Guide to Independent Schools

School details

Kent College Pembury

Kent College Pembury, Old Church Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 4AX

Enquiries & application

the Registrar

T:  01892 822006
F:  01892 820221

Girls, 3-18 Day, 10-18 Boarding (full and weekly)
Pupils: 550 Upper sixth 45
Fees: £2215 - £4862 (Day), £7838 (Boarding) per term
Affiliation: GSA, IAPS, BSA


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School details

Kent College Pembury

What it's like

Founded in Folkestone in 1886, it is now situated on an attractive 75 acre site half a mile from the village of Pembury, three miles from Tunbridge Wells. Set around a fine Victorian house, there has been considerable development and refurbishment. There are now purpose-built boarding houses, indoor swimming pool, sports hall, music school, state-of-the-art theatre and a new science wing. The prep school has its own purpose-built building, playgrounds and netball courts. It is a Methodist school, with an unpretentious, caring Christian ethos, which welcomes pupils of all faiths and backgrounds. There is a resident Chaplain who is also a member of the teaching staff. The school's ethos is founded on nurturing confidence and providing a range of opportunities to inspire and achieve success. Teaching groups are small (average class size is 16) and there is good individual teaching support; examination results are good, with high levels of value added. It is a dynamic, active school with an extensive extra-curricular programme. Drama is a particular strength, for which there are good facilities. There is a range of sports available and regular representatives at county, regional and national level. Girls are encouraged to aim for high standards in all activities. There is a strong emphasis on involvement and all girls are taught to accept responsibility and contribute fully to the school community.

Pupils & entrance

Pupils: Total age range 3-18; 550 girls (470 day, 80 boarding). Senior school 11-18, 370 girls. Entrance: Main entry ages, at 3, 4, 5, 11, 13 and 16. Own exams used; for sixth-form entry, 6 GCSEs at least grade C (grade B in sixth-form subjects). Taster days and overnight stays for prospective pupils. State school entry 15% senior intake (plus few to sixth form). Many pupils from own prep department (enquiries to the Registrar, Kent College Prep School, same address, tel 01892 820204, email

Scholarships & bursaries

Scholarships awarded at 11, 13 and 16: academic, music, drama, PE and art. 20% discount available to forces children.


15+% live overseas.

Head & staff

Headmistress: Mrs Sally-Anne Huang, in post from 2008. Educated at Oxford University (classics) and King's College London (PGCE). Previously Deputy Head at Roedean. Teaching staff: 60 full time, 25 part time. Annual turnover 5%. Average age 40.

Exam results

GCSE: 51 pupils in Year 11: 97% gained at least grade C in 8+ subjects (average 9.1 subjects). A-levels: 45 in upper sixth; average passed in 3.5 subjects, with final point score of 369.

Pupils' destinations

100% of sixth-form leavers go on to a degree course. 20% take courses in science and engineering, 62% in humanities and social sciences, 18% in arts subjects eg music.


GCSE, AS and A-levels. 21 GCSE subjects, 23 AS/A-level. Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level; AS/A-level general studies additional option. All take an enrichment programme developing key skills for working life; option of gaining a Record of Achievement in group project work (validated by Liverpool University); and encouraged to take part in Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh Awards or gain Leith's basic certificate in food and wine. Vocational: Work experience for all Year 11 and sixth form. RSA exams in IT. Special provision: ESL tuition; fast-track programmes for gifted pupils; support for those with mild learning difficulties eg dyslexia. Languages: French (from age 7), German and Spanish (from age 12); all offered at GCSE and A-level. Regular exchanges (France, Germany), language course in Spain. ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject and within the curriculum at all levels. 140+ computers for pupil use (13 hours a day), all networked and with email and internet access. Most pupils take certificate of competence.

The arts

Music: Over 60% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental and singing exams can be taken. Musical groups include 2 choirs, orchestra, chamber groups, flute and clarinet choirs. Regular musical productions with drama department. Regular concerts. Successes in local festivals. Host to Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists' Competition. Drama and dance: GCSE, AS and A-level drama offered; 60% of pupils take LAMDA exams. Majority of pupils are involved in school productions and house/other productions. Art and design: On average, 20 take GCSE, 7 at AS-level, 7 and A-level. Painting, ceramics, sculpture, textiles also offered.

Sports & activities

Sport: Hockey, netball, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, dance, tennis, cross-country, rounders, athletics compulsory. Optional: jazz dance, trampolining, badminton, sailing, self-defence, aerobics, riding, volleyball, lifesaving, squash, football. BAGA, RLSS exams may be taken. Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Community service optional. Over 60 optional activities and clubs eg bee-keeping, glazy daisies, ballet, gardening, eco-committee, politics, film, majorettes, photographic, art, cordon bleu, charity committee, self-defence, drama, sign language, dance, riding, Young Enterprise.

School life

Uniform: School uniform worn except in the sixth form. Houses and prefects: Competitive houses. Head girl and deputy, elected by school; house captains and deputies, elected by houses. School council and boarders' council. Religion: Methodist foundation, now inter-denominational with a Christian ethos. Morning assembly and services on Sundays and some Christian festivals. Social: Debates, dances, matches with local girls' and boys' schools; regular theatre visits to London. Trips to France; other visits and exchanges to USA (eg A-level drama), Australia and Europe and field study visits. Self-service meals in central dining-room. School shop. No alcohol allowed.


Detention for poor work or behaviour; internal suspension or going on report' also used for poor behaviour. For a serious breach of school rules (eg smoking, alcohol offences), parents are informed and the girl may be gated for 2-3 weeks including weekends; day girls would be expected to report to school on Saturdays and Sundays; extra work or community service set. Further offences would lead to suspension or expulsion. Half termly grades given for achievement and effort, and commendation certificates of achievement. Strong pastoral system ensures academic and social development of each girl carefully monitored (form tutors, divisional heads and boarding staff).


Most upper sixth have single study bedrooms. Houses divided by age (1 house for ages 10-13 and 2 for 14-18). 2 exeats per term. Weekly and flexi-boarding also available. Transport to Tunbridge Wells on Saturdays, for girls age 13 upwards. Mix of UK and international boarders; transport provided to airports at start and end of term.

Former pupils

HRH The Countess of Wessex.