A small, rural school in Perthshire where childhood memories are really made. The Ardvreck experience includes plenty of bushcraft skills, muddy puddles and climbing mountains, alongside a nurturing education that is built on small class sizes and a focus on the individual.
Typical of a small prep, there’s a close-knit community with a warm and nurturing environment that many families of young children will be looking for. As a standalone prep school, Ardvreck can offer advantages that an all-through school often cannot – it has the vibe of a small village school, teachers can know every student by name, and the school is designed and equipped only for pre-aged children. It is also solely focused on preparing children for places at the UK’s leading senior schools, and its confidence-building curriculum can certainly equip your child with the skills they need to get there.
The school has just 110 students, with around 40 boarders from as young as seven years. Its smaller size is an advantage as students are helped to discover their strengths and passions; students can expect to become part of a nurturing community where they are given the individual attention needed by teachers and tutors.
Ardvreck also has a very global outlook. As well as welcoming international students, the school runs an English immersion programme for French students every year; children aged seven to 13 join for a summer term, a full academic year or longer, and are offered individual one-to-one language tuition.
The school covers all key areas of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence, enriched with a strong provision for specialist teaching. All year groups have lessons in English, mathematics, computing, and the humanities (history, geography and RE, as well as specialist teaching in French, Latin, art, music, PE, and science.
Located in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, this prep school offers an education that is filled with plenty of fun and hands-on experiences. Wellies, gloves, hats and waterproof trousers are as much a part of the Ardvreck uniform as the bottle green sweaters – and students enjoy all the fun (and mud) of Forest School sessions, whatever the weather!
A week at school is filled with nature walks, campfires, gardening, knot tying, lashing skills, wildflower identification, and (the very safe) use of Laplander saws – all perfectly balanced with an academic curriculum that is broad and rigorous enough to prepare students for 11+ senior school entry – both Common Entrance and scholarship pathways.
It may feel more relaxed than some more academically-focused prep schools, but it is still high achieving. Students leave Ardvreck with places at independent schools in Scotland and England, with many going to Glenalmond College, which has a close relationship with the school.
Students are taken on regular expeditions, known as Barvicks, through the Scottish wilderness. There’s an annual 11-mile yomp through a Scottish glen, called The ‘Ard Challenge, which ends with a huge family feast on the shores of Loch Tay. And, in their last year, all students go on a week-long adventure; after completing their Common Entrance examinations, members of the 6th Form are whisked off for a week of adventures and a Leadership Challenge weekend.
The school has a small boarding community of up to 50 students, all living together in one family-style house on campus. It feels fun, friendly and very family oriented, with the school focusing on giving boarders “the time to enjoy being children”; so expect movie nights, games, talks, walks, and adventures up trees or hills or down rivers, gorges or caves.
Ardvreck also offers flexible boarding option, “for Enid Blyton-esque sleepovers” as it describes them to help busy working parents juggle last-minute trips and late meetings. It also offers all of the benefits of its 24/7 care to day students, from supper to pastoral care.
Students are encouraged by the school to attend open days and taster days before applying for a place to “to get to know the school, the grounds and their future classmates”. Places fill up quickly, with some year groups already very full.
Annual tuition fees range from £8,940 to £18,720 for day students, and £28,110 for boarders.
Good for: Families who want to preserve their child’s childhood will love the wholesome, outdoorsy ethos of Advreck. Those looking for an informal, friendly classroom setting, rather than the pressure-cooker environment of some independent schools will see the advantages of Ardvreck’s. This is a school where students get plenty of fresh air, and an education that balances the academic and adventures, which all feels like a wonderful place to spend your childhood) and most importantly prepare for senior school).
Not for: This is not a school for families searching for a town location or a large student community; its Perthshire location is rural and its cohort of just 110 students will have some limitations when it comes to sports teams, staging plays and so on. It’s a school that is proud to be both ‘academic and adventurous’ which will not align with every parent’s idea of a traditional prep school.
If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.
Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information