Subjects

We seek to inspire your son to achieve his full potential. The Beacon promotes the highest standards of academic achievement through consistently excellent teaching and learning. We call this Beacon Excellence.

We believe The Beacon is a leading independent boys’ prep school, offering a truly world-class education delivered by dedicated professionals in a stimulating environment, to prepare boys for the world of tomorrow as they mature into young men.

From its earliest stages in Reception, our curriculum aims to foster a lifelong love of learning and curiosity in our boys. At the other end of the school, in Years 7 and 8, boys benefit from the PSB with its skills-based approach. The Beacon pioneered the original development of the PSB, which is welcomed by leading senior schools as a framework offering rigorous standards

There can be few prep schools with a curriculum as diverse as The Beacon’s (and facilities to match). These pages give a flavour of what is on offer – from Cooking and Nutrition to our unique International Studies programme. The Academic team are always seeking to further develop our curricular offering to keep it up-to-date, balanced and relevant.

Art

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Art

Art stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a unique way of understanding and responding to the world.

At The Beacon boys use colour, form, texture, pattern and different materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think. Through artistic activities, they learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions, becoming actively involved in shaping environments. They explore ideas and meanings in the work of artists, craftspeople and designers. They learn about the diverse roles and functions of art, craft and design in contemporary life and in different times and cultures.

Art in Reception to Year 3 is taught in the classroom by class teachers. Boys develop a wide range of skills to ensure they enjoy Art and to engender positive attitudes and develop confidence. Much of the work is thematically based to reflect and support work being done in other subjects.

Art in Years 4 to 8 is taught in a large purpose built studio. Opportunities are provided for using a wide range of materials and equipment. The studio has a kiln attached to enhance the use of ceramics. There are computers to aid internet research and digital cameras to enable work to be captured and manipulated accordingly. Discussion and critical evaluation of boys’ work is encouraged.

Art is taught by specialised teachers. We aim to provide a wide, varied and enjoyable curriculum in which boys can discover their strengths and learn to become independent artists.

Michelle Jackson – Head of Art

 

Classics & Latin

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Classics & Latin

At The Beacon, both Latin language and Classics are studied by boys in Years 6 to 8. Latin language lessons, with its focus on discovering meaning through careful textual analysis, place a strong emphasis on developing transferable cognitive skills. Studying Latin also gives our students a valuable opportunity to investigate the underlying grammatical structure of all our modern European languages, including English.

In Classics lessons, the study of Roman history and civilisation sheds light on the foundations of European societies. Stories from Greek and Roman mythology provide an opportunity for philosophical investigation and discussion.

In both Latin and Classics, our Core Prep School Baccalaureate skills are continuously developed, especially those of independent thinking, problem solving and critical thinking.

In February 2019, the Classics Department organised a successful week-long trip to Pompeii and the Bay of Naples.

Mark Walker – Head of Classics

 

Design & Technology
(DT and Cooking & Nutrition)

X

Design & Technology
(DT and Cooking & Nutrition)

From Reception to Year 3 at The Beacon, boys are taught Design Technology by their class teachers and cover projects like pneumatic monsters, creating photo frames and making fruit salad. From Year 4, our boys enjoy Design Technology and Cooking & Nutrition, taught by specialist teachers.

In Design Technology, imaginative ideas lead to products of flair and creativity. There is a good balance between traditional handwork skills and the use of computers to design and manufacture. The DT Workshop has the latest CAM technology, including a laser cutter, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter and a 3D printer. By using computer-aided design programmes and doing practical work using drills, saws, 3D printers and laser cutters, the boys’ confidence grows as their skills and knowledge in design develop. The boys have a lot of fun building their projects; examples include pinball machines, wooden boxes, sweetie bowls and key rings. The boys are so proud of their creations!

Boys are taught Cooking & Nutrition in a well-equipped Food Technology room and gain an understanding of different cooking techniques and food safety. In Cooking & Nutrition, we focus on five key areas throughout the year:

  • The Eatwell Guide and its important for a healthy diet.
  • Making favourite dishes healthier using different cooking methods and recipes.
  • Linking dishes to curriculum topics in other subjects such as Geography and History.
  • Looking at how we can be more sustainable in terms of ingredients we choose and where we source them. We use the produce grown in our kitchen garden as inspiration for recipes we cook in practicals.
  • Encouraging cooking at home to harness family time in the kitchen and develop enjoyment of cooking together.

We focus on a holistic approach to Cooking & Nutrition lessons, where the boys understand the connection, and gain a sense of satisfaction and appreciation, from growing their own produce to learning the skills required to prepare and cook their produce. Our Master Cook competition is a fun way for boys to gain further confidence in the kitchen. We nurture a lifelong love for cooking.

Design and Technology at The Beacon helps develop the boys’ life skills through collaborative working and problem solving, and a knowledge of design using a range of materials. It encourages their creativity and innovation. Your son will leave The Beacon with a passion for Design and Technology and a head start in their DT/STEM careers.

Ivan Van Rooyen – Head of Design & Technology

 

X

Art

Art stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a unique way of understanding and responding to the world.

At The Beacon boys use colour, form, texture, pattern and different materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think. Through artistic activities, they learn to make informed judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions, becoming actively involved in shaping environments. They explore ideas and meanings in the work of artists, craftspeople and designers. They learn about the diverse roles and functions of art, craft and design in contemporary life and in different times and cultures.

Art in Reception to Year 3 is taught in the classroom by class teachers. Boys develop a wide range of skills to ensure they enjoy Art and to engender positive attitudes and develop confidence. Much of the work is thematically based to reflect and support work being done in other subjects.

Art in Years 4 to 8 is taught in a large purpose built studio. Opportunities are provided for using a wide range of materials and equipment. The studio has a kiln attached to enhance the use of ceramics. There are computers to aid internet research and digital cameras to enable work to be captured and manipulated accordingly. Discussion and critical evaluation of boys’ work is encouraged.

Art is taught by specialised teachers. We aim to provide a wide, varied and enjoyable curriculum in which boys can discover their strengths and learn to become independent artists.

Michelle Jackson – Head of Art

 

X

Classics & Latin

At The Beacon, both Latin language and Classics are studied by boys in Years 6 to 8. Latin language lessons, with its focus on discovering meaning through careful textual analysis, place a strong emphasis on developing transferable cognitive skills. Studying Latin also gives our students a valuable opportunity to investigate the underlying grammatical structure of all our modern European languages, including English.

In Classics lessons, the study of Roman history and civilisation sheds light on the foundations of European societies. Stories from Greek and Roman mythology provide an opportunity for philosophical investigation and discussion.

In both Latin and Classics, our Core Prep School Baccalaureate skills are continuously developed, especially those of independent thinking, problem solving and critical thinking.

In February 2019, the Classics Department organised a successful week-long trip to Pompeii and the Bay of Naples.

Mark Walker – Head of Classics

 

X

Design & Technology
(DT and Cooking & Nutrition)

From Reception to Year 3 at The Beacon, boys are taught Design Technology by their class teachers and cover projects like pneumatic monsters, creating photo frames and making fruit salad. From Year 4, our boys enjoy Design Technology and Cooking & Nutrition, taught by specialist teachers.

In Design Technology, imaginative ideas lead to products of flair and creativity. There is a good balance between traditional handwork skills and the use of computers to design and manufacture. The DT Workshop has the latest CAM technology, including a laser cutter, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter and a 3D printer. By using computer-aided design programmes and doing practical work using drills, saws, 3D printers and laser cutters, the boys’ confidence grows as their skills and knowledge in design develop. The boys have a lot of fun building their projects; examples include pinball machines, wooden boxes, sweetie bowls and key rings. The boys are so proud of their creations!

Boys are taught Cooking & Nutrition in a well-equipped Food Technology room and gain an understanding of different cooking techniques and food safety. In Cooking & Nutrition, we focus on five key areas throughout the year:

  • The Eatwell Guide and its important for a healthy diet.
  • Making favourite dishes healthier using different cooking methods and recipes.
  • Linking dishes to curriculum topics in other subjects such as Geography and History.
  • Looking at how we can be more sustainable in terms of ingredients we choose and where we source them. We use the produce grown in our kitchen garden as inspiration for recipes we cook in practicals.
  • Encouraging cooking at home to harness family time in the kitchen and develop enjoyment of cooking together.

We focus on a holistic approach to Cooking & Nutrition lessons, where the boys understand the connection, and gain a sense of satisfaction and appreciation, from growing their own produce to learning the skills required to prepare and cook their produce. Our Master Cook competition is a fun way for boys to gain further confidence in the kitchen. We nurture a lifelong love for cooking.

Design and Technology at The Beacon helps develop the boys’ life skills through collaborative working and problem solving, and a knowledge of design using a range of materials. It encourages their creativity and innovation. Your son will leave The Beacon with a passion for Design and Technology and a head start in their DT/STEM careers.

Ivan Van Rooyen – Head of Design & Technology

 

Drama

X

Drama

Boys at The Beacon have the opportunity to develop their acting and performance skills through both class drama, clubs, workshops and productions. Class work includes improvisation, characterisation, script work, stage skills and physical theatre. Extra-curricular drama is offered through year appropriate drama clubs, performance opportunities in a range of styles and genres and the provision of holiday workshops which explore a variety of performance techniques.

The Drama Department enjoys a vast range of facilities. Our studio theatre is used for weekly drama lessons and doubles up as an intimate 70-seater performance space. There is also a dedicated LAMDA teaching room used by four visiting specialists. The school also boasts a purpose-built 200-seater theatre, where all the large-scale productions are staged. All boys have at least one performance opportunity during each school year.

Over 100 boys currently receive weekly LAMDA tuition, which is delivered in small groups, duos, and, as the boys get older, solo tuition. The four visiting LAMDA staff are all industry professionals and they provide a high calibre of teaching and direction. Many boys go on to achieve drama scholarships at a range of senior schools. Boys in the Pre-Prep are also offered the opportunity to join a Drama club and have Drama, Music and Movement incorporated within their timetable.

Performing Arts is very strong at The Beacon and the school is proud of its reputation in this area. Boys have taken three productions in recent years to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the latest being ‘Bugsy Malone’ in 2018 which sold out and gained 5* reviews, an achievement of which we are extremely proud. The boys here have exceptional opportunities to develop their creative skills and learn to communicate, cooperate and collaborate with others.

Zenelle Oosthuizen – Head of Drama

English

X

English

Our mission at The Beacon is to foster a lifelong love of English. Our English curriculum is a working document: constantly reviewed and revised in order to implement new ideas and to accommodate year groups with specific needs and talents. This will inspire our boys to become creative thinkers, speakers and writers across the curriculum.

The Beacon’s dynamic English Department is divided into four sections with an English coordinator in all of them and the departmental head overseeing English across the whole school.

Years 7 and 8 classes are organised into sets for English, thus giving boys of all abilities room to flourish. We have a history of excellent results in English entrance examinations to senior schools. Additional enrichment opportunities form part of a Beacon boy’s experience, for example Write Path, visiting authors and poets, BBC Young Reporters and drama performances such as ‘Gothic Tales’.

English teachers work closely with the Learning Support team. This partnership enables us to provide targeted support both for boys with difficulties with literacy and also for those who are more able in the subject.

The Accelerated Reading Programme for boys from Years 5 to 7  has been a huge success. We are very proud to award ‘AR Word Millionaires’ based on words read monitoring – most impressive!

Understanding of text is often supported by the Drama department, which recently included a performance based on ‘Macbeth’ in Year 5.

Oracy and discussion skills as well as confidence in public speaking and presenting are nurtured by both departments throughout the school, our annual Year 6 Balloon Debate being a brilliant example of this.

Nikki Olhausen – Head of English

Games

X

Games

Sport for all is exactly what The Beacon provides. At whatever level your son is playing, he will be coached and encouraged to develop a love for sport which will last a lifetime. The coaching is focused towards producing teams that can perform in inter-school fixtures, by helping the boys to learn individual and team skills and teaching them to apply tactics appropriate to their age and ability.

All boys in Years 3 to 8, regardless of ability, represent The Beacon in team matches. With over 40 Sport teams, the boys enjoyed 750 sports fixtures last year. During the Games sessions, all boys are coached in the major team games, which include rugby, football and cricket. Playing sport promotes self-esteem and confidence, helping the boys build strengths in perseverance, resilience, teamwork and leadership.

Competition is an important component in the development of the boys as they are exposed to emotions involved in winning and losing. There are high expectations of sportsmanship and manners from all levels and ages of teams. Emphasis is placed on the level of performance as an individual and team level.

We have a high expectation that the boys will be gracious in victory and honourable in defeat, and at all times be good guests or hosts. Courtesy, good manners and a high level of sportsmanship are important Beacon values on the playing fields. During his time at The Beacon, your son will gain vital skills for adulthood; teamwork, creativity and a ‘can do’ attitude with a ‘never give up’ determination.

David Robinson – Director of Sport

X

Drama

Boys at The Beacon have the opportunity to develop their acting and performance skills through both class drama, clubs, workshops and productions. Class work includes improvisation, characterisation, script work, stage skills and physical theatre. Extra-curricular drama is offered through year appropriate drama clubs, performance opportunities in a range of styles and genres and the provision of holiday workshops which explore a variety of performance techniques.

The Drama Department enjoys a vast range of facilities. Our studio theatre is used for weekly drama lessons and doubles up as an intimate 70-seater performance space. There is also a dedicated LAMDA teaching room used by four visiting specialists. The school also boasts a purpose-built 200-seater theatre, where all the large-scale productions are staged. All boys have at least one performance opportunity during each school year.

Over 100 boys currently receive weekly LAMDA tuition, which is delivered in small groups, duos, and, as the boys get older, solo tuition. The four visiting LAMDA staff are all industry professionals and they provide a high calibre of teaching and direction. Many boys go on to achieve drama scholarships at a range of senior schools. Boys in the Pre-Prep are also offered the opportunity to join a Drama club and have Drama, Music and Movement incorporated within their timetable.

Performing Arts is very strong at The Beacon and the school is proud of its reputation in this area. Boys have taken three productions in recent years to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the latest being ‘Bugsy Malone’ in 2018 which sold out and gained 5* reviews, an achievement of which we are extremely proud. The boys here have exceptional opportunities to develop their creative skills and learn to communicate, cooperate and collaborate with others.

Zenelle Oosthuizen – Head of Drama

X

English

Our mission at The Beacon is to foster a lifelong love of English. Our English curriculum is a working document: constantly reviewed and revised in order to implement new ideas and to accommodate year groups with specific needs and talents. This will inspire our boys to become creative thinkers, speakers and writers across the curriculum.

The Beacon’s dynamic English Department is divided into four sections with an English coordinator in all of them and the departmental head overseeing English across the whole school.

Years 7 and 8 classes are organised into sets for English, thus giving boys of all abilities room to flourish. We have a history of excellent results in English entrance examinations to senior schools. Additional enrichment opportunities form part of a Beacon boy’s experience, for example Write Path, visiting authors and poets, BBC Young Reporters and drama performances such as ‘Gothic Tales’.

English teachers work closely with the Learning Support team. This partnership enables us to provide targeted support both for boys with difficulties with literacy and also for those who are more able in the subject.

The Accelerated Reading Programme for boys from Years 5 to 7  has been a huge success. We are very proud to award ‘AR Word Millionaires’ based on words read monitoring – most impressive!

Understanding of text is often supported by the Drama department, which recently included a performance based on ‘Macbeth’ in Year 5.

Oracy and discussion skills as well as confidence in public speaking and presenting are nurtured by both departments throughout the school, our annual Year 6 Balloon Debate being a brilliant example of this.

Nikki Olhausen – Head of English

X

Games

Sport for all is exactly what The Beacon provides. At whatever level your son is playing, he will be coached and encouraged to develop a love for sport which will last a lifetime. The coaching is focused towards producing teams that can perform in inter-school fixtures, by helping the boys to learn individual and team skills and teaching them to apply tactics appropriate to their age and ability.

All boys in Years 3 to 8, regardless of ability, represent The Beacon in team matches. With over 40 Sport teams, the boys enjoyed 750 sports fixtures last year. During the Games sessions, all boys are coached in the major team games, which include rugby, football and cricket. Playing sport promotes self-esteem and confidence, helping the boys build strengths in perseverance, resilience, teamwork and leadership.

Competition is an important component in the development of the boys as they are exposed to emotions involved in winning and losing. There are high expectations of sportsmanship and manners from all levels and ages of teams. Emphasis is placed on the level of performance as an individual and team level.

We have a high expectation that the boys will be gracious in victory and honourable in defeat, and at all times be good guests or hosts. Courtesy, good manners and a high level of sportsmanship are important Beacon values on the playing fields. During his time at The Beacon, your son will gain vital skills for adulthood; teamwork, creativity and a ‘can do’ attitude with a ‘never give up’ determination.

David Robinson – Director of Sport

Geography

X

Geography

At The Beacon we bring Geography alive with a series of engaging topics highly relevant to our modern society, using current affairs and global issues as anchor points for the boys’ comprehension of the subject.

Our boys develop a life-long love of Geography, through enquiry-based teaching and learning inside the classroom and further afield. They enjoy exploring the world and putting their learnt skills into practice through hands-on field work, residential trips and workshops

A number of boys have also achieved scholarships in Geography, which is testament to the varied and well thought out curriculum we teach.

Whether it is academic excellence, or simply an understanding of the world in which we live, Geography offers a wealth of learning opportunities for our boys.

Rebecca Barkham – Head of Geography

History

X

History

History is taught throughout The Beacon from Reception to Year 8, culminating in scholarship level work for the most able. The syllabus is based on the National Curriculum guidelines and tailored to meet the demands of senior school entrance exams in Years 7 and 8.

In Pre-Prep, the teaching of History is largely oral and involves mostly comparison and contrast between the past and the present. Boys are introduced to the idea that famous people have lived before us and that their lives were meaningful and above all interesting, drawing upon the lives of significant men, women and children from the history of Britain. In Year 2, the boys focus on the Second World War, enjoying an interactive day at the end of the year.

In Years 3 and 4 boys learn about the Ancient Egyptians, as well as the Romans and Vikings. Kings and queens, explorers and the differences between the rich and the poor in Tudor England are studied in Year 5. In Year 6, boys study life in Medieval England with unit topics covering the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. Furthermore, we look at the significance of the Magna Carta. Our boys experience many hands-on events, workshops and visits, for example Ancient Egyptian and Viking days, a visit to St Albans Cathedral and a Tudor day at Sulgrave Manor.

Boys in Years 7 and 8 follow a chronological course of study, beginning with the Battle of Hastings, including Henry II and Becket and changes to the Church during the Tudor period. In Year 8, the boys study the Western Front in World War I, including cross-curriculum work on World War I poetry. This includes a trip to the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. The boys then study British history from 1750 – 1900, including Empire and Industrial Revolution.

It is through learning about the past that children begin to understand the present and the effect their actions will have on the future. At The Beacon we inspire boys to understand and interpret the past, to trigger their spirit of enquiry and stimulate their imagination – to carry them off into the past, evoking interest and curiosity.

Stephen Winter – Head of History

ICT

X

ICT

From Reception, boys have weekly ICT lessons. In the Early Years this will focus on building algorithms to control small robots. This continues into Pre-Prep where they will design, build and program robots using iPADS. Boys will also use ICT to enhance their learning in other curriculum areas, using iPADS and computers for research and presentation of ideas in almost all other subject areas, from producing presentations in History or Geography, to design in DT through to computer programming in Computing. E-Safety also forms an integral part of the curriculum.

From Year 3, the focus changes to boys developing their ICT skills and becoming more independent, working in a digital environment. This includes file management and keyboard skills, spreadsheets and a range of other Office 365 applications, including Microsoft Teams and online notebooks. The skills learnt are then used across all curriculum areas to enhance their work and develop their knowledge.

The boys learn to use email to contact teachers and their class friends. From Year 4 onwards boys will find an increasing amount of work set online or sent via email. They also use My School Portal to access homework. Using their 365 account means they have access to their school resources both on and off site. It has become integral to the way they operate.

In the senior years, the use of ICT continues to expand. We teach the boys how to build and manage websites, create games and learn more advanced programming, including some robotics. Our aim is that boys leaving The Beacon are confident and independent in their use of IT.

Computing and the digital world is growing and ever changing. We aim to help our boys become enthusiastic creators, and not just more effective consumers, of digital technology. We are continually updating our systems and resources, preparing the boys for a future that we can only imagine.

Stephen Collins – Head of Computing

X

Geography

At The Beacon we bring Geography alive with a series of engaging topics highly relevant to our modern society, using current affairs and global issues as anchor points for the boys’ comprehension of the subject.

Our boys develop a life-long love of Geography, through enquiry-based teaching and learning inside the classroom and further afield. They enjoy exploring the world and putting their learnt skills into practice through hands-on field work, residential trips and workshops

A number of boys have also achieved scholarships in Geography, which is testament to the varied and well thought out curriculum we teach.

Whether it is academic excellence, or simply an understanding of the world in which we live, Geography offers a wealth of learning opportunities for our boys.

Rebecca Barkham – Head of Geography

X

History

History is taught throughout The Beacon from Reception to Year 8, culminating in scholarship level work for the most able. The syllabus is based on the National Curriculum guidelines and tailored to meet the demands of senior school entrance exams in Years 7 and 8.

In Pre-Prep, the teaching of History is largely oral and involves mostly comparison and contrast between the past and the present. Boys are introduced to the idea that famous people have lived before us and that their lives were meaningful and above all interesting, drawing upon the lives of significant men, women and children from the history of Britain. In Year 2, the boys focus on the Second World War, enjoying an interactive day at the end of the year.

In Years 3 and 4 boys learn about the Ancient Egyptians, as well as the Romans and Vikings. Kings and queens, explorers and the differences between the rich and the poor in Tudor England are studied in Year 5. In Year 6, boys study life in Medieval England with unit topics covering the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. Furthermore, we look at the significance of the Magna Carta. Our boys experience many hands-on events, workshops and visits, for example Ancient Egyptian and Viking days, a visit to St Albans Cathedral and a Tudor day at Sulgrave Manor.

Boys in Years 7 and 8 follow a chronological course of study, beginning with the Battle of Hastings, including Henry II and Becket and changes to the Church during the Tudor period. In Year 8, the boys study the Western Front in World War I, including cross-curriculum work on World War I poetry. This includes a trip to the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. The boys then study British history from 1750 – 1900, including Empire and Industrial Revolution.

It is through learning about the past that children begin to understand the present and the effect their actions will have on the future. At The Beacon we inspire boys to understand and interpret the past, to trigger their spirit of enquiry and stimulate their imagination – to carry them off into the past, evoking interest and curiosity.

Stephen Winter – Head of History

X

ICT

From Reception, boys have weekly ICT lessons. In the Early Years this will focus on building algorithms to control small robots. This continues into Pre-Prep where they will design, build and program robots using iPADS. Boys will also use ICT to enhance their learning in other curriculum areas, using iPADS and computers for research and presentation of ideas in almost all other subject areas, from producing presentations in History or Geography, to design in DT through to computer programming in Computing. E-Safety also forms an integral part of the curriculum.

From Year 3, the focus changes to boys developing their ICT skills and becoming more independent, working in a digital environment. This includes file management and keyboard skills, spreadsheets and a range of other Office 365 applications, including Microsoft Teams and online notebooks. The skills learnt are then used across all curriculum areas to enhance their work and develop their knowledge.

The boys learn to use email to contact teachers and their class friends. From Year 4 onwards boys will find an increasing amount of work set online or sent via email. They also use My School Portal to access homework. Using their 365 account means they have access to their school resources both on and off site. It has become integral to the way they operate.

In the senior years, the use of ICT continues to expand. We teach the boys how to build and manage websites, create games and learn more advanced programming, including some robotics. Our aim is that boys leaving The Beacon are confident and independent in their use of IT.

Computing and the digital world is growing and ever changing. We aim to help our boys become enthusiastic creators, and not just more effective consumers, of digital technology. We are continually updating our systems and resources, preparing the boys for a future that we can only imagine.

Stephen Collins – Head of Computing

Mathematics

X

Mathematics

At The Beacon, we employ a child-centred approach to teaching Mathematics as we know learning differs from one child to the next. We interweave the traditional national curriculum set out by the Government’s National Strategies with new ideas adapted from different curriculums that will interest, inspire and challenge our boys. We have set Mathematics classes from Year 4 upwards so that extra support is given to those who need reinforcement and for those who are gifted and need extension.

Every effort is made to help the children realise that the subject is a lot of fun where games, projects and practical activities encourage the boys to use collaboration, imagination and initiative. It is not just about working through exercises in a book. We believe this offers a more stimulating environment and provides the children with a more relevant outlook in their understanding of other curriculum areas and the outside world. We incorporate technology into the curriculum through online learning and games which helps engage boys with their independence and self-learning.

The students are encouraged to tackle open-ended problems and investigations. Learning how to problem solve is fundamental for our students as they learn how to make links with other subjects and work together. We participate in external national team competitions, such as the UKMT and the Primary Maths Challenge, with exceptional results. We host an annual Mathematics competition called ‘The Gibson Maths Challenge’ where local schools come and have an afternoon of Mathematics games and puzzles with our students.

We instil curiosity and a love for Mathematics in The Beacon by nurturing boys to have a growth mind-set where they feel that taking risks and making mistakes is part of their learning.

Olivia Kearns – Head of Mathematics

Modern Foreign Languages

X

Modern Foreign Languages

In Years 2 and 3, boys are taught International Studies. Designed by The Beacon’s Modern Languages Department, International Studies aims to prepare boys for the contemporary, multicultural society in which they live. It teaches them that learning about other countries (and other languages) is fascinating, relevant and great fun.

Over the course of a two-year programme, boys spend each term studying the language, customs, culture and geography of a particular country (or countries, if the language is spoken in more than one country). Languages currently included in our programme are Mandarin, Japanese, German, Italian, Russian and Arabic. A cross-curricular approach is taken to International Studies. This means that boys develop their knowledge in other areas of the school curriculum, such as History, Geography, Art, Cooking & Nutrition and Music. Lessons are designed to stimulate enjoyment, and incorporate a variety of techniques to encourage the boys to have an active engagement in a variety of languages: these include games, short films, songs and even Skype calls to schools in other countries.

In Year 4, French is studied for one term and Spanish is studied for another term, before the boys decide which of these two languages they would like to study from the Summer term of Year 4 onwards into Years 5 to 8. Having already experienced language learning as fun, interesting and relevant, we find that Year 4 boys are excited about starting French and Spanish, and already enthused with a love of language learning.

A wide range of resources is used for the teaching of French and Spanish at The Beacon. Teaching is topic-based (rather than text-book led), using a wide range of media. Topics covered include free time, holidays, house and home and school. ICT plays a very important role in the consolidation and reinforcement of our teaching and the department is well resourced with internet-enabled devices for every class. These are used regularly for listening practice, independent work and the completion of interactive assignments.

All boys visit France or Spain in the Summer term of Year 7. Boys studying French visit Montpellier, while boys studying Spanish visit Benalmádena. Both trips feature a variety of linguistic and cultural activities.

By the time boys leave The Beacon at the end of Year 8, we hope to have furnished them with a sound knowledge of language acquisition and the desire to continue learning modern languages – and to embark on other languages – in their next school and indeed in later life.

Fiona Jones – Head of Modern Foreign Languages

Music

X

Music

Boys at The Beacon are encouraged to develop their creative skills through both class music and a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Class work includes singing, instrumental work, music technology, listening and appraisal. Extra-curricular opportunities are provided through numerous weekly choirs, ensembles, music clubs, concerts and productions.

The Music Department comprises eight practice rooms, a large class teaching room and a music technology suite with Mac computers. Regular performances take place in our studio theatre, the Old Barn, and the Spinney Theatre and all boys have performance opportunities on a termly basis.

Over 300 boys currently receive weekly music tuition on a whole range of instruments from a large team of specialist teachers, who provide a high calibre of music teaching. A range of ensembles are provided for all standards and instruments, developing the musicianship of those starting their musical journeys, and supporting our stronger musicians, many of whom go on to achieve Music Scholarships at a range of senior schools. Boys in Year 2 are also offered the opportunity to join instrumental clubs across the school year to learn the basics of playing an orchestral instrument, and to help them make a more informed choice moving forward should they wish to have lessons.

Choral singing is very strong at The Beacon and boys from Years 1 to 8 can all sing in an age appropriate choir. The Upper School Beacon Voices choir have toured on numerous occasions both to Europe and internationally.

Music at The Beacon is highly valued. Boys learn to participate and collaborate with others, building their self-confidence and performance skills, and hopefully developing a love of music!

Peter Hopkins – Head of Music (Acting)

X

Mathematics

At The Beacon, we employ a child-centred approach to teaching Mathematics as we know learning differs from one child to the next. We interweave the traditional national curriculum set out by the Government’s National Strategies with new ideas adapted from different curriculums that will interest, inspire and challenge our boys. We have set Mathematics classes from Year 4 upwards so that extra support is given to those who need reinforcement and for those who are gifted and need extension.

Every effort is made to help the children realise that the subject is a lot of fun where games, projects and practical activities encourage the boys to use collaboration, imagination and initiative. It is not just about working through exercises in a book. We believe this offers a more stimulating environment and provides the children with a more relevant outlook in their understanding of other curriculum areas and the outside world. We incorporate technology into the curriculum through online learning and games which helps engage boys with their independence and self-learning.

The students are encouraged to tackle open-ended problems and investigations. Learning how to problem solve is fundamental for our students as they learn how to make links with other subjects and work together. We participate in external national team competitions, such as the UKMT and the Primary Maths Challenge, with exceptional results. We host an annual Mathematics competition called ‘The Gibson Maths Challenge’ where local schools come and have an afternoon of Mathematics games and puzzles with our students.

We instil curiosity and a love for Mathematics in The Beacon by nurturing boys to have a growth mind-set where they feel that taking risks and making mistakes is part of their learning.

Olivia Kearns – Head of Mathematics

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Modern Foreign Languages

In Years 2 and 3, boys are taught International Studies. Designed by The Beacon’s Modern Languages Department, International Studies aims to prepare boys for the contemporary, multicultural society in which they live. It teaches them that learning about other countries (and other languages) is fascinating, relevant and great fun.

Over the course of a two-year programme, boys spend each term studying the language, customs, culture and geography of a particular country (or countries, if the language is spoken in more than one country). Languages currently included in our programme are Mandarin, Japanese, German, Italian, Russian and Arabic. A cross-curricular approach is taken to International Studies. This means that boys develop their knowledge in other areas of the school curriculum, such as History, Geography, Art, Cooking & Nutrition and Music. Lessons are designed to stimulate enjoyment, and incorporate a variety of techniques to encourage the boys to have an active engagement in a variety of languages: these include games, short films, songs and even Skype calls to schools in other countries.

In Year 4, French is studied for one term and Spanish is studied for another term, before the boys decide which of these two languages they would like to study from the Summer term of Year 4 onwards into Years 5 to 8. Having already experienced language learning as fun, interesting and relevant, we find that Year 4 boys are excited about starting French and Spanish, and already enthused with a love of language learning.

A wide range of resources is used for the teaching of French and Spanish at The Beacon. Teaching is topic-based (rather than text-book led), using a wide range of media. Topics covered include free time, holidays, house and home and school. ICT plays a very important role in the consolidation and reinforcement of our teaching and the department is well resourced with internet-enabled devices for every class. These are used regularly for listening practice, independent work and the completion of interactive assignments.

All boys visit France or Spain in the Summer term of Year 7. Boys studying French visit Montpellier, while boys studying Spanish visit Benalmádena. Both trips feature a variety of linguistic and cultural activities.

By the time boys leave The Beacon at the end of Year 8, we hope to have furnished them with a sound knowledge of language acquisition and the desire to continue learning modern languages – and to embark on other languages – in their next school and indeed in later life.

Fiona Jones – Head of Modern Foreign Languages

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Music

Boys at The Beacon are encouraged to develop their creative skills through both class music and a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Class work includes singing, instrumental work, music technology, listening and appraisal. Extra-curricular opportunities are provided through numerous weekly choirs, ensembles, music clubs, concerts and productions.

The Music Department comprises eight practice rooms, a large class teaching room and a music technology suite with Mac computers. Regular performances take place in our studio theatre, the Old Barn, and the Spinney Theatre and all boys have performance opportunities on a termly basis.

Over 300 boys currently receive weekly music tuition on a whole range of instruments from a large team of specialist teachers, who provide a high calibre of music teaching. A range of ensembles are provided for all standards and instruments, developing the musicianship of those starting their musical journeys, and supporting our stronger musicians, many of whom go on to achieve Music Scholarships at a range of senior schools. Boys in Year 2 are also offered the opportunity to join instrumental clubs across the school year to learn the basics of playing an orchestral instrument, and to help them make a more informed choice moving forward should they wish to have lessons.

Choral singing is very strong at The Beacon and boys from Years 1 to 8 can all sing in an age appropriate choir. The Upper School Beacon Voices choir have toured on numerous occasions both to Europe and internationally.

Music at The Beacon is highly valued. Boys learn to participate and collaborate with others, building their self-confidence and performance skills, and hopefully developing a love of music!

Peter Hopkins – Head of Music (Acting)

Physical Education

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Physical Education

Physical Education at The Beacon provides boys from Reception to Year 8 with a broad, balanced and enriching Physical Education (PE) curriculum taught by specialist PE staff. The curriculum focuses on a number of diverse and varied sports and activities that are designed to encourage physical development and progress. Sports taught include hockey, basketball, swimming, fitness and tennis. Whilst physical fitness, skill acquisition and practical performance are important components of the curriculum, we believe that PE is essential to the development of the whole child, encouraging social and mental wellbeing through sport.

The Beacon is committed to ensuring all children, regardless of ability, have the opportunity to participate in a range of sports. PE lessons are planned and tailored to allow for complete inclusion. With this expectation in mind, lessons are differentiated by task or outcome, providing a firm platform for boys to develop and improve so that each boy reaches his potential.

Mike Williams – Head of PE

Science

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Science

We promote a popular scientific culture that fosters an appreciation of Science and its contribution to the world around us, to give the boys the skills and knowledge to prepare them for the future and the belief in themselves and their abilities to succeed in Science.

We aim to make Science an engaging and exciting part of the curriculum. The boys are naturally fascinated by everything in the world around them and Science makes a valuable contribution to their understanding of the things they see. The boys learn about how to make links between ideas and to explain things using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday objects and their personal health. Students are able to talk about their work and its significance, and communicate ideas using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts and graphs.

Overall, we hope to make Science fun and exciting; and to create a sense of wonder and responsibility for the world around us.

Robert Woodward – Head of Science

Self & Society (PSHEE & RS)

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Self & Society (PSHEE & RS)

Self & Society at The Beacon is a unique and pioneering subject which has the understanding of identity at its core. Drawing from aspects of the curriculum for Religious Studies (RS) and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE), Self & Society is designed to give our boys the opportunity to understand issues of self, beliefs and belonging, ethics and opinions and relationships.

We believe very firmly in the importance of self-understanding, preparation for and support in personal development and growing up, and the ability to form and communicate an opinion while maintaining core values of respect and community.

In Pre-Prep and Lower School, Self & Society lessons incorporate a mindful approach to PSHEE alongside a bespoke RS curriculum to provide a firm foundation for boys in discussion skills, expressing opinions and in understanding diversity of experience and beliefs in society.

In the Middle and Upper School, we focus on self-understanding and responsibility alongside more in-depth topics, including attitudes to success and failure, understanding belief systems, accountability within relationships and sex education. All boys are taught Self & Society in a contemporary classroom, which was specifically designed to promote discussion and debate.

Tom Nicholls – Head of Self & Society

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Physical Education

Physical Education at The Beacon provides boys from Reception to Year 8 with a broad, balanced and enriching Physical Education (PE) curriculum taught by specialist PE staff. The curriculum focuses on a number of diverse and varied sports and activities that are designed to encourage physical development and progress. Sports taught include hockey, basketball, swimming, fitness and tennis. Whilst physical fitness, skill acquisition and practical performance are important components of the curriculum, we believe that PE is essential to the development of the whole child, encouraging social and mental wellbeing through sport.

The Beacon is committed to ensuring all children, regardless of ability, have the opportunity to participate in a range of sports. PE lessons are planned and tailored to allow for complete inclusion. With this expectation in mind, lessons are differentiated by task or outcome, providing a firm platform for boys to develop and improve so that each boy reaches his potential.

Mike Williams – Head of PE

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Science

We promote a popular scientific culture that fosters an appreciation of Science and its contribution to the world around us, to give the boys the skills and knowledge to prepare them for the future and the belief in themselves and their abilities to succeed in Science.

We aim to make Science an engaging and exciting part of the curriculum. The boys are naturally fascinated by everything in the world around them and Science makes a valuable contribution to their understanding of the things they see. The boys learn about how to make links between ideas and to explain things using simple models and theories. They apply their knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas to familiar phenomena, everyday objects and their personal health. Students are able to talk about their work and its significance, and communicate ideas using a wide range of scientific language, conventional diagrams, charts and graphs.

Overall, we hope to make Science fun and exciting; and to create a sense of wonder and responsibility for the world around us.

Robert Woodward – Head of Science

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Self & Society (PSHEE & RS)

Self & Society at The Beacon is a unique and pioneering subject which has the understanding of identity at its core. Drawing from aspects of the curriculum for Religious Studies (RS) and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE), Self & Society is designed to give our boys the opportunity to understand issues of self, beliefs and belonging, ethics and opinions and relationships.

We believe very firmly in the importance of self-understanding, preparation for and support in personal development and growing up, and the ability to form and communicate an opinion while maintaining core values of respect and community.

In Pre-Prep and Lower School, Self & Society lessons incorporate a mindful approach to PSHEE alongside a bespoke RS curriculum to provide a firm foundation for boys in discussion skills, expressing opinions and in understanding diversity of experience and beliefs in society.

In the Middle and Upper School, we focus on self-understanding and responsibility alongside more in-depth topics, including attitudes to success and failure, understanding belief systems, accountability within relationships and sex education. All boys are taught Self & Society in a contemporary classroom, which was specifically designed to promote discussion and debate.

Tom Nicholls – Head of Self & Society

Head’s Talk & Tours

Throughout July and August, our Headmaster, Will Phelps, is inviting future Beacon families to safely meet with him on our School site for a socially-distanced tour of our incredible school and an informal talk about your son and his education. Please click here for more details.

“The largest single sex Prep School in the UK, The Beacon still has an impressively inclusive, family feel to it, with a focus on pastoral care and turning out well-rounded boys.”

For a genuine insight into The Beacon, see our recent review from Muddy Stilettos.