The Independent Schools Show helps thousands of families each year to plan the next steps for their children. The show brings together the leading schools, the brightest thinkers and the most respected heads to help you make the right decisions for your child.
Make sure to come along to this year's Show to explore your options and find out everything you need to know about independent education.
This year there will be three education theatres with expert speakers covering a wide range of topics from choosing a nursery to supporting your child with their university applications. You can find all the information about the theatre sessions here
“We have the freedom to choose curriculum, to select staff, to use qualifications as we want to. We have a holistic view of education which is such a critical thing. I'm not constrained by Ofsted and we have the freedom to innovate ... which means we can be so creative."
Patrick Derham, Head Master of Westminster School, speaking at the Independent Schools Show.
What do you want for your child? State school or fee-paying? Day or boarding school? Single sex or co-education? It helps to have a game plan, even if you change it at a later date. What do you want from the school? Undoubtedly you want to find a great school, one that's ideal for your child, with great teaching and possibly good facilities to match.
Left scratching your head about the difference between public school, private school and independent school? And where on earth prep schools and boarding schools fit into the picture? Fear not – our at a glance guide will set you straight:
Public schools: historically, the most exclusive – and expensive – of boys’ private (mainly boarding) schools, eg Eton, Harrow and Winchester. Formerly the realm of the upper classes, who are now (with fees topping £30K) joined by offspring of moneyed entrepreneurs, business people and internationals. Now often co-ed, attended by boys and girls aged 13 to 18.
Boarding schools: schools…
While state schools are prohibited from interviewing any but potential sixth form students, the interview is an integral part of nearly every private school admissions process, and tends to send the applicant’s parents, rather than the actual applicant, into a spin. Parents feel considerably more responsible for their child’s social presentation than for his or her ability to do long division or conjugate French verbs.
The 11+ is the entrance exam procedure for getting your brightish little button into a fee-paying or state grammar school. Much of the country abolished the 11+ several decades ago for state schools, but a few local authorities, such as Bucks and Kent, retained a large number of grammar schools and run county-wide entrance tests. In some other areas, such as Barnet and Kingston, a few grammar schools exist in tandem with the comprehensive system found in most of the country. These grammar schools set their own entrance exams.
As their name suggests, the main aim of ‘preparatory schools’, or prep schools, is to prepare children for entry to fee-paying senior schools at 11 or 13. Traditionally, pre-preps take children from 3 or 4 and prepare them for moving on to preps at 7 or 8. There are fewer stand-alone pre-preps than there used to be as their main market, the boarding prep, has declined in numbers.
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