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The Benefits of a Prep Education

You may have heard the expression ‘state till 8’ but why do so many families make the decision to join a Preparatory School in, or after, Year 3, into what independent schools call ‘Prep’?

What is a Prep School?

Traditionally, preparatory or ‘prep’ schools were independent schools that educated children from the age of 8-13. Many prep schools now run concurrently with primary and are divided into Pre-Prep (Reception to Year 2) and Prep (Years 3 to 6, or 8). At Leweston Prep, children can begin their journey as young as three months in our Nursery and progress through to Prep 6, age 11, when they join the senior school.

The term preparatory describes how the schools prepare children effectively for the next step of their education.

Why join a Prep school?

Year 3 marks the start of Prep. This represents a step up in learning and independence. Leweston pupils benefit from specialist teaching, extensive extra-curricular provision and an emphasis on outdoor learning. 

Specialist teaching.

Rather than being taught all subjects by a single generalist teacher, many children attending a prep school will enjoy some lessons led by subject specialists. Whilst at Leweston Prep there are subject specialists working in the pre-prep, pupils in Year 3 and above will have more time with experts, some of whom also teach in the senior school. This includes Science, Music, Drama, ICT, Modern Foreign Languages and Design and Technology. This, paired with class sizes of a maximum of 20, allows Year 3 pupils to benefit from a more personal approach to learning. One of the hallmarks of Leweston Prep is how well the teachers know the pupils and can adapt their teaching to suit the individual.

A broad and balanced curriculum

Unlike mainstream primary schools, prep schools are not restricted to following the national curriculum. This independence gives preps 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 the children. At Leweston Prep Year 6 do not sit SATS which enables the curriculum throughout the prep to introduce a broad range of subjects and enables pupils to make progress in all areas.

Weekly music lessons

It has been well reported in the media that music provision in state schools has been significantly reduced. At Leweston Prep music is a core component of the curriculum with pupils having one lesson per week. This gives everyone the opportunity to experience playing an instrument as well as benefit from the social and wellbeing aspect music provides. Many children have private music tuition on a variety of instruments and Year 3 pupils also join the junior choir, singing as part of assemblies and at various events throughout the year.

Sport sessions

The range of sport available to Leweston Prep pupils means that many of the evening and weekend clubs families may be accessing can be provided as part of the school day. Year 3 have two double games lessons and one double PE (physical education) lesson as well as weekly swimming lessons. Children take part in matches and competitions in rugby, hockey, cricket, netball, athletics, cross country and football, among others. As Leweston is a Pentathlon GB training hub Year 3 pupils can access national coaches in fencing, shooting and multi-discipline sports and start to compete in triathle, biathle and laser-run.

Activities and themed days

The prep participate in themed days as a whole department or as individual groups. There are science and maths days, World Book Day and WOW days where the year group immerses itself into a particular subject or theme. Once they reach Years 5 and 6 the pupils participate in a three day residential each year to build confidence and team building skills. These events allow us to put learning into context and bring it to life.

Extensive extra-curricular provision

Our club provision gives Year 3 pupils the opportunity to develop their skills or learn completely new ones. Offered at lunchtimes and after-school the wide range of clubs builds confidence by encouraging children to try new things and enabling them to explore new-found hobbies. These activities range from computer club and ballet, to chess and journalism. This well rounded education helps pupils learn valuable soft skills, develop friendships and most importantly have fun.

The great outdoors

We believe that there is never the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing. Pupils are encouraged outside at every opportunity to enjoy the beautiful campus we are lucky enough to share with the senior school. Year 3 have weekly Forest School sessions in the Enchanted Wood. The space and environment we have is extraordinary in comparison to many state schools, and we take every opportunity to to enjoy it.

Extracurricular Opportunities

The educational experience at preparatory schools is enriched by the wide range of extracurricular opportunities available to pupils. We offer a wide array of clubs encompassing Performing Arts, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Creative Pursuits, and Academic & Social development. Children are also encouraged to contribute to our many pupil committees and have the opportunity to apply for a year 6 captaincy role. Our extensive trip programme involves both local visits and exciting residentials, including a popular ski trip to France.

 If you would like to visit Leweston Prep to find out more about joining contact our Prep Registrar, Amanda Wilson, on 01963 211054 or

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