue visa support letters.
Many prep schools offer scholarships to talented children and may also have a bursary fund to support children who could not otherwise afford a private education. See our section on Fees, Discounts and Bursaries if you are seeking a prep school offering scholarships. An application for a scholarship will require the child to take a test or audition in the chosen category.
Whatever your requirements, we believe we can find you the optimum solution via our bespoke advice service. Just fill in the Enquiry Form or better still phone us on +44 (0) 1622 813870