What is a prep school? What is IAPS?

Prep School Definition

Prep schools are independent schools that usually cater for children aged between seven and 13, although many of these incorporate a pre-prep (4-7) and some may only go up to Year 6 (age 11). Some also have a nursery as part of their offering and will give children a priority place in Reception if they are enrolled in the nursery first.

How many school days does an independent prep school have to be open during a year academically for teaching?

There aren’t any legal requirements for school hours in prep schools as long as they meet the requirements from the Independent School Standards for teaching and the curriculum. The Department for Education also has guidelines that prep schools are required to follow. They suggest the following as minimum weekly teaching times: 21 hours for children aged five to seven, 23.5 hours for ages eight to 11 and 24 hours to those aged 12 to 16.

These refer to hours used for teaching, and they don’t include registration, break times, or group worship.

IAPS Definition

IAPS is the Independent Association of Prep Schools, of which 670 of the world’s leading prep schools are members.

Only schools that hold themselves to a very high standard of teaching are eligible to become members of IAPS, and there is strict criteria regarding their curriculum, pastoral care and staff professional development.

How do I find a suitable school for my children with special needs?

Several IAPS schools have the capacity to enroll a limited number several different IAPS schools admit just some children that have special educational needs, illnesses and disabilities. The National Association for Gifted Children can also assist with identifying appropriate schooling for children that are particularly gifted.

Typically, how many children are there in an IAPS school?

The average number of children that are present in an IAPS School is about 260. More than half of the schools have between 150 to 300 pupils.

Could I send my child to a school that is for only boys or only girls?

Most IAPS schools are Co-educational with just 20% single-sex schools. However, there are over 70 boys-only IAPS schools with more than 30 taking girls only

Is there help available for paying fees?

Many parents now receive financial help in paying school fees. Several schools have scholarships and bursaries. Some schools with nurseries also participate in the Government Nursery Funding Scheme, allowing them to offer free hours of care. Ensure you enquire with a prospective school about bursaries and grants to check if they are available and what the requirements are for receiving them.

How can I locate the best prep school for my child?

You first need to decide on if your children needs nursery or pre-prep school; if they would board or be a day student; full-time or part-time? Also consider if co-educational or single-sex education is best for them. The majority of these IAPS schools are not through schools so they will prepare pupils for entrance exams at a range of senior schools. Those that are attached to senior school will provide the opportunity for your child to continue their education with the same establishment, although places are not guaranteed.

Create a list of what your child needs and expectations both they and you have of a school. Prepare questions for when you make contact with the school and ensure you arrange to visit, take a tour and speak to staff.

Register to join our Open Morning or Book a Tour

**Limited Reception 2022 Places Available**
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Visit Us

Register to join our next Open Morning, for a chance to visit our fantastic facilities, hear from our Headmistress, Mrs Sara Williams-Ryan, about our unique school ethos, meet with our incredible team of specialist teachers and of course, our girls.

Reception 2023 Open Morning – Friday 16th September 2022

Peregrines Nursery Open Morning – Thursday 13th October 2022


Looking for an occasional place?

We are delighted to offer private tours for families seeking an occasional place this academic year.

Contact admissions@falconsgirls.co.uk or call 020 8992 5189 to arrange your tour
and to meet with our Headmistress, Mrs Sara Williams-Ryan.

Rated ‘Excellent’ by ISI in March 2020

“Pupils display exceptional attitudes towards learning”

“Pupils are highly proficient communicators for their age”