18th May 2021 — Tonbridge School and The New Beacon Preparatory School have announced that they will merge with effect from 31 August 2021.
Tonbridge is one of the leading independent boys’ schools in the UK and currently has more than 800 boys, a blend of boarders (60 per cent) and day pupils (40 per cent).
The School is renowned for its world-class, innovative teaching and learning, as well as for its pastoral excellence, outstanding facilities and strong ethos of community outreach and social impact.
The New Beacon Prep School is in Sevenoaks, approximately 10 miles from Tonbridge and is a leading independent day and boarding prep school for boys aged 4 to 13 and currently has 325 pupils, including a nursery for boys and girls.
As the two Governing Bodies work together, Tonbridge and The New Beacon will become aligned in terms of overall strategy.
Each school, however, will retain its own teaching and support staff, its own leadership and management teams, and its own uniform and site.
James Priory, Headmaster of Tonbridge School, said: "There has always been a strong relationship between our schools and I am delighted that we will be combining our experience and expertise to provide an educational pathway for boys from 3 to 18.
"We have a shared ethos and believe that the merger will bring considerable benefits to both schools whilst respecting our separate identities."
He continued: "Tonbridge is a determinedly selective school. We already welcome some 20 boys from the New Beacon every year.
"Our rigorous recruitment process will remain the same for New Beacon applicants as it does for boys from every other prep school, all of whom we will continue to welcome and support."
Mike Piercy, Headmaster of The New Beacon, said: "This merger will strengthen our long connection with Tonbridge and will expand our access to the expertise of its senior school staff and facilities.
"I am also delighted that we will be working with Tonbridge to develop further our intellectually creative academic curriculum to align Years 7 to 9.
"This will support the boys in preparing for entrance assessments and transition to senior school, not just academically but also in terms of confidence and life skills – benefits which will, of course, apply to all boys, whichever their preferred senior school destination."
He continued: "We have always worked closely with individual families in choosing the senior school which is best for their sons – over the last five years we have sent boys to 21 senior schools. We will continue to provide that bespoke service.’
The merger also means that The New Beacon will become part of the group of schools overseen by the Skinners’ Company, one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London and a major not-for-profit organisation which supports seven other schools, including Tonbridge School.