2023 marks an exciting development in the long history of St John's Beaumont Preparatory School. After 135 years of educating young men and boys, St John's Beaumont will open places for girls in the Pre-Prep in September 2023, with the plan to extend into the Middle School in September 2024.
St John's Beaumont has been planning a move towards co-education for sometime. The school has been receiving more and more enquiries about the possibility of entry for girls into the school, both from current and prospective families. As parents have increasingly busy lives, the prospect of co-education provides an appealing option, and a more efficient daily interaction with school.
Additionally, co-educational schools can improve the quality of education, accelerating the development of social skills, bringing a broader perspective to classroom discussions and enabling greater opportunities for children of both genders.
We look forward to providing an excellent St John's education to both girls and boys from September.
According to academic research and experience of school that have become co-educational the benefits are:
Yes, and undoubtedly in a positive way.
Their academic attainment will continue to improve with the recent launch of High Performance Learning (HPL). They will still be able to enjoy the current co-curricular activities as well as some new ones. And, anecdotally, teachers have observed that girls can positively influence boys’ personal organisation and behaviour, for example in the approach to revision.
We are now taking applications for girls to commence in Pre-Prep in September 2023.
Alternatively, you can register to attend an upcoming Open Morning below:
Class sizes will remain the same as now, i.e. with no more than 20 pupils in each class.
In Nursery, the ratio of staff to pupils is 1:8.
The current uniform is suitable for all children joining Pre-Prep in Nursery and Reception. For Year 1 and above, additional items will also be available; pinafore dress, summer dress and swimsuit.
In the coming months, we will also work to develop additional items that pupils may require as they move into Middle School i.e. sports skort and additional items for PE and Games.
We have plans for all these sports in the curriculum and the activities programme to be available to all pupils.
We will be recruiting a female PE teacher to the Sports Department during 2023/24.
Yes, we will open Year 3 in 2024/25, Year 4 in 2025/26 and so on.
We already have good relationships with the top co-educational senior schools.
We will develop new relationships with girls’ schools, many of which we already have contacts, e.g. Wycombe Abbey, Roedean, St Paul’s Girls, and Queen Anne’s Caversham.
Perhaps the most obvious change is that dedicated toilets and changing rooms will be created. First in the Pre-Prep building, swimming pool and the sports hall, and then in the main building ready for girls when they move into the Middle School from September 2024.
We will develop our sports and performing arts facilities to enable a broader co-curricular offer, e.g. netball, hockey, gymnastics and dance. We will also provide the opportunity for girls to participate and enjoy all the existing sports, such as football, rugby, and cricket.
Our playground areas will be reviewed to ensure that there is still room for very active play, e.g. football, as well as quieter interaction.
In the classrooms, we already have dedicated spaces for different activities in Pre-Prep, but we are refreshing and investing in the Nicholas Owen building so that it will be even more suitable for boys and girls.
Most of our staff already have co-educational experience. Dr Smith and Mr Barr, the incoming Headmaster, both have co-educational leadership experience.
We will provide support and training from within the school for all staff so that we can ensure it is a truly co-educational experience for all pupils.
One of the principles that will underpin our approach to co-education will be ‘everything for everyone’ so that we will always encourage all our pupils to try new sports and activities, as well as take on leadership roles.
Most of our staff have co-educational experience so are used to providing additional support when required.
In addition, we will appoint an experienced female member of staff to take cross-school responsibility to ensure our pastoral care (for boys and girls) evolves correctly as girls move up the school.
Good schools plan and prepare well but they know that issues and challenges will still arise and overcome and resolve them. St John's Beaumont has planned the move to co-education in detail.
The culture that Dr Smith has developed in his staff is to listen well, develop solutions and be responsible for making them happen. One of the reasons that Mr Barr was chosen as the new Headteacher was his track record of responsive and inclusive leadership.
Our PSHE curriculum already reflects gender in its teaching, but we are reviewing the content to ensure it fully reflects being a co-educational school.
One of the principles that will underpin our approach to co-education will be ‘everything for everyone’ so that we will always endeavour to achieve full inclusivity.
Within the Jesuit Pupil Profile is respect for others, celebration of diversity and loving by your just actions and kind words. We nurture and encourage these qualities in our pupils today and will do so in the future.
Our safeguarding processes and the extensive training that our staff have undergone are fully appropriate for a co-educational school.
Mrs Powell-Harper (Head of Pre-Prep) and Miss Murphy (Head of Maths/Head of Upper School) already lead two sections in the school and sit on the Senior Leadership Team. Miss Flynn (Year 4 teacher) was recently appointed Deputy Head of Middle School, to support Mr Snell with Years 3-5.
When Mrs Sue Mainwaring stepped down from the Governing Council recently for personal reasons, we commenced a search for new female govenors. We have a good field of candidates and will soon make appointments to the Governing Council.
For same reasons that you would send your son: high academic achievement for all; entry to the most suitable senior school for each child; development of personal characteristics and qualities contained within the Jesuit Pupil Profile; as well as a shared educational experience for your sons and daughters.
This is highly unlikely. We already have interest from staff members for their daughters, as well as recent unsolicited enquiries for families with boys and girls - both current families and those with no connection to the school (yet).
We have a well-targeted marketing programme planned for the next two months.
We currently only plan to offer day places.
When we girls entering Year 5 and above, if there is considerable interest in boarding, the school will take a view on developing a new girls' boarding facility.