Deciding on the right Senior School

In the blink of an eye, your child has gone from pre-prep to a pre-teen. And senior school is looming.

For every parent, next step education is a significant decision and investment. For Pembroke families this decision is often even more complex, as this next step probably means ‘a new country’ or even ‘a new continent’.

Fortunately, Pembroke House prepares the children well for this next stage in their learning journey;

  • Most of our pupils have experienced boarding from a young age so this is one less hurdle to navigate.
  • Common Entrance exams are taken in the Trinity Term of Year 8. However, CE has been the classroom mantra and curriculum focus for most of their senior years.
  • Pembroke is also an ISEB invigilation centre for those children who are required to take this exam route into their chosen school.
  • Those children who need additional academic support have been aided by specialist sessions in the Coach House.
  • Gifted children have been stretched through enrichment classes in core subjects and dedicated scholar sets, that includes interview practice.

Deciding upon the right senior school will be different for every family – perhaps based on budget and geography, but most definitely on the ethos of the school. This needs to align comfortably with the child’s interests and strengths whether that be academic, sporting or the arts. Growing up in East Africa, Pembroke children tend to favour schools that continue to offer a rural, outdoor environment, as opposed to urban settings. For many, team sports are also key, having spent so much of their Pembroke childhood out on the pitches.

Pembroke leavers typically head to Nairobi, South Africa or most commonly seek senior schooling in the UK.

From Year 6, senior schools increasingly offer pre-tests and this is when it’s sensible to start long-listing your preferred schools. Throughout the academic year, Pembroke hosts visiting admissions teams who are happy to chat to prospective parents. Every June, during the Ndume 7’s rugby tournament, a selection of senior schools attend our Next Schools Fair, when parents can informally explore options.

For almost a century, Pembroke House has been forming firm relationships with many of the leading UK schools and is here to offer support and advice – instinctively knowing which schools would suit the individual child.

But remember, visiting each school is so important to really get a tangible feeling about whether they make your shortlist and final application. Selecting a senior school for your child will be a commitment for the next three to five years, taking them up to GCSE and beyond into Sixth Form.


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