Kent College Pembury, Tunbridge Wells
Kent College is an independent day and boarding school for girls aged 3 – 18; known as the ‘hidden gem’ in Kent, it is situated amongst beautiful 75 acre rural parkland that offers a safe haven for girls to grow and excel.
The school has an excellent location just outside of Royal Tunbridge Wells, it has direct transport links and is less than an hour away from Central London, as well as being half an hour from Gatwick airport and an hour from Heathrow. The whole school is divided as two, with the Nursery and Preparatory school for girls aged 3 – 11 and the Senior school and Sixth Form for girls aged 11 – 18. Full, weekly or flexi boarding are all available from the age of 10.
At Kent College we recognise not only that every girl is unique, but also that her needs will be unique and varying as her education progresses. That is why, above all else, we pride ourselves on catering for her as an individual and working with her and her family, to meet her individual needs during her time at school.
At Kent College Pembury we strive to support those who may be struggling and to stretch those who excel. It is essential that girls have the chance to try new things and to grow during their secondary school years.
At Kent College we believe firmly in the value of allowing young women to do this whilst in a single sex environment. This sense of personal growth goes beyond the classroom.
Our beautiful site inspires girls and staff and gives us room to stretch both physically and personally. Our Christian foundation focuses all we do in a spirit of kindness and community and embraces those of all faiths and none.
An education at Kent College begins with us finding out all about the girl your daughter is now, and ends with her finding out all about the young woman she wishes to be.
Scuba-diving, theatrical make-up, bee-keeping, football and fencing are just a small taste of Kent College’s extensive Extra-Curricular Activities (ECA) programme which reflects the lively and ambitious nature of the leading HMC & GSA girls’ school. Kent College values the benefits of learning beyond the classroom and encourages girls to surpass their limitations, embrace new opportunities and give them the skills and experience to expand their horizons.
The ECA Programme includes those that you might expect such as sports clubs (including football, archery and rugby) in addition to textiles & art, languages, drama and music groups, and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. There are also the more unusual; a book club that discusses Carnegie Medal winners, the Eco Club with evening Newt-Watch and Bat-Walks in the school grounds; the KC Outdoor Adventure course located on the school site with abseiling and zip wire apparatus and the bee-keeping club, where girls make their own honey and lip-balms which they then market and sell amongst the school community.
The ECA programme also enhances talents that students may have discovered already. Award-winning KC students have enjoyed great achievements in clubs which focus on gymnastics, athletics, fencing, debating, engineering and linguistics.
Kent College’s Saturday Academies focus on excellence in the areas of gymnastics, performing arts and swimming and cater for girls looking to improve as well as those wanting to excel. All are held in the school’s state-of-the-art purpose built facilities and taught by dedicated experts.
At Kent College it would be incorrect to think of the ‘extra’ in extracurricular as meaning superfluous. Here it means the chance to be extraordinary.
Kent College’s Christian foundation focuses all they do in a spirit of kindness, embracing those of all faiths and none. In 2009, the school achieved ‘outstanding’ status in both their Boarding Ofsted report and ISI Inspection.
Boarding at Kent College is a homely environment with resident families who are experienced house parents as well as academic teachers who provide outstanding care and support. Close, loyal friendships exist across all age groups and day girls have the opportunity to board with Kent College’s Flexi-boarding service which for many parents, proves invaluable.
Kent College is a vibrant and exciting place with a strong sense of community and superb pastoral care. Boarding is central to the school’s life and Christian ethos and is one of our great strengths. We are very fortunate to have such a close-knit boarding community at the heart of our school. Girls are able to be full or weekly boarders. We also have a very popular flexi-boarding community for day pupils which our parents find to be an invaluable service and which embodies the 24/7 life of the school.
Girls thrive in the beautiful, rural grounds and outstanding care and nurturing. We believe that the family atmosphere present in the boarding houses has an extremely positive effect on all of the girls and staff here.
At Kent College, we encourage our boarders to appreciate the values of a community life. It engenders team spirit, helps girls learn to accept each other’s failings and to support each other in times of difficulty. Boarders at Kent College learn to respect their own and other people’s property, the importance of being kind and courteous and taking responsibility for one’s own actions. The spiritual development of our boarders is also an important part of our ethos; in an increasingly individualistic world, these qualities stand our boarders in good stead.
"Your setting is exceptional and significant elements of your work are exemplary.”
"Boarding has a high priority within the school. Recent changes in staffing and reorganisation of the boarding houses, has resulted in clear leadership and a knowledgeable, experienced staff team.”
At Kent College every girl from Nursery to Sixth Form, has the opportunity to excel and surpass her expectations in a supportive and inspirational environment. Every year girls achieve outstanding results for GCSE and A-Level and progress to universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, Bath and Imperial to study subjects from Biomedical Engineering to Architecture. Scholarships in Academia, Music, Drama, Art and Sport are all available in addition to means tested Bursaries.
Kent College has an excellent examination pass rate of which any school would be proud, with 100% pass rate at GCSE and A-level, and academic standards that are consistently high. We provide an outstanding value added education where girls consistently achieve higher grades than predicted by their entry-level ability as seen on the chart below (data provided by the Centre of Evaluation and Monitoring, University of Durham).
The extensive curriculum aims to develop intellectual curiosity and a thirst for learning, encouraging girls to think independently and put their knowledge to good use in the real world. Communication of ideas and fluent expression in English and other languages are taught, along with mathematical concepts and the confident use of information technology. Girls make the most of this balanced programme of creative and scientific subjects by learning, with the guidance of their teachers, a disciplined approach to private study.
The aim of the school is to offer a wide and exciting academic education. The school is selective, but not narrowly so, taking into account interest and diversity of strengths.
A Christian School
As a Christian school, Kent College has a policy of accepting a range of abilities, which will span from those girls who are very able to those with mild learning difficulties or who have gaps in their knowledge due to interrupted schooling. The school can support such a range of abilities by providing a high level of individual attention through small teaching groups (the average size is 16 girls per class and smaller at GCSE/A level) and close monitoring. In addition, our Additional Educational Needs Department co-ordinates individual learning programmes. For example, high achieving students may have extra lessons when taking early/extra GCSEs or A-levels, whilst less able students may need extra lessons to fill gaps in their knowledge, and overseas students have extra English with a specialist EAL teacher. The Department has also extended the provision of learning skills courses (accelerated learning).
Excellent Examination Results
As a result of these measures, examination results are high and on a par with local selective schools, including the grammar schools. At KC, students are closely monitored and the progress of each girl is discussed in detail by her teachers every four weeks. The students are taught to set their own targets for improvement and senior students agree action plans with their teachers. Parents receive progress grades twice a term with a full report at the end of each term. They are also invited to discuss their daughters' progress at regular Parents’ Consultation Evenings.
A co-ordinated programme is delivered by school staff with the help of visiting speakers. At relevant stages, girls learn about a variety of important issues to help them take responsibility for their well-being.
Careers education is available throughout the senior school and is written into the curriculum from Year 9. There are individual interviews, aptitude tests, visits to careers conferences and university open days, and a work experience scheme help students make informed choices. There is a well-stocked careers library and computer resources with a wide range of information on careers and higher education. Professional qualified careers staff are always available to offer advice at any stage and academically able students are prepared for admission to Oxford and Cambridge.
Many girls find that the Sixth Form is one of the happiest and most fulfilling parts of their school life and at Kent College we certainly aim to make it so. By providing an excellent academic environment as well as many opportunities to develop personal skills and interests our aim is to produce happy students who fulfil their potential and go on to the university of their choice. Our Sixth Form is small enough to ensure strong pastoral care but large enough to provide a wide variety of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities.
A-levels offer the chance to study chosen subjects in depth and are the passport to higher education. During the two-year course, students develop a more independent approach to learning and are required to read extensively. They will develop a more pro-active learning style, improve their communication skills and learn to practise critical evaluation and analysis. Conferences, lectures and visits are used to enhance all subjects.
Most students study four subjects in the first year (AS level), and continue with three of these in the second year (A2 level). Public examinations are taken at the end of each year and success in these will give students a qualification of three A-level subjects and one subject at AS level.
We welcome students of good academic ability who will be able to cope with the demands of A-level study. We are able to offer places on the basis of a reference from an applicant's present school and her predicted GCSE grades. Students are required to achieve at least 6 GCSE passes at grade C or above and it is expected that at least four of these will be at A or B grades and certainly for subjects to be taken at AS/A-level (if studied at GCSE). Certain subjects require an A grade.
Girls find the Sixth Form at Kent College is one of the happiest and most fulfilling parts of their whole school career. They are studying the subjects they most enjoy, strengthening friendships, making new ones and taking on important responsibilities within the school. Some girls also choose to start boarding in the Sixth Form as it gives them a sense of independence in preparation for university as well as the chance to take part in as much as possible at school in their final two years.
Girls thrive in the Sixth Form at Kent College because they are studying the subjects they most enjoy, strengthening friendships and making new ones, and taking on important responsibilities within the school. Some girls also choose to start boarding in the Sixth Form as it gives them a sense of independence in preparation for university as well as to make the most of the multitude of opportunities open to them in their final two years at school.
In the Sixth Form, every girl is part of a new tutor group, made up of a mix of Lower and Upper Sixth Formers. She stays in this group for the full two years so that her form tutor comes to know her well, helps her stay on track academically and guides her towards the best decisions regarding her future.
The aim of the school is to offer girls a wide and exciting academic education. The school is selective, but not narrowly so, taking into account interests and a diversity of strengths.
As a Methodist school with a Christian ethos, Kent College has a policy of accepting students with a range of abilities, from those who are very able to those with mild learning difficulties to those who have gaps in their knowledge due to interrupted schooling. We are able to do so because we provide a high level of individual attention through small classes and close monitoring. In addition, our Learning Development Department co-ordinates individual learning programmes for girls who are having extra lessons when, for example, they are taking extra or early GCSEs, or filling gaps in their knowledge. As a result of these measures, examination results are impressive and compete favourably with local selective schools, such as the grammar school.
Main intakes are at 11+ (Year 7), 13+ (Year 9) and 16+ (Lower Sixth Form). We also accept applications from students for entry into other year groups subject to places being available.
We strongly recommend, where possible, that prospective students and their parents visit the school to meet the headmistress, staff and students, and to see the facilities. Visits are recommended in the two years prior to entry. Open Mornings are held each term. We are also happy to arrange individual visits throughout the year and appointments can be made by contacting the Admissions Office. We advise you to contact us well in advance to avoid disappointment. You are very welcome to bring your daughter when you visit. It is never too early to apply and by attending Open Mornings before your daughter is due to join the school, you are able to assess the school's development which is important in the decision making process.
If you would like your daughter to be considered for entry to Kent College, please complete and return the Application Form together with a non-refundable registration fee of £100 (if applicant's parents live in the European Union) or £150 (if applicant's parents live outside the European Union). Payment can be made by cheque or credit card. One form and fee is required per student.
Application does not constitute an offer of a place; once we have received your form and fee your daughter will be held on our registrations list and you will be informed about entrance examinations at the appropriate time. Places are offered on the basis of results in the entrance examinations, an interview (unless based overseas) and a reference from your daughter's current school.
Where possible, we offer prospective students the opportunity to spend a 'Taster Day' at Kent College. This enables the girls to take part in lessons and activities, and gives them a better feel for the school. Prospective boarders are invited to stay overnight.
Entry at 11+
The majority of our students enter the school in Year 7 (the first year of secondary education) at age 11-12. All UK-based applicants are expected to attend the 11+ Entrance Day in November to sit the school's own entrance examinations in English and mathematics (each paper is 45 minutes long).
Girls will also sit a computer based test which covers literacy, numeracy and non-verbal reasoning. The computer based test is part of a national project run by University of Durham and is used by a number of independent schools nationally. Experience shows that the girls who complete the familiarisation test are much better prepared for the actual test. All schools remain anonymous to each other; however, if your daughter has taken/or will take the same test at another participating school then we will be given the results of all tests, including the one taken elsewhere.
An offer of a place is based on the results of the tests, an interview and a reference from the student's current school. Candidates for academic scholarships take the same examinations. Auditions and assessments for music, drama and sports scholarships are held on a day in November. Entrance day is held each November for entry to the school in the following September.
Results of Entrance & Scholarship Examinations
Parents are notified of the results of the entrance tests within three weeks. Academic Scholarships are also offered at this time. Parents whose daughters are applying for 11+ entry will not be expected to make a decision until early March, when the Kent 11+ results are available.
Entry at 13+
At age 13-14, students enter Year 9 (the third year of secondary school) after taking examinations in English, mathematics, verbal reasoning, Science and Modern Foreign Languages. The MFL paper has four sections and each candidate is expected to answer just two sections depending on the subjects she is currently studying eg French, German, Spanish, Latin. (All examinations are 1 hour long, except for the MFL paper which will be 1 hour 30 minutes long - 45 minutes per section).
An offer of a place is based on the results of the tests, an interview and a reference from the student's current school. Candidates for academic scholarships take the same examinations. Auditions for music, drama, sport and art scholarships are held on additional days. Entrance day is held each January for entry to the school in the following September.
Results of Entrance & Scholarship Examinations
Parents are notified of the results of the entrance tests within three weeks. Scholarships are also offered at this time.
Entry to the Sixth Form
Entry to study A level courses is conditional on the student gaining at least six passes at grade C or above in GCSE or equivalent examinations. Students should be aiming for A or B grades in the subjects they wish to study at A level (if studied at GCSE). An offer of a place is also based on an interview (unless the applicant is based overseas), current school reports and a reference from the applicant's current school. Students whose first language is not English are also required to sit entrance tests.
Director of Admissions
Mrs Debbie Sainsbury
Mrs Nicola Sneddon
The Admissions Office would be delighted to help if you would like to receive a prospectus, arrange an appointment to visit, or if you have any further questions.