What's different in a… | Independent Primary School Buckinghamshire

What's different in a prep school?

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 the age of 8-13. At Gateway School we educate children from ages 2-11.

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 Schools Association, we are required to deliver a broad curriculum. Our engaging curriculum brings learning to life through practical experiences wherever possible.

Class Sizes

Prep schools tend to boast smaller class sizes. Children benefit from 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 the strengths, areas for development, and needs of each pupil.

Smaller class sizes also enable children to build better relationships with their teachers and classmates, which encourages stronger 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 area and can best support pupils of all abilities to reach their potential.

At Gateway School we are privileged to have specialist teachers who provide greater expertise for children throughout the school in sports, languages, music, creative arts, and through our immersive forest and farm school programmes.

Co-curricular Opportunities

The educational experience at preparatory schools is enriched by the wide range of co-curricular opportunities available to pupils. At our school we offer over forty activities, ranging from Lego Coding, to Anime and Manga, to our very own Gateway Podcast club, that tap into the children’s interests, talents, curiosities and creativity. There really is something to satisfy everyone’s desire and enjoyment as an after school activity.

In addition, our programme of excursions, visits and residential trips seek to build on curriculum knowledge, enhance character and further strengthen friendships. Learning experiences are peppered with curriculum-themed events, opportunities to collaborate with others from within school and beyond across many platforms such as STEAM days, inter-school competitions, singing and debating.

A wide range of activities and initiatives is a key 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 wellbeing.

Discover Gateway School

The best way to see how your child will benefit from a Gateway School education is to visit us. We would be delighted to welcome you into school for a tour and to meet with our Head Teacher, Mrs Bufton-Green. You can book via this link.

  • Discover more by reading our prospectus.
  • Gateway School is proud to have been rated an ‘Excellent’ school in a recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) Compliance and Educational Quality Inspection, You can read the report by clicking here.
  • Why not read a more parent-focussed review of Gateway in this Muddy Stilettos account of the school.

Are you interested in enrolling your child at Gateway School?

Please get in touch with Helen, our Registrar, via email admissions@gatewaysch.co.uk or call 01494 867 806, who would be delighted to answer any further questions you may have.

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Gateway Pupil in music lesson