THE NEW BEACON, SEVENOAKS
The structure of The New Beacon is such that we get to know each boy – and his family – very well. A staff-pupil ratio of 1:9 helps with class sizes of up to 20 boys.
The Junior School
Pre-Prep ~ Reception to Y2
Accommodated in its own building, the pre-prep builds the foundations for later success. The atmosphere is calm, caring and secure. A positive learning environment based on praise and reward builds confidence. Assemblies see ‘The Golden Book’, the ‘Courtesy Cup’ and many other celebrations. Mornings are generally devoted to language and number work with the afternoons devoted to a wider curriculum: science, topic work, ICT, art and craft, drama, music, swimming PE and games. The curriculum is based on – and exceeds – that of the national curriculum. Regular assessment helps to monitor each boy’s progress, informing future teaching and learning.
Years 3 & 4
The new Junior School building, opened in 2007, is an outstanding facility embracing all you would expect in a classroom along with interactive technology and its own library. Again, morning lessons are more academic with a broader curriculum followed in the afternoon. At the end of Year 4, boys are assessed in preparation for The Middle School and the introduction of a streamed class.
Throughout the junior school the form teacher takes overall charge of a boy’s personal and all-round development, overseen by the Head of Junior School and Head of Pre-Prep. Parents’ interest is encouraged as is involvement in, for example, trips, play productions and the Arts and Crafts day. Many parents come to watch sports fixtures against other schools which begin in Year 4 and boys enjoy their first match tea!
The Middle School ~ Years 5 & 6 ~ 9 to 11
Moving to the main school building brings with it the need for greater independence and responsibility. Form teachers will see their classes every morning, teaching them one (or both) of the core subjects: English and Maths. Monitoring of their welfare and progress is rigorous. The boys are more itinerant using our wide range of purpose-built facilities, enjoying the subject specialist teaching on offer. French is introduced in Year 5 and Latin in Year 6. Boys are taught science in the laboratories and learn art, design & technology in their respective departments. They quickly rise to the challenge, developing independence, taking responsibility for their lives and work.
Assessment for Senior School is becoming more complex. A minority of our boys will take the 11+ to Kent grammar schools, currently taken in September of Y6. As our curriculum is significantly broader than that of a primary school, some additional help is given in preparation for this exam. A number of independent senior schools introduce pre-assessment in Year 6, for example Tonbridge, Eton and Winchester. These assessments take many forms, often including an interview. Preparation is given in all elements: we are familiar with the demands and expectations of top schools.
The Senior School ~ Years 7 & 8 ~ 11 to 13
The structure of The New Beacon is founded on preparing boys for departure at 13 having taken the Common Entrance exam (to independent senior schools) or a scholarship. Boys will be examined in English, Maths, Science, French, Geography, History, Religious Studies and, often, Latin.
While we are unashamedly proud of our academic tradition, standards and expectations, there is a vast amount more to the Senior School than exams. Much happens in a boy’s life between the ages of 11 and 13; he grows from a child into a young adult.
These important years can make an enormous difference. By the time he leaves, we hope that the New Beacon boy will be free-standing, able to take responsibility for his life and learning, able to ask for help when he needs it, confident, rounded, well-mannered, respectful and interesting. He will have had the opportunity to hold a position of responsibility as a prefect, team captain or perhaps a company leader. He might have worked with younger boys through the school council or helped readers in the Junior School. It is this personal and community responsibility which will serve him well when he faces the challenges of Senior School.