Benenden

School:
Benenden
School Type:
Address:
Benenden School, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 4AA
Postcode:
TN17 4AA
Region:
Kent (see also London – Outer)
Telephone:
01580 240592
Gender:
Girls
Pupils:
520, Upper sixth 88
Fees:
£9,350
Enquiries:
the Admissions Secretary
Description:

Founded in 1923, the main building is a neo-Elizabethan mansion (built in 1862) in enormous gardens designed in the 19th century. It is set in 240 acres of parkland and woods in one of the loveliest regions of Kent. There have been numerous recent developments and excellent facilities, most recently a new theatre and drama teaching complex, library, refurbished chapel, extended art and design facilities and improved boarding houses. Exceptionally well equipped for sports, games and recreations. Predominantly a middle/upper-class school, it is a fully boarding community of high academic achievement. A large staff allows a very favourable staff:pupil ratio of about 1:6 and examination results are excellent. It is strong in art, music and drama and has a good range of sports and games; lacrosse is a particular strength. The school follows Christian principles and its worship is based on Anglican practice. It enjoys flourishing links with the local community and, unusually, has a post-GCSE exchange programme with South Africa. Senior girls help and visit the elderly in the neighbourhood and help in the local primary school; all girls are encouraged to make friends in the local community, particularly within the parish. Local voluntary organisations call on the school’s support. There is liaison with local boys’ schools for debates, dances and musical entertainment, as well as established house links.

School Head:
Headmistress: Mrs Claire Oulton, in post from 2000. Educated at Lady Eleanor Holles and Oxford University (history). Previously Headmistress at St Catherine’s (Bramley) and Head of History at Charterhouse. Teaching staff: 70 full time, 38 part time.
Results:
GCSE: 84 pupils in upper fifth, all gaining at least grade C in 8+ subjects. A-levels: 88 in upper sixth. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 427.
Furtherhigher:
99% of sixth form leavers go on to a degree course (55% after a gap year), 14% to Oxbridge and 4% to US universities. 5% took courses in medicine and veterinary science, 12% in science and engineering, 69% in humanities and social sciences, 12% in art and design, 4% in vocational subjects eg physiotherapy, occupational therapy. Others typically return home to study.
Arts:
Music: Over 50% of pupils learn a musical instrument; GCSE, AS and A-level and instrumental exams can be taken. Musical groups include choirs, wind band, full symphony orchestra, brass, string, vocal groups. Winners of various categories in local music festivals. Base for Hemsted Forest Youth Orchestra. Drama, dance and debating: GCSE and A-level drama, ESB, LAMDA exams may be taken. Ballet, modern dance and tap. Majority of pupils are involved in school productions and all in house/other productions. Two debating societies compete in Oxford and Cambridge Union debating competitions. Sixth formers encouraged to run drama and debating clubs. Art and design: On average, 30 take GCSE, 10 A-level; 14 take history of art A-level. Design, sculpture, pottery, painting, drawing and textiles offered. On average 2 a year into leading London art schools.
Sport:
Sport: Lacrosse, netball, tennis, swimming, gym, athletics, rounders, volleyball compulsory. Optional: rugby, riding, fencing, judo, self-defence, squash, clay-pigeon shooting. BAGA, RLSS exams may be taken. Majority of lacrosse 1st team in county and regional teams. Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Community service optional. Over 30 clubs, including literary, Model United Nations, debating societies, cookery skills, textiles, clay-pigeon shooting.
Boarding:
All sixth formers have own study bedrooms; GCSE years in single or double study bedrooms; 160 in dormitories of 5-8. Four qualified nurses (one always resident), doctor on call. Central dining room. 2-3 weekend (1Î_ days) exeats a term plus half term (2 weeks in autumn, 1 week in other terms) plus 4 fixed exeats a year; flexible approach to further exeats. Visits to the local towns allowed in small groups.
Alumni:
is run by the Seniors’ Officer, c/o the School.
Formerpupils:
The Princess Royal; Lady Medawar; Penny Junor (journalist); Fiona Shackleton (solicitor); Deborah Barnes Jones (Governor of Montserrat); Joanna Foster (BT Forum); Rev Angela Berners-Wilson (Chair Diocesan Board of Education); Lady Assche (ex-Senior Medical Officer, Dept Health); Eliza Manningham-Buller (former Director General MI5); Georgina Harland (World Champion Modern Pentathlete); Rachel Weisz (actor); Veronica Wadley (Editor, London Evening Standard).