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Lisa McDonald, head of Woodford Green Prep School, on why a good prep education should be a option for all children


Tell us what makes Woodford Green Prep School such a special place to work
and learn?

WGPS is simply a wonderful place to be! There are happy and motivated children
who enjoy a variety of learning experiences in a happy, warm and nurturing
environment. We have high aspirations for all of our pupils and there is a steady
sense of academic ambition and scholarship with compromise on pupil wellbeing
and development, breadth of opportunity and fun.


What would you say is the first thing a visitor would notice when arriving at

They would notice really happy children, with ready smiles, whose love for learning
and their community is truly palpable.

Tell us about the key features of a prep school education at WGPS?
At Woodford Green, we are committed to providing an innovative and broad ranging
curriculum that enables our pupils to acquire knowledge and develop skills,
alongside rich and stimulating real life experiences.
Wellbeing and personal development are at the core of all we do and pupils and staff
work and learn in a happy and nurturing environment, where kindness and respect
lead the learning agenda.
The breadth of experiences that we offer pupils allows them all to excel and ignites a
passion in a wealth of subject areas, taught by a highly experienced and committed
team of specialist teachers. In the science lab, art studio, music room and sports
field, pupils become intellectually curious, courageous and independently motivated
learners. It’s about making sure that all children are supported and challenged to be


Can you explain how the 7+ entrance process works?

The school enjoys an excellent reputation and we are fortunate enough to have a
high volume of applications for Year 3 for a limited number of places. This enables
us to begin to build relationships with prospective families early on as they look to
make an important decision about their child’s education. Families can come to the
school for a personal tour before the more formal assessment process. Whilst this
does involve assessments for maths and English, it’s also an opportunity for
prospective pupils to experience life at the school by spending time in class. If a child
has strengths in specific areas of the curriculum such as music, the Head of
Department will also meet with the family to signpost the pathway to scholarship. We
welcome enquiries from prospective 7+ applicants as early as possible in the year
prior to transition.

You offer assisted places too – how does that work?
Prep school education is not exclusive. I believe that all parents should have a
choice as to which type of school to select for their child. Having that freedom of
choice allows parents to select a school environment in which their child will thrive.
We offer assisted places at 7+ to support parents with school fees. This is a means
tested, external assessment following which various levels of financial assistance
may be offered. We have supported a large number of families in recent years, with
all children who leave WGPS in Year 6 gaining places at their senior school of


What about WGPS makes you swell with pride?
The simple answer is the children! Our pupils are kind, well rounded, and curious
individuals with unique personalities. The school’s values-driven focus on personal
development ensures that the pupils, alongside a knowledge rich curriculum, learn
important skills and attributes like being resilient, reflective and principled that enable
them to approach life with confidence and care and an ability to understand
perspectives other than their own.

Typically, where do your pupils head off to once they leave the school?
Our pupils move on to a wide range of senior school settings, from grammar schools,
to state schools and independent senior schools. We continue to be a main feeder
school locally to Bancroft’s, Forest School and Chigwell School, as well as some of
the top senior schools in London, such as City of London Boys, City of London Girls
and Westminster. Senior school transition is much the same as choosing a primary
setting; it’s about supporting parents to select the school that is the best fit for their
child and where they know they will reach their potential.

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