How a co-ed independent school can give your child the best start to their education
- Credit: Cranleigh Prep School
How can you help your child do well at school and set them up for future success?
Deciding which prep school is right for your child can be a big decision, which is why we took the time to chat with Neil Brooks, head at Cranleigh Prep School in Surrey, to find out what qualities parents should be looking for.
Q: How can parents tell what Prep School is best for their son or daughter?
A: You need to find a school where your child feels at home, safe to explore and that will open them up to new experiences. Here at Cranleigh Prep School, we provide a dynamic, nurturing and stimulating school environment where children can flourish.
Young people learn best when they have a strong sense of belonging and are content. High-quality pastoral care is a priority at our Prep School, ensuring students have the confidence, curiosity and support they need to discover more about the world and the part they want to play in it.
Q: How can an early years co-education experience benefit students?
A: Children need to be educated together as early as possible to better understand one another. Co-education is not built on the belief that boys and girls are the same. Instead, it appreciates their differences, teaches each sex to have a healthy respect for one another and fosters an environment of equal opportunity.
Look at any other area of expertise. A surgeon, chef or pilot doesn’t reach the height of their career without years of development first. To truly understand something requires time. Our society values equality across the sexes, so it makes sense for that education to begin from a young age.
At Cranleigh Prep School, boys and girls learn, play and compete together harmoniously. Our well-established house system introduces the fun of lively competition, builds bonds, and develops trust, teamwork, and leadership skills.
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Q: How can learning in a classroom together benefit both boys and girls?
A: Boys and girls learn how to work together meaning they are better at collaborating later in life. We teach a subject called Learning for Life that allows students to develop the skills and knowledge they need to prepare for working and living in Britain today. We visit key issues, like equality, and encourage students to listen and share their views. By teaching students how to communicate, we can develop their awareness and understanding.
Social and emotional development is just as important as academic excellence for helping pupils to become well-rounded, mature individuals.
Q: Why is a rich and varied co-curricular programme essential for helping boys and girls better understand one another?
A: Not all our time is spent in a classroom, and that shouldn’t be the only place pupils learn to work and interact with one another.
We’re lucky to be located in the stunning Surrey countryside, with over 200 acres of outdoor space and amazing on-site sports pitches, swimming pools and drama facilities for students to take advantage of.
Sports, theatre productions, music and art classes are a great place for pupils to develop teamwork skills and discover more about themselves and others.
They can also join a variety of clubs, including creative writing, mindfulness, chess, crafts, patchwork and stone masonry groups. Here, they can bond over a shared interest and learn what life is like in an environment where men and women are treated equally and respectfully, and carry this into the future.
We recently made our boarding facilities co-educational (not including the dormitories) so that the children have even more interaction with one another. Increased time together builds their empathy, which is a crucial skill needed in our potential future leaders and contributory members of society.
Q: How can you apply for a place at Cranleigh Prep School?
A: We teach both boarding and day pupils aged seven to 13. Many younger students take advantage of our flexi-boarding system and weekly bus service that goes in and out of London.
Most upper-year students choose full-time boarding, to help them prepare for the next stage in their educational journey.
We pride ourselves on providing pupils with a welcoming, engaging and enriching environment where they can express themselves, realise their goals, and make the very best start to their education.