Value for money prep schools are those that have a higher Schoolsmith Score per pound spent on fees. So, the more the school offers and achieves in its academic curriculum, sport, arts, outdoor learning, trips, SEN provision, specialist teaching, class sizes, exam results, destination school, pupil progress, etc, and the less it charges, the more value for money it can claim to be.
Sounds simple enough. And the chart shows what we might expect to see when we plot Schoolsmith Score against fees for UK prep schools. For instance, there’s the trendline of increasing score with increasing fees; getting more if we pay more. Additionally, there’s the scattering of schools around the trendline. Schools above the line are offering relatively more value for a given level of fees. Those below are offering less value.
However, we must be careful how we use a nationwide idea of value for money. We know from this article on fees, that prices vary according to geography. Of course, everybody knows how London is more expensive than the rest of the country. So, we can’t meaningfully compare value across the country.
Some commentators confuse value with low cost, in a way they wouldn’t with other goods and services. Unspurprisingly, they find that value-for-money prep schools are in less affluent areas or counties outside the M25.
Yet there are many value for money preps in London, say. And it isn’t inconsistent for the most expensive school to offer the best value.
Value for money is a local measure
Value for money can only be judged on a local basis, comparing prep schools that are local to each other. Local schools have similar catchments, demographics, and competitive pressures. They compete for customers in the same geographic area. How local is local? Well, that’s the arbitrary bit, and it depends on the density of prep schools. It could be a mile radius, as in Hampstead, or a 15-mile radius as in North Oxfordshire.
For schools, it is a perfectly reasonable strategy to be the value-for-money prep. Perhaps by choosing to excel in a smaller subset of the broad curriculum. It is just as valid as being the cheapest prep, or the premium-offer prep.
Value for money prep schools in London
By way of example, the following tables highlight London prep schools that offer higher value for money than others in their local area. Depending on the location, comparisons may be with between four and nine other prep schools.
|Vita et Pax Preparatory School
|Norfolk House School
|St Paul’s Steiner School
|St Martin’s School
|North West London
|Sarum Hall School
|St Margaret’s School, Juniors
|South Hampstead High School, Juniors
|St Christopher’s School
|Hendon Preparatory School
|Buckingham Preparatory School
|The Cavendish School
|St John’s Wood/Camden
|South East London
|Blackheath High Junior School
|St Olave’s Prep School
|Oakfield Preparatory School
|Colfe’s Junior School
|South West London
|Streatham and Clapham Prep School
|Tower House School
|Warlingham Park School
|Royal Russell Junior School
|Laleham Lea School
|Wandsworth Preparatory School
|The Old Vicarage School
|Seaton House School
|Hill House International Junior School
|Heathfield House School
|Avenue House School
|Kensington Prep School
|St James Preparatory School
|Queen’s College Preparatory School
|The Lloyd Williamson Lower School
|Westminster Cathedral Choir School
|Donhead Preparatory School
For more on value for money prep schools, or any comparison of prep and primary schools, please get in touch.