Is Common Entrance fit for purpose?
There was an interesting and timely article in the Times last Friday written by Patrick Derham, Headmaster at Westminster School, announcing that his school along with Wellington College and St. Paul’s are abandoning Common Entrance deeming it no longer ‘fit for purpose’. He goes onto say that their feeder (prep) schools will be able to “use this freedom to develop their curriculum in ways that are even more rigorous and inspiring”.
It’s reassuring to know we are indeed in very good company since we have already taken the decision to abandon Common Entrance. Being one step ahead of the curve as we continue to move away from Common Entrance and ahead with the development of our own KED Curriculum gives us confidence that we are doing the right thing in every sense.
The link to the full Times article is below; if you click on the second link you’ll see Iain Weatherby’s, our co-Chair of Governors, blog in response to Patrick Derham’s article about our curriculum changes at Knighton:
For the Winter 2018 edition of the magazine ‘Absolutley Education’ they asked me to write a piece about whether Common Entrance is out of date given that more and more schools are introducing pre-tests and 11+ exams. There were also contributions from Woodcote House (a boys prep school in Berkshire), Sandroyd, and the Dragon School in Oxford. Two of the schools came down strongly in favour of Common Entrance – “I think it (C.E) is an essential part for preparing prep school children for later life” and “The Common Entrance exams encourage a growth mindset”. The Dragon offered a more neutral view acknowledging that “we are certainly currently in a transition period”, whilst I offered the alternative view that we felt Common Entrance was no longer fit for purpose.
Whilst there will continue to be pros and cons to whether or not Common Entrance is fit for purpose, I am 100% confident that from an educational and developmental perspective our girls at Knighton will benefit from not having the anxiety and pressure of taking Common Entrance exams in their last term. The freedom to plan the term without the usual C.E exam week after half term, half term revision packs, endless lessons devoted to taking past papers and so on is an exciting and liberating one. Just think of the extra quality teaching time without mock mocks (are we the only school who gives the C.E mock exams in November this title?!), mocks in February and the C.E exam week in June.