• Academic
  • boarding
  • Pastoral
  • Prep
The Importance of Prep Schools

As the eponymous name suggests, prep schools prepare pupils for senior school, with the resources to enable each child to be treated as an individual. At Millfield Prep School we help our children to discover their own brilliance, whatever that may be.

Here are 10 things that reflect the importance of a prep school education:

1. A strong foundation for learning up to age 13

Prep Boarder Studying

Giving children a strong background and foundation for learning and preserving childhood until they reach their teens is an essential aspect of a prep school education. At Millfield Prep, we feel strongly that children should remain in a nurturing prep environment until the end of Year 8, allowing them to stay younger for longer and build their confidence by an additional two years in comparison to the state sector model and London preps, which finish at age 11. During the last two years at Prep, pupils have the opportunity to take on roles of responsibility such as prefects or captains in sports teams, roles that are much harder to get when in a larger pupil cohort in a senior school. Qualities such as maturity and independence are encouraged when pupils are in the top year of school at age 12/13 rather than being the youngest in a large senior school. Expectations are high for academic attainment, responsibility and leadership. Development of study skills both communally and independently are established within the children from a young age and the Millfield Prep School value ‘Be Challengers’ particularly encourages the children to ask questions to expand their knowledge and speak up if they have new ideas. Pupils in Years 7 and 8 are called upon to give prospective families tours, to mentor younger years and have more freedom, to prove that they can be responsible. Prep school teachers are experts in teaching children up to age 13, whereas senior school teachers may have to prioritise their exam year students. Their focus is most definitely on ensuring the pupils are moving on to the senior school of their choice.

2.     Learning support


Prep schools offer small class sizes, meaning that individuals get significantly more attention than they would in a class of 30+. With class sizes at Millfield Prep rarely exceeding 16, teachers can give their full attention to teaching each child as an individual. Millfield Prep’s experienced staff in the Learning Development Centre (LDC) offer additional support to assist those who have learning differences in a variety of areas. Alongside the core topics, access to specific tutors, including speech therapists, behavioural optometrists and educational psychologists are readily available for pupils after a range of additional assessments. Millfield Prep’s learning support facilities are among the best in the country.

3.     Recognising talent and potential

A prep school education recognises potential from an early age and celebrates these talents in the form of various scholarships. At Millfield Prep, scholarships are offered for academic, all-rounders, art, music, and sport. Acknowledging these areas of skill from an early age allows the children to excel where they are most passionate. Another of our school values, ‘Be You’, highlights to the children that everyone is different and encourages them to understand that being unique is a good thing. Children can tailor their extra-curricular activities around what really interests them, with teachers and coaches working closely to ensure that children can make the most of all the opportunities available to them.

4.     English excellence

English is a very important aspect of a prep school curriculum. Pupils are introduced to a range of authors, styles and compositions from an early age, to embed the importance of the subject. At Millfield Prep, we focus on reading, vocabulary, grammar and comprehension, to build a strong foundation for the children’s further education.

5.     Learning outside the classroom

Education is not confined to results in the classroom and many prep schools encourage outdoor education. With the 200-acre campus just a stone’s throw away from Glastonbury Tor, Millfield Prep’s children benefit from the Somerset countryside, which offers first-hand support to their academic studies. Humanities lead pupils to a variety of local heritage sites, such as the Jurassic Coast, as well as trips further afield to Cornwall and South Wales to assist with the syllabus. These experiences outside the classroom build trust, teamwork and empathy, and urge the children to explore and try new things. Read our blog about the benefits of Outdoor Education here.

6.     Discovering individual brilliance

Millfield Prep’s curriculum is designed to enable pupils to thrive in an environment tailored around their individual needs. We offer the facilities of a large institution whilst keeping the children at the focal point. Amongst the rolling fields of the Somerset levels, our campus features a high-spec music recital hall, state-of-the-art sports pavilion and centre, equestrian centre and indoor swimming pool; there is something here for everyone to find where they excel. Explore our pupils’ ‘Discover Brilliance’ profiles here.

7.     Taking responsibility

Responsibility is instilled into prep school pupils early on, setting them on the pathway to senior education. Pupils are expected to contribute to the school community and this high expectation is practised from Pre-School through to Year 8. Pupils can become committee members for groups focusing on topics such as eco, food, digital, boarding and junior pastoral. In Year 8, pupils are selected to become monitors and then train the newly selected Year 7 monitors, ready to pass on the torch in the new year in September.

8.     A global community

Diversity is celebrated at Millfield Prep - we welcome pupils from around 20 different nationalities to study with us each year and provide an important steppingstone for children being educated overseas for the first time. Our international community are always warmly welcomed and gently introduced to the school routine. Our school understands the enormous strength it takes to study away from home and accomplish this by providing seamless pastoral care and embracing a multitude of religions, beliefs and cultures. We cater for expats and international families alike, offering the children a sought-after British education where their unique talents are recognised and celebrated.

9.     Independence

Boarding from a young age is a great way to develop children’s social skills and independence living away from home. Boarding at school allows pupils to benefit from extra-curricular activities, make full use of on-site facilities and be immersed in the school community. Boarding at Millfield Prep is multifaceted, with many options to board full-time, weekly or flexibly from the age of 7. Boarders enjoy the ‘family feel’ of the houses and living with houseparents and other children. With around 130 full-time boarders in our five boarding houses, the school is a hive of activity seven days a week, with exciting trips out on the weekends and fun activities in the evenings. Read a Frequently Asked Questions blog from our Director of Boarding here.

10.  Embedded in the local community

Community spirit is at the heart of Millfield Prep School. As a school, we support a diverse range of local, national and international charities that are close to our hearts. Fundraising initiatives see pupils get involved in cake sales, sport and mufti-days, right through to helping preserve our local nature reserve. Our relationships within the community are a great way to make the children aware of the wider issues in the world and educate them on how they can make a difference.


Find out more about Millfield Prep School at our next Open Day.