What Is A British Preparatory School?

American readers may be confused about what a British preparatory school is. Preparatory schools in America are private secondary schools preparing teenagers for college entrance. Preparatory schools in

Traditional British prep schools were boarding schools, but day schools in recent years have become increasingly important.
Britain are elementary/middle schools preparing boys and girls of about 8 to 13 years for entrance to the country's public schools-- elite private secondary schools. Traditionally preparatory or prep schools were boarding facilities located in rural areas or small towns, but they are becoming mostly day schools as modern British parents increasingly questioning the value of a boarding school for younger children

British preparatory or prep schools developed as unique educational institutions, distinct in important ways from private schools in other European countries. Early prep schools were Spartan, strictly disciplined boys' boarding schools, established to prepare young Britons for the country's elite public schools. Modern prep schools have changed dramatically from those early beginnings and are e volving as they adjust to major economic and demographic changes in the United Kingdom. Harsh discipline and austere classrooms have been replaced with positive disciplinarian methods and modern, increasingly elaborate, educational and recreational facilities which give some schools the appearance of year-round summer camps. The schools report an impressive record of superior academic performance, due to a variety of factors. The most important among these are: the individual attention made possible by low student/teacher ratios, insistence on achievement-based objective standards, and strong parental support. Surprisingly, in an era when parents and educators are increasingly concerned with improving educational standards, preparatory and other independent schools have become a divisive political issue in the United Kingdom. While few deny the striking standards of academic excellence achieved, critics charge that independent schools are divisive bastions of privilege and exclusivity for the wealthy few who can afford the substantial fees. An increasing number of modest income Britons, however, are turning to the independent sector, prepared to make significant financial sacrifices out of concern over the widely perceived deterioration in state schools.

Boys' Preparatory Schools
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