Admissions to West Sussex independent school, Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School
The best way to decide if our West Sussex prep school, Sompting Abbotts, is right for your child is to come and meet us, tour the school and grounds, and spend some time getting to know our ethos, children and staff. There are a few ways you can do this:
Come to one of our Open Days
We hold regular Open Days throughout the year. Just check our school calendar here to find out when our next Open Day takes place.
Arrange a private visit
As well as offering Open Days, we welcome you, and your child if you wish, to visit our school anytime. This means you can see the school on a normal school day, meet our teachers and observe our family school first hand. To book your school visit, contact our friendly school office team on 01903 235960 or complete our enquiry form here on this page.
Book a taster day for your child
We're always willing to have your child come for taster days to see if they feel they'll be happy with us. Prospective pupils often spend a day with us, with the exception of the very young. Your child will be shown around the school, allocated a buddy (which often expands to two or three!), get to meet his or her future classmates and sample a home-cooked lunch.
Visit our Early Years Nursery
If you're a parent of a nursery-aged child, you're welcome to visit us with or without your child. If you decide you'd like your child to join, we'll make a plan for attendance to best suit your situation. We're very flexible about the number of days or half-day sessions you want. Your child will normally attend two to three 'settling-in' sessions before starting (no charge is made for these). You can find out more about our nursery here.
Can my child join the school mid-way through term?
Yes, pupils can join us at the outset of the term or at any time during the school year, providing a place is available. Details of registration and fees are included in our prospectus. We assign a 'buddy' for all new pupils joining mid-way to help them integrate quickly and get to know the school, its routines and surroundings.
Do you have any selections criteria?
No. We're a small family-run school that aims to make all children, from whatever their background, feel welcome and valued. We have a non-competitive policy and our intake is mixed ability. In the unlikely event that all members of the management staff feel that the child would not benefit from the school’s stated aims, ethos and behaviour policy, a place would be declined; this would be communicated to the parents verbally; and in writing if requested.
Is there an entrance test my child has to do?
No, There's no formal examination. On your child's taster day, we'll give him or her some informal attainment tasks to assess general standards and potential. The Headmaster will conditionally offer a place based upon this and the teacher's observations and receipt of a report from your child’s previous school. After receipt of completed registration forms and a non-refundable deposit of £100, we'll send you all the relevant documents and forms to fill in, plus our uniform list. (We have a second-hand uniform store at school that many parents make use of.)
How do you allocate places?
On a first-come first-served basis, with preferential treatment given where places exist to siblings of pupils already at the school and to children of former pupils.
Is Sompting Abbotts Preparatory School a West Sussex prep school that's a 'feeder' to a particular senior school?
No, we're completely independent. We believe it's more important to find the right school for the child rather than be a 'feeder'. We've an enviable record of children obtaining places at their first choice of school, as well as for winning scholarships and other awards. Every year, we organise events to which we invite Heads, or their representatives, from a selection of schools, to speak to parents. We're also knowledgeable about which schools would suit which child and happy to guide parents on this. The most frequent destination senior schools for our pupils include Lancing College, Brighton College, Hurstpierpoint College, Christ's Hospital, Our Lady of Sion, Shoreham College and The Towers. Many children also go on at Year 9 to Steyning Grammar, for which they are automatically eligible by dint of attendance at Sompting Abbotts.
What if I'm not planning to send my child to a senior school?
Not all our parents do. Our pupils go on at Year 9 to a mix of public senior schools and state secondary schools. All children attending Sompting Abbotts are also eligible for entry to Steyning Grammar.
How is your school inspected?
We're inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Ofsted, on behalf of the UK’s Department of Education, monitors the ISI. We're also regulated by the IAPS, the Independent Association of Prep Schools, alongside 650 of the world’s leading prep schools in membership. Schools must reach a very high standard to be eligible for IAPS membership, with strict criteria on teaching a broad curriculum, maintaining excellent standards of pastoral care and keeping staff members’ professional development training up to date. Although each IAPS school is independent, and has its own ethos, it must demonstrate full commitment to delivering an excellent, well-rounded education to the pupils in its care.
How much does an education at Sompting Abbotts cost?
Less than you might think. About the same as the average cost of annual day nursery care. We have flexible payment plans and all before-school and after-school care or wrap-around care (7.30am-6pm for Prep, 8am-4.30pm for Pre-Prep) is free.
What do you get for your money?
An outstanding and genuinely ‘rounded’ education; small class sizes (max 15); no child gets ‘lost in a crowd’ and all abilities are nurtured; beautiful grounds for your child to enjoy for forest school, nature activities and sports; more ‘enrichment’ or extra-curricular choices than in a state school, especially in arts, music and drama; top-notch computer literacy and free wrap-around care (8am-4.30pm for children aged 2-7; 7.30am-6pm for children aged 7-13).
Is it worth the money?
Sompting Abbotts achieves 100% success rate in the Common Entrance exam and 95% success rate for Scholarship entrance.
Attending an independent school in England is associated with the equivalent of two additional years of schooling by the age of 16, according to ISC figures.
Pupils have a happy, safe childhood, and develop strong confidence in themselves, in public speaking and performance. These ‘soft’ and ‘people’ skills will be an invaluable asset to their lives ahead.
Any extras for parents?
We've a busy social calendar for parents organised by SAPA (Sompting Abbotts Parents Association). Unlike many independent schools, our wrap-around care is totally free and included in the fees. Our school swimming pool, grounds and tennis courts are free to parents and children to use in the summer holidays. Parents are free to use our dog walking trail around our 30 acres of wooded grounds.
Download our full admissions policy here.