What makes a Prep School great?

Traditionally Prep Schools were set up to prepare pupils for their Senior Schools. A Prep School is allowed to look at their curriculum and to decide on what subjects they might like to include and where they might like their pupils to benefit from specialist teachers. A great Prep School will offer a broad and balanced curriculum allowing pupils the time to develop their passions whilst they are young and not influenced by others; they can be themselves and choose not to ‘follow the crowd’. A good Prep School would usually have specialist teaching from Year 5 (aged 9) in most subject areas. This specialist teaching allows pupils to be stretched and challenged in the class as the teacher is qualified specifically in that subject area. At King’s College Doha this is evident in the pupil’s level of work which can be seen by looking at their books, assessments and practical work.

Prep Schools tend to have traditional values but apply them with a modern twist to allow pupils to develop the right skills to enable them to become valuable members of society, with an understanding about being respectful but with the ability and confidence to challenge, where appropriate. A Prep School can offer more opportunities for pupils to engage in extra-curricular and super-curricular activities allowing pupils to explore interests beyond the curriculum. At KCD the variety of extra-curricular activities (ECAs) available to the pupils is an impressive and broad offer which I know the pupils (and parents) love.

We pride ourselves on the family feel at KCD and many Prep Schools are seen as a ‘home away from home’ with children being happy, engaged and supported by the whole school community.

A great Prep School has a very distinct philosophy which is embraced by pupils, parents and staff to ensure that the school and everyone associated with it have the same vision and are all working together as a team. At KCD we offer a dynamic international learning community which nurtures and inspires every individual to achieve their full potential. We believe that in nurturing the individual and allowing them to flourish in a supporting environment they will manage to identify their strengths and embrace new challenges.

Individuality is key; each and every child is distinct and therefore how they are dealt with in a school needs to be very specific and there needs to be a personalised approach to the educational offer and the way that classes are taught. In a Prep School pupils are recognised as individuals, teaching tasks are adapted to allow each child to access their subject. At KCD teachers are highly qualified and specialists in their fields, whether that it the age group of children they teach, or the subject specialisms they offer. The teachers are passionate about teaching, they want to achieve the best possible outcomes for each individual child. At KCD each pupil enjoys the time they spend at school and they have a passion for learning which will remain with them throughout their lives.

When choosing a Prep School The Good Schools Guide advice is:

‘A school that helps your child to become a confident and happy learner is always the best investment –  it’s not a one size fits all decision – and pastoral care should be at the top of any parent’s list. As well as academic rigour, look for inclusive offerings across the arts, music, sport and co-curricular, and make sure your child will be able to access all opportunities, regardless of natural ability.’

This is really good guidance when choosing your child’s Prep School. Be sure that it is the right school for your child and that they will be nurtured, valued for who they are and supported to grow into the best version of themselves. The Prep School that fits your child’s needs is a ‘Great Prep School’.

Oona Carlin

King’s College Doha