For over 100 years, the structure of The New Beacon was founded on preparing boys for departure at 13 having taken the Common Entrance exam (to independent senior schools) or a scholarship.

Since 2020, with fewer senior independent schools requiring Common Entrance and using their own entrance examinations as well as the ISEB pre-test, the school has embarked on a review of the curriculum to take into consideration the entrance requirements for senior school destinations.

Some schools have their own entrance exams. Year 7 and 8 boys will continue to be prepared in all aspects of entry exams they are due to sit. Some boys will sit for academic scholarships, and the New Beacon is proud of its scholarship success over the years.

Throughout the year, each Year 8 boy will work towards The New Beacon Leaving Certificate of Achievement. There will be interim certificates of achievement at the end of the Autumn and Spring Terms. The final Leaving Certificate will be sent to the boys’ future schools.

Parents are urged to keep the school informed of any changes in their choice of senior schools.

Packs of reasoning practice material will be sent out at the start of the summer holidays for any pupils who are required to sit reasoning tests as part of their senior school’s entry exams.

To maintain academic rigour, senior school boys will be examined in English, Mathematics, 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.