A 21st Century Education


History & Team


The PSB story

In 2007 The Beacon, Amersham, under Michael Spinney’s leadership, introduced the Beacon Certificate of Achievement (BCA) to replace Common Entrance courses in Year 7 and Year 8. In 2009 Moorlands School, led by John Davies, took the same decision, establishing their own distinctive course, the Moorlands Diploma, albeit to the same end. Both schools have enjoyed very considerable support from both parents and senior schools. They have now merged their courses to create a tried and tested basis for the PSB.

In January 2012 The Beacon and Moorlands were joined by Taunton Prep School and Yateley Manor to form the initial Pilot Group for PSB.

Preparatory work was done by a PSB working group that was formed in 2010 with representatives from the Independent Schools’ Examinations Board (ISEB), St. Edward’s Oxford, Wellington College, Marlborough College, Charterhouse, Moorlands School (Leeds), Lambrook, The Hawthorns and Eagle House. During the 2010-11 academic year the PSB project group framed the principles that underpin the framework outlined below.

The Pilot Group of PSB schools was formed in January 2012. After a successful Pilot Schools year the PSB programme is now in place and operational.

In 2018 the PSB officially became a registered charity.


Get in touch

Schools wishing to discuss how to participate in the PSB can do so by contacting the General Secretary, James Barnes.

Contact ▸


Our team


chair of the heads comMitTEE

Joel Worral

Joel was born and educated in Auckland, New Zealand, a first generation ‘Kiwi’ to British parents. In 2002 he moved to England after completing his university and postgraduate teacher training. Joel has been Director of Sport and Housemaster at Forres Sandle Manor Preparatory School in Hampshire, Deputy Head at Taverham Hall Preparatory School in rural Norfolk and is Head of Stroud School.




Paul Brewster, Chair of Trustees

Paul has been the driving force behind the PSB which grew from the Beacon Certificate of Achievement and the Moorlands Diploma. Paul is now a PSB Trustee and Chief Education Officer, Repton School (International Division) and a Reporting Inspector with ISI.



Andrew Gist

Andrew has been teaching for more than 30 years in secondary schools, predominantly in the independent sector. He has been at Marlborough for 20 years, first as Head of English and then as Director of Studies and is currently Head of Form.



Stephen Jones

Stephen is the Warden at St Edward's having previously been Headmaster of Dover College and taught at schools as diverse at Berkhamsted and The Dragon.



John Davies

John was at the heart of the development of the PSB, having established as Headmaster the Moorlands Diploma in 2009. He is a Trustee of the PSB.



Emma McKendrick

Emma started her educational career in 1986 teaching German at Royal School Bath. By 1990 she was given the role of Head of Sixth Form and careers, while also being Sixth Form Housemistress. Subsequently she went on to become Deputy and then Headmistress of Royal School Bath between 1994-97.

Since 1997 Emma has been Headmistress of Downe House, and is currently Governor at Lambrook School, Sandroyd School Salisbury and Kings School Canterbury.



Peter Wells

Peter was Head of St Hugh's School and Liverpool College Prep prior to becoming Headmaster of the Junior Kings School Canterbury in September 2000. He retired in July 2017.



Mark Richards

Mark is Senior Deputy Head and Master of Scholars at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham. Mark teaches A Level Music and is an experienced school inspector and A Level and IB Music examiner; he has also written several books and articles associated with A Level Music.

Screenshot 2019-09-05 at 20.13.37.png


Tom Beardmore-Gray

Tom is Chief Executive of the Cothill Trust, a UK charity committed to providing high quality preparatory school education across a diverse range of day and boarding schools. Prior roles include Chief Financial Officer of the Girls’ Day School Trust and senior management positions at De Beers. Tom is a Member of Council of the University of Reading and Chairman of the Audit Committee, a Trustee of the Institute of Business Ethics and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Institute of Directors.



Rick Smart

Rick Smart runs a highly successful accountancy firm, Smart Accountants, which has particular expertise with small businesses and in the charity sector. Rick has a keen interest in education and is a great supporter of the development of skills and the impact on success for young people in the workplace they have.


PSB Administrator

Rebecca Morris

Rebecca has spent over ten years teaching in private schools in Surrey and South London, working as a Director of Studies before leaving to raise a family. She now supply teaches, works as an educational consultant and has just begun working for the PSB as our new administrator.

James Barnes.jpg


James Barnes, General Secretary

James is the General Secretary of the PSB, Managing Director of James Barnes Consultancy and past Chairman of Governors at Milton Abbey School. He has previously taught English to A Level and been a Prep School Headmaster.



Jonathan Carroll, Director of Education

Jonathan has taught in both single sex and co-educational schools, offering boarding and day options, in the maintained and independent systems in England; a period of three years teaching overseas for Shell in Brunei was also an immensely enjoyable time. For 18 years Jonathan was Headmaster at St Piran’s School, a co-educational Prep School in Maidenhead with 420 on roll. We are now delighted to have him as our Head of Education at PSB.