Excellent nurseries and preparatory schools in Essex

The best nurseries and prep schools in Essex (photo: monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The best nurseries and prep schools in Essex (photo: monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto) - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Early childhood education is very important, so give your child a great start with one of these exclusive pre schools in Essex

New Hall School (photo courtesy of the school)

New Hall School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: New Hall School


New Hall School, Chelmsford

From the moment you join the Preparatory Divisions at New Hall School, you become part of a family. The School is dedicated to ensuring that children can develop as well-rounded individuals.

New Hall operates the highly successful ‘diamond model’ structure, that is, co-education in the Nursery and Preparatory Divisions (ages 1-11), single-sex education in the Girls’ & Boys’ Divisions (11-16) and co-education in the Sixth Form (16-18).

In this way, New Hall provides the best of both worlds; the benefits of a co-educational environment, together with the advantages of girls and boys being taught separately during the formative years of adolescence.

This enables students to grow in confidence, whilst enjoying an education that is specifically tailored and that recognises the different ways in which boys and girls learn.

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The School’s Pre-Prep expansion will see an additional Reception class introduced for day pupils, alongside the brand new, purpose built Nursery which opened in September 2019 for pupils aged 1-4. New Hall Nursery offers year-round wraparound care, with extra provision from 7.30am-6.30pm.

The Avenue, Boreham, Chelmsford CM3 3HS; newhallschool.co.uk


St Margaret's Prep School (photo courtesy of the school)

St Margaret's Prep School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: St Margaret's Prep School


St Margaret’s Preparatory School, Gosfield

St Margaret’s Preparatory School is an independent co-educational school in Gosfield, for children from ages 2 to 11. Established since 1946 they are renowned for developing exceptionally well-rounded pupils with a love of learning.

Their specially designed Nursery is at the heart of the school. Offering specialist teaching across the curriculum, combined with a home from home family feel, they give your child the very best start.

As they grow, small class sizes continue into all areas across the curriculum for Pre-Prep and Prep, giving your child many opportunities to grow intellectually, physically and socially. They help them to discover the joy in new things and find out what really drives them, across a broad range of subjects and activities. From languages, science and maths, to sport and all aspects of the arts, with a particular strength in music, they have something to suit every child.

With seven acres of peaceful grounds to play, explore and build life-long friendships, they make learning fun and exciting with Forest School, curriculum enrichment and a passion for outdoor learning.

The truly preparatory ethos of St Margaret’s opens up a life of choices for their next stage. At the end of their time with them, all pupils leave for the senior school of their choosing, typically being offered a scholarship, grammar school place or both. Arrange a visit to see why St Margaret’s is a very special place to learn and love school.

Gosfield Hall Park, Gosfield CO9 1SE; admissions@stmargaretsprep.com; stmargaretsprep.com


St John's School (photo courtesy of the school)

St John's School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: St John's School


St John’s School, Billericay

From the moment a child enters St John’s, whatever their age, they are treated as an individual. Kindergarten pupils benefit from having specialist teachers for Music and PE.

Junior pupils study verbal and non-verbal reasoning and continue to have specialist teachers for the subjects above and also for French, Art and Computing.

Senior School pupils follow a broad curriculum, with GCSE courses including PE, Art, Drama, French, Spanish, Geography, History, Music, Computing, Statistics and traditional core subjects.

Pupils make excellent progress throughout the school. Their passion is to ensure that when a child leaves St. John’s School they have fully achieved their potential.

They instil all the virtues of politeness, integrity and consideration of others into pupils, creating a magical atmosphere where learning, creativity and success is enjoyed by everyone. See for yourself first-hand the unique opportunities St. John’s School has to offer both academically and socially.

47-49 Stock Road, Billericay CM12 0AR; 01277 623070; stjohnsschool.net; facebook.com/StJBillericay


Oxford House School (photo courtesy of the school)

Oxford House School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: Oxford House School


Oxford House School, Colchester

Oxford House, a beautiful Victorian mansion in Colchester is a nursery and preparatory school for boys and girls aged two and a half to 11 years.

Activities in the nursery are Montessori based and aim to develop sensory skills and dexterity as well as a firm knowledge of number and language. Small class sizes enable dedicated staff to channel and differentiate accordingly to each pupil. All children are given one to one help every day to become confident readers.

The breadth of the curriculum is enhanced by a wide variety of activities. Pupils are introduced to dance, music, science, computer technology and cooking at an early age and are encouraged to develop a keen interest in nature and the world around them.

The school encourages high standards in behaviour and manners as well as in academic achievement. They are proud of all their pupils, many of whom go on to our local grammar schools. They aim for every child to discover ‘joy in achievement’.

Oxford House achieves a happy, safe and secure environment for your sons and daughters to learn and develop while providing a secure foundation for their growing success. They warmly welcome you to visit the school.

2-4 Lexden Road, Colchester CO3 3NE; oxfordhouseschool.net


Colchester High School (photo courtesy of the school)

Colchester High School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: Colchester High School, Essex


Colchester High School

Colchester High School is a small co-educational independent school for ages 2½ to 16, where a welcoming environment and inspiring teachers build confidence and strength of character to help children achieve their full potential.

Focused on ‘Building a Bright Future for All’, the school nurtures a global perspective and mindfulness for social responsibility in its students - an education that lasts throughout their lives.

The foundations of this philosophy are laid in the all-year-round Nursery, where experienced practitioners engage each child with an individually targeted blend of free-flowing play and formal learning. This is built on in the Lower School, which offers a broad curriculum designed to develop a vibrant community of inquisitive minds. It is completed in the Senior School, where subject-specialist teachers help pupils meet the school’s high expectations, widen their horizons and prepare them for the future.

To support the school’s whole-child philosophy, the team encourages all pupils to participate in the Character Development Programme, the ‘Wellesley Award’, which inspires them to focus on personal character development, global citizenship, creative expression and mental and physical wellbeing.

This year, Colchester High School will distribute 1-2-1 devices for every pupil from Year 3. Building on the momentum of the school’s successful delivery of online learning during lockdown, pupils will continue to benefit from the use of technology to support and enhance their learning, inspiring creativity and collaboration and developing autonomous learners.

Wellesley Road, Colchester CO3 3HD; 01206 217116; colchesterhighschool.co.uk


The nursery at Brentwood Preperatory School (photo courtesy of the school)

The nursery at Brentwood Preperatory School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: Brentwood Preperatory School


Brentwood School

The final touches are now being put to a major programme of improvement work at Brentwood Preparatory School which will see it at the forefront of cutting edge educational facilities. The multi-million pound investment at the Prep School, in Middleton Hall Lane, has seen new buildings erected; the refurbishment and upgrading of existing buildings, and improvements to external areas and landscaping.

The new and refurbished buildings have also resulted in an increase in the School roll; expanded and re-organised Early Years facilities; new Assembly and Dining amenities; and a suite of state-of-the-art specialist teaching areas.

From the age of three, Brentwood Prep welcomes children into a community that is small enough to feel secure, but large enough to offer a huge breadth of experiences. Facilities at its new full-time Nursery and 7.30am-6pm wraparound provision, run in-house by school staff, are second to none.

‘We see ourselves as privileged to be with children as they embark on one of the greatest journeys in life: education. It is in these early years that they begin to investigate the world with great expectation, interest and energy. It is in these early years that we can show them the world is indeed a feast for the curious and full of opportunities.’

Much has changed since Brentwood Prep was founded in 1892, but the school motto of Virtue, Learning & Manners remains and you will see that in droves when you visit, so book a tour with Prep Admissions Manager, Mrs Laura Williams, on 01277 243291.

Middleton Hall Lane, Brentwood CM15 8EE; brentwoodschool.co.uk


Thorpe Hall School (photo courtesy of the school)

Thorpe Hall School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: Thorpe Hall School


Thorpe Hall School, Southend-on-Sea

‘Excellence & Innovation in Early Years’

The enriched curriculum designed by the Early Years team at Thorpe Hall School provides its youngest pupils with a wealth of opportunities for them to explore the world around them, develop their awareness and independence, grow in confidence and become successful learners.

Personal Social and Emotional Development (PSED) underpins all learning in the school’s nursery and reception classes, with all team members fully appreciating the value of these skills and the role they play in every child’s success.

In end of year EYFS data analysis, 98.2% of children at Thorpe Hall achieved the level expected or beyond in all areas of PSED, a level way above the national average.

Thorpe Hall’s pioneering initiatives also gained national recognition from the Independent Schools Association with an award for Excellence & Innovation in Early Years in 2017 and another for Pupils’ Wellbeing in 2019.

Wakering Road, Southend-on-Sea SS1 3RD; thorpehall.southend.sch.uk


Dame Bradbury's School, Stephen Perse Foundation (photo courtesy of the school)

Dame Bradbury's School, Stephen Perse Foundation (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: Dame Bradbury's School, Stephen Perse Foundation


Stephen Perse Foundation Nurseries, Saffron Walden

Three new nursery schools are now available from the Stephen Perse Foundation: Dame Bradbury’s School in Saffron Walden, Salisbury Villas in Cambridge, and Madingley, also in Cambridge. Families seeking wraparound care for children aged one year upwards can access Early Years education and the exceptional teaching and learning expertise provided by well-qualified and highly motivated staff that are standard across all Stephen Perse schools.

Early Years education at Stephen Perse is based on the Forest School model where children have access on each site to natural spaces. A love of learning outdoors every day is supported by an understanding of the changing seasons and natural world.

This child-centred inspirational learning process supports play, exploration and supported risk-taking and encourages children to use their initiative to solve problems. Typically lasting two hours a day, the outside Forest School sessions support active lifestyles and the development of curiosity and understanding about plant and animal life, helping children to appreciate and enjoy being outside.

The Stephen Perse values of sustainability, environmental appreciation and social responsibility are part of the nursery school ethos. Healthy eating is encouraged through the provision of locally sourced high quality and freshly prepared nutritionally balanced meals.

Stephen Perse staff are professional, caring, and friendly who work in partnership with parents to understand and nurture each child. Children can then progress from the nursery through to Kindergarten, Reception and then to the Junior School at Dame Bradbury’s.

Ashdon Road, Saffron Walden CB10 2AL; stephenperse.com


Holmwood House School (photo courtesy of the school)

Holmwood House School (photo courtesy of the school) - Credit: Holmwood House School, Essex


Holmwood House School and Nursery, Colchester

Holmwood House School is a leading co-educational preparatory school and nursery for children aged 6 months to 13 years. Founded in 1922, the school has stayed true to its heritage and tradition whilst pioneering new technology and innovation.

Occupying over 25 acres of beautiful grounds in Lexden near Colchester, the school provides an inspiring learning environment through a broad curriculum, extensive range of extra-curricular activities and opportunities to experience independence through overnight stays and flexible boarding.

Holmwood House sparks curiosity and ignites wonder in each and every child, allowing them to develop individuality, confidence and tenacity to reach their true potential and achieve personal success.

Working in partnership with parents, the school provides a genuinely happy and supportive community of inquisitive learners who successfully transition to a broad range of day and boarding schools in Essex, Suffolk and across the UK.

To enquire about place availability, email admissions@holmwood.house

Chitts Hill, Lexden, Colchester Essex CO3 9ST; holmwood.house





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