Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Be Aware - Fake News

Be Aware - Fake News

Be Aware - Fake News

Just over a week ago there was an article written in the Telegraph announcing the end of Common Entrance and, as a result, the death knell for prep. schools in general; I have to say, this came as somewhat of a surprise to me….

Last year, two London public schools decided to abandon Common Entrance, saying that it was a burden that children don’t need. A third senior school initially decided to follow suit but, under pressure from its feeder preps, chose the path of righteousness instead.

Along with several other prep. school Headmasters, I wrote to the Times, extolling the virtues of CE: the fact that children actually enjoy having a goal to work towards so that they can have a focus and a way of measuring their success; the breadth and depth of the syllabus that does not simply prepare for an exam but teaches skills that go way beyond what is necessary for CE; the benefit of preparing for a set of public exams that will stand them in good stead as they prepare for GCSEs and beyond.

I received many letters from senior school Heads, all keen to point out that CE would continue to be an important part of the entry process at their schools and always would be, so – as I say – it came as rather a shock to read about the imminent death of CE. In the same article, experts warned that the ‘demise of the exam is a sign that prep. schools are reaching their sell-by date’ and that ‘the sector is likely to be decimated as the prep. schools, which specialised in cramming children for the exam, struggle to find a new purpose.’ They then went on to suggest that some prep. schools were starting to revise their timetables by bringing in sport, art and drama…?!

How reassuring then to see a rebuttal of this sensationalist journalism in letters to the Times from not only the Chairman of the IAPS but also a fellow Head who goes on to say that not only do our schools already provide a quite extraordinary range of extra-curricular activities to complement the academic syllabus but that we also teach important critical thinking skills – for example how to recognise bias in a newspaper article. Bravo!

That is all.