What are the Benefits of a Prep School Education?

Posted: 24th February 2023

2 students chatting

Many of us may 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 Holmwood House we educate children from age 6 months to 16 years old, our onsite Preschool starts at aged 2, children then progress to the “Prep School” from the ages 4-13.

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. From September 2023 Holmwood House will be opening their new Senior School for children up to the age of 16, so pupils can now stay on and sit their GCSEs at the school.

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 and schools can deliver a much broader curriculum.

Throughout our Prep School our curriculum is underpinned by the premise that learning which blends excitement and challenge is integral to developing intrinsically motivated, confident and engaged children who have a growing curiosity and understanding of the world around them. We aim to build essential, transferable skills through challenging and immersive learning.

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, weaknesses, and needs of each pupil.

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

At Holmwood House we are fortunate that even our Preschool children are taught by specialist teachers for French, Music and Swimming, as the children progress through the school, specialist teachers are added for Science, Art, Drama, Sport and Spanish, until by the age of 11 they have specialist teaching for all subjects.

Extracurricular Opportunities

The educational experience at preparatory schools is enriched by the wide range of extracurricular opportunities available to pupils. At Holmwood House all pupils enjoy the opportunity to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular clubs, such as: Lego, chess, running, tennis, squash, martial arts, water polo ,art and pottery, musical theatre, props & scenery making, cookery, eco club, creative writing, upcycling and many more.

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.

The best way to see how your child could benefit from an education at Holmwood House is to come and visit us at our beautiful, 25 acre site in Lexden, Colchester. We would be delighted to welcome you into school for a tour and meeting with our headteacher. To book a personalised tour of the school, please contact our Admissions Registrar, Lucy Dyson, at

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Holmwood House Nursery

151 Coach Road, Great Horkesley,
Essex CO6 4DX
T: (01206) 273 827


Holmwood House School

Chitts Hill, Lexden,
Essex CO3 9ST
T: (01206) 574305