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Sarah Brownsdon appointed Head of The New Beacon

Sarah Brownsdon has been appointed as the next Head of The New Beacon Prep School, with effect from April 2023.

Tonbridge merged with The New Beacon, a leading independent day and boarding prep school for boys aged four to 13, based in Sevenoaks, Kent, in 2021. While the schools are closely aligned in terms of overall strategy, each retains its own leadership and management teams, teaching and support staff and separate sites.

Sarah will be succeeding current Head Mike Piercy, who steps down next year after 15 years of outstanding service. 

Educated at Walthamstow Hall, Sarah studied French at the University of Southampton before successfully completing her PGCE at Cambridge and Maîtrise at Université Stendhal in Grenoble. 

She has more than 15 years of senior leadership experience in independent, all-boys preparatory school education and joins The New Beacon from Dulwich Prep London, the biggest boys' prep school in the country, where she is currently the Senior Deputy Head. 

Sarah has held both academic and pastoral leadership roles at DPL and demonstrates a long-standing commitment to outstanding pastoral care, combined with academic expectations of the highest standards.

The search for Mike Piercy’s successor, carried out by Odgers Berndtson, attracted a strong field of experienced leaders in the prep school world. The appointment panel and governors were particularly impressed by Sarah’s enthusiasm for, and experience of, boys’ education in a senior leadership role – from whole school strategic development to the personal, individual care and success of each child.

Sarah, who is married with two sons, aged 13 and 15, said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as the next Head of The New Beacon. While I have loved my time at Dulwich Prep London and will be sad to say goodbye, I am very much looking forward to returning to Sevenoaks with my family and getting to know the whole New Beacon community."

Sarah will take up the headship of The New Beacon from the start of the next summer term. She will spend the spring term getting to know the school and there will be opportunities for parents to meet with her at that time.

James Thorne, The New Beacon’s Chairman of Governors, said: “Sarah will inherit a happy, thriving, dynamic school from Mike – we believe she is exactly the right person to take The New Beacon into the next stage of its development. Mike is looking forward to working with Sarah over the coming months to ensure a smooth, effective transition.”