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Prep your investment early!

‘Catching up’ education after Covid remains a hot topic and many parents are turning to independent schools for the first time. We talk to Warminster Prep’s Head of Prep, Phil Titley, on why investing early in your child's education has never been so crucial.

Phil Titley

With many parents cashstrapped on the back of a year of lockdowns, why is it still worth spending on a prep school?

Children learn at a quicker rate the younger they are (particularly in Pre-Prep) and more than at any other time in their lives. So, if your child has experienced some setbacks over this past year, as so many have, it’s an opportunity to make up for lost time with small class sizes, low pupil to teacher ratios and experienced and committed staff.

How valuable is teaching that goes beyond the national curriculum? 

Like most schools, we teach to the National Curriculum but at Warminster Prep we’re not constrained by it and offer an extensive curriculum, both in the classroom and in our clubs’ programme, allowing our children to find, explore and develop their individual passions – and we have an extended day to help that happen – kids can be in school between 08:00 and 17:15 and there’s the option to extend this further by flexi-boarding. Children might be learning through play in our forest school one lesson, enjoying the facilities at our neighbouring Senior School the next, or finish their day cosying up on bean bags with a pile of books with a home-made snack. It’s not all about ‘catching up’ – learning happens in all sorts of ways – over lockdowns, the children cooking lunch, caring for animals and sending video messages to absent loved ones all added to a breadth of learning not considered within the typical schemes of work.

What makes Warminter Prep special?

I’m extremely proud of how happy Warminster Prep is – not just for our pupils but for our staff too. We offer a tangible breadth of opportunity and, in every aspect possible, our children are treated as individuals (one of the many advantages of small class sizes). The development of our bespoke skills programmes has helped the children to see for themselves how they are developing in these key areas. Our ‘under the radar’ assessment programme which allows us to track the children’s progress without it being an added pressure has been a phenomenal success and a far cry from the teach-to-test regime of SATs. Parents value the difference this makes to their child’s journey with us, not least that at the end of Year 6, they transition to our Senior School alongside their friends wearing the same uniform, already familiar with our impressive 60-acre campus and raring to make the very most of Year 7 right from day one. Looking to the future, our ethos is to embrace all things green and sustainable, thereby ensuring our planet is in good shape for our pupils’ children. And, it goes without saying that we look to continue to be happy – we never underestimate happiness.

What is your No1 parent tip when researching a Prep School?

Take your time when you visit in person. Be on the lookout for positive relationships between children and children, and adults and children. They are impossible to fabricate. Ultimately, go with your gut; if it feels right, it will be.

WE know we should be encouraging our kids to spend less time looking at screens and more with our noses in real books. What are your top reads for nurturing young minds?

You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed is a great book to share with your children and will help to boost their confidence and yours! Again, with a focus on well-being, The Happy Self Journey, is a fun and reflective framework for keeping a diary and staying positive. Lastly, please take time to teach your children all about the inspirational women in, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2.

Warminster School’s next virtual open day is Saturday 8th May, 10am-1pm.

For a personal tour by Mr Titley and to explore the possibility of your child joining the happy Warminster Prep team, phone 01985 210160 or email admissions@warminsterschool.org.uk. Taster days for September 2021 starters are also possible.

Warminster School, Church Street, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 8PJ. Tel:
01985 210100.

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