E D U C AT I O N
“The Founders’ idea of a complete education for girls, with the rigours of an academic programme and so many more enriching activities on top, remains in place to this day. Theirs is a boarding school for the 21st Century.” Mrs Samantha Price Headmistress
We recommend that this prospectus is read in conjunction with our suite of brochures which give more detail about specific areas of School life and which are available from the Registry.
“ Benenden has been such an amazing experience for me so far I haven’t stopped smiling since I got here and I’m so excited to be here for years to come.” Lower Fifth Form pupil
WELCOME TO BENENDEN For almost 100 years Benenden has been one of the leading boarding schools in Britain. In 1923, when three school mistresses founded the School, they set high educational standards and also wanted Benenden to offer the widest opportunities outside the classroom to provide the broadest education to its pupils. We educate around 550 girls aged 11-18 who come from a variety of backgrounds. The School is situated in the Kent countryside in its own beautiful parkland of some 250 acres, just over an hour from London and the major airports of South East England.
BENENDEN A COMPLETE EDUCATION
VALUES BENENDEN AIMS FOR EACH GIRL TO ACHIEVE HER ACADEMIC POTENTIAL AND GROW AS AN INDIVIDUAL, BOTH INTELLECTUALLY AND PERSONALLY, IN AN ASPIRATIONAL, SUPPORTIVE AND HAPPY BOARDING ENVIRONMENT.
Through our innovative and blended academic and co-curricular programmes we offer opportunity, stretch and excellence whilst ensuring breadth and balance so that each girl goes out into the world confident, courageous, compassionate and ready to make a difference.
BELIEF IN ONESELF, BELIEF IN OTHERS, COMMITMENT TO LEARNING, COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY. WE AIM TO DO THIS BY PROVIDING: • An inspiring, challenging and relevant academic curriculum which balances the best of tradition and innovation. • Excellent and motivating teaching designed to encourage girls to become independent, enquiring and critical thinkers.
• A framework of individual support devised to help each girl experience and benefit from a full programme of study balanced with a wide variety of cultural, creative, physical and fun activities. • A culture of encouragement, opportunity and challenge designed to develop self-reliance, resilience, confidence and physical and emotional wellbeing. • The experience of learning to understand other people, working and living together with understanding and compromise and appreciating diversity. • A wide range of opportunities for leadership. • Careers and higher education guidance designed to help every girl achieve her own personal goals, equipped with the requisite skills for university and beyond in her professional life. • A close partnership with parents so that school and home can work together to help every girl make the most of her time at Benenden.
WE GIVE EACH PUPIL THE CHANCE TO DEVELOP HER POTENTIAL TO THE
OUR ALL-BOARDING AND ALL-GIRLS MODEL IS UNIQUE IN THE UK. AT BENENDEN WE CELEBRATE GIRLS BEING GIRLS AND THE SPACE THAT BEING IN A SINGLE-SEX ENVIRONMENT GIVES THEM AS THEY GROW THROUGH THE TEENAGE YEARS AND IDENTIFY WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.
Upper Fifth Form father
â€œ My daughter speaks of being school-sick during the holidays because she loves everything about the school so much.â€?
F U L L W I T H I N A H A P P Y, C A R I N G E N V I R O N M E N T
To achieve this, we place considerable value on our ethos of hard work and developing excellent study skills, balanced with inspiring a myriad of other interests and devoting time to enjoying being with friends and having fun. Everything is open for all pupils to try within an encouraging and safe environment. Girls are free to explore and ask questions, to make decisions and learn from mistakes. A culture of support among pupils is tangible within and beyond the classroom and girls are undeterred to achieve in whichever fields they choose.
DISCOVER W E P R O V I D E A V E RY W I D E R A N G E O F A C T I V I T I E S D E S I G N E D T O P R O M O T E A C A D E M I C E N R I C H M E N T
WE OFFER A PROGRAMME DESIGNED TO NURTURE HIGH ASPIRATIONS Benenden achieves excellent GCSE and A Level
At Benenden we aim to provide a curriculum to develop curious
results each year, but our curriculum and our
thinkers with a love of learning who can demonstrate
wider programme of academic enrichment is
independent thought. Our curriculum creates an
about far more than passing exams. We never
environment where questioning, academic
mistake a syllabus for an education.
risk-taking, divergent thinking and the freedom to learn from mistakes are all encouraged. We offer
We want pupils to learn from the most inspiring
a programme designed to nurture high aspirations and prepare
teaching and to direct their own learning. We
girls for the opportunities and challenges facing young women
encourage pupils to engage in intellectual
in the 21st Century. Our unique Professional Skills Programme
debate with visiting expert speakers, to discover
teaches girls the practical life skills they will need to thrive in the
the world around them and be inspired by it,
workplace and beyond, while the Benenden Diploma is our
to determine their own skills and passions and
bespoke two-year curriculum for 11 to 13-year-olds, a highly
become aware and prepared for life and its
interactive, investigative enquiry-based curriculum designed
to provide challenge and intellectual stimulation.
Our curriculum should imbue in our students these qualities: responsibility, independence and a sense that learning can excite and invigorate throughout life.
A TAILORED APPROACH CREATES A RICH TAPESTRY OF LEARNING The Benenden curriculum is designed to allow each student to achieve the best possible academic qualifications and standards for her, whatever her ability, and to ensure high levels of engagement, enjoyment and personal development. Our lessons are designed to differentiate for every girlâ€™s learning needs, allowing her to progress in an atmosphere of both security and challenge. We make maximum use of cross-curricular opportunities, such as Enquiry Weeks, the Extension programme and the Extended Project Qualification. We have developed a vast array of enrichment activities that complement taught lessons â€“ clubs, masterclasses, visits and residences which braid with the daily academic programme.
â€œ Our daughter has been at Benenden for two years now and has grown in confidence and maturity while achieving more academically than we had thought she could.â€? Lower Fifth Form mother
Benenden aims for all girls to leave us with a global outlook and strong political awareness. We want them to be knowledgeable in international affairs and to understand how the wider world impacts on their lives and the communities in which they live. Our pupils are full players in the digital world, with instant access to information and resources to support their academic studies, their leading roles in many international Model United Nations conferences and their preparation for the Duke of Edinburghâ€™s Gold Award or overseas expeditions. To maintain a wider focus, the centrally-located Careers Department welcomes and advises pupils of all ages on courses, university choices, careers and the world of work. Early advice, together with work experience opportunities, set pupils on the path to success. Our pupils play a leading role in their local community too. Benendenâ€™s co-sponsorship of The John Wallis Church of England Academy in Ashford provides a wide range of experiences for pupils, including pupil mentoring exchanges and the extremely popular Combined Cadet Force. Older pupils also volunteer to work in a range of other community organisations, including our local primary school, the village shop and a residential care home for adults with learning disabilities.
ENGAGEMENT WITH THE WORLD
We want each pupil to be a responsible and considerate member of society, aspiring to success in all areas of her life, enjoying the discovery of her personal strengths and making a contribution as an individual as well as part of a happy and caring school. 12
OF INDUSTRY MUST FIRST LEARN HOW TO LEAD
Leadership roles abound at Benenden, from the Senior Prefects at the top of the
School, to our new Fourth Form girls, just four weeks in, leading the following yearâ€™s prospective pupils around the School for Preview Weekend. Whether captaining the team on the sporting field, directing the cast and crew in the Theatre, heading the Security Council or International Court of Justice at a prestigious Model United Nations conference, devising a House fundraising venture or simply taking up a position of responsibility in House, Benenden girls understand their commitment to show leadership and service to the community in which they live.
BENENDEN PRIDES ITSELF ON GIVING
BESPOKE PASTORAL CARE TO ALL GIRLS AND ON SUPPORTING THEIR FAMILY TIES
â€œOur girls have been very happy and made lifelong friends. They have been given amazing opportunities to learn and to dare to try new things. Their confidence has been given the chance to grow as they are gently encouraged in such a safe environment.â€? Upper Fifth Form mother
Boarding is a partnership between school and
At Benenden pastoral care means looking after girls so they can lead
home. Home will always remain the most
fulfilling and balanced lives at school and beyond; it is about showing girls
important place in girlsâ€™ lives and their parents the
how to look after themselves and others; it is about encouraging them to
most important people. We work together with
seek help or support or advice when they need it and it is about helping
parents and keep in regular contact with them to
them to be ready to become fully fledged adults who are comfortable in
ensure pupils have the opportunity to flourish.
their own skins when they leave school. We understand that pastoral care underpins personal development: our girls feel they belong, and their self-esteem is able to grow because they feel valued.
BENENDEN BOARDING A CLOSE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN SCHOOL AND HOME
“ My daughter FaceTimes me almost every day and sends me emails. I can barely get a word in edgeways, as she excitedly regales me with her adventures and lessons of the day! She is the happiest she has ever been. I visit most weekends when she doesn’t have a better offer! There is a genuine school community and it’s not unusual to see and chat with her teachers, who may be supporting a Lacrosse match, often in the rain, on their day off.” Upper Fourth Form mother
Benenden boarding is all about looking after young people. It’s about them having space to enjoy the process of growing up and, at the same time, keeping them safe. Benenden is expert in managing the teenage years and a Boarding House is like a large family with a strong safety net. We are very clear that School does not replace family life. If they wish, girls can choose to be at home, on average, every second weekend (once lessons and match commitments have finished, of course!) yet the popularity of the Weekend Programme means that Benenden is a vibrant, friendly and exciting place to be at weekends. In fact, on any given weekend, around two-thirds of girls are in School.
PARTNER SHIP We do ask that girls are in School for at least five weekends in the
Girls have a wide range of people overseeing their progress - a
Spring and Summer terms and six in the longer Autumn Term, to
Housemistress or Housemaster, their Deputy, a team of Matrons,
give the girls opportunity to bond with one another and spend time
a personal and academic Tutor, a Big Sister and a House Mother,
with their friends. There are usually two compulsory Long Home
as well as their teachers, all caring for their wellbeing.
Weekends (sometimes called Fixed Exeats) each term, when the whole School leaves at Friday lunchtime and returns on Sunday
Parents tells us that their relationship with their daughters is
evening, when girls go home or to a guardian.
strengthened by a boarding environment: all the daily niggles of life are dealt with at School, making family time together that
In addition, parents are always welcome at School and fathers
much more precious. When a girl goes home for a weekend she
enjoying Sunday brunch with their daughters is particularly popular!
cherishes quality time with her parents in a way the daily
Indeed, Benenden is almost as much for parents as it is for the girls:
familiarity of being in a day school does not encourage.
there is a thriving programme of activities run by parents for parents.
B E N E N D E N P ROV I D E S A W I D E R A N G E O F AC T I V I T I E S, D E S I G N E D TO P RO M OT E AC A D E M I C , C U LT U R A L ,
C R E AT I V E , P H YS I C A L , S P I R I T UA L , P E R S O NA L A N D S O C I A L D E V E LO P M E N T
AN ACTIVE SCHOOL, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK
A N D G R E AT F U N TO O !
A modern boarding school needs an active Weekend Programme and here at Benenden there is always something happening. After a week of lessons and other activities, the Weekend Programme offers pupils the chance to dive into an unrivalled schedule of outings, activities and fun! There is a rich variety of activities on offer: cultural visits to the theatre, museums and galleries, outdoor pursuits such as canoeing, raft building and obstacle courses, and relaxing afternoons of jewellery making, skills workshops, or cookery. There is also a range of events with boysâ€™ schools, including socials, debates, quizzes and drama. Each House is twinned with a Boarding House at Tonbridge School. We encourage pupils to achieve the right balance between going home for the weekend and staying in School with friends to make the most of the full range of activities, outings and visits.
AGES 11-16 LEARNING TO LIVE WITH OTHERS
Whether pupils arrive aged 11 or 13, there is no doubt that joining a junior Boarding House offers a unique opportunity for independence in a caring environment which feels like a large family. Boarding school pupils acquire quite a different set of life skills. It is a bonus for children to be able to exercise freedom in areas where they need to learn for themselves: • To learn about human nature • To understand people that they live and work with • To respect differences, learn compromises and tolerance • To have time for everyone and care for each other.
AGES 16-18 Benenden’s Sixth Form is the ideal bridge between school
• Their own programme of weekend activities aimed
and university, providing girls with increased independence
at older girls
and responsibility in a supportive environment. They live
• A dedicated programme of lectures by high-profile
in the dedicated Sixth Form Houses, collectively known as
Founders, mostly in single bedrooms, and enjoy additional
• Their own café bar (a glass of wine is available to girls
benefits such as:
on a Saturday night – with parental permission!) • Holding positions of seniority in their former
• Their own uniform
Houses in the Lower School
• The Professional Skills Programme, teaching
• Applying to be a prefect (which we call Grey Jumpers)
them practical skills for the workplace
• Their own kitchen and laundry facilities
• Deciding their own bedtimes and managing
• The privilege to ride scooters around the School site!
their own prep times
SHINE YOUR TIME TO SHINE, WITH YOUR FRIENDS CHEERING YOU ON There is activity in the Music Department all day. With a staff of 30 teachers and with over 400 weekly individual lessons involving over two thirds of pupils, there is very much a feeling of ‘a school within a school’. Pupil-led music ensembles abound and Benenden has a strong tradition of attracting and nurturing outstanding Music Scholars who both lead our full and stimulating musical programme and forge their own musical paths via additional study and performance. The imminent new School Hall and Music School, the most ambitious development project in Benenden’s history, will take the School’s Music and musical opportunities to even greater heights. Benenden has a magnificent Theatre and Drama-teaching complex and performance opportunities are almost unlimited. From appearing in West End musicals to devising their own examination pieces, pupils can nurture a wide range of skills and talents, including confidence-building, assertiveness, voice production, presentation, improvisation, empathy, movement and dance. Benenden also specialises in technical skills, and Drama provides no end of leadership and general people-management skills.
AN AMBITIOUS FUTURE A SCHOOL HALL FOR GENERATIONS TO COME Benenden is creating a £19million new School Hall and Music School, the single most ambitious development project the School has undertaken, which will transform the experience of Benenden girls for generations to come. The Hall is at the very heart of Benenden life. It is where the whole School gathers every morning, where girls perform concerts for parents and each other, where they hold socials, enjoy weekend activities, celebrate success with friends at Mark Reading and create a whole host of other treasured memories that, together, comprise the Benenden experience. Almost 80 years after it was built for a school of over 200 pupils, we have outgrown the current School Hall. Benenden needs a new Hall fit for today’s School and for the future, one that can fit our 550 girls plus staff in comfort. Designed by the multi award-winning Guy Hollaway Architects, the new School Hall will offer state-of-the-art acoustics and will give girls and the audience a truly professional performance experience. In addition, retractable seating will provide the flexibility for the Hall to be used for a variety of events, while the bar area and catering facilities will enable it to be used by the community. Crucially, the Hall will lead out to Benenden’s historic Rose Garden, making the most of its position in one of the most beautiful parts of the School site. The new design will also retain some tiered seating which has been such a treasured part of the current Hall for generations of Benenden girls.
A STATE-OF-THE-ART MUSIC SCHOOL In addition to the new School Hall, the Music School will feature a Recital Hall, with capacity for an audience of around 100 people, which will offer girls a performance space in a more intimate environment, perfect for rehearsals and smaller performances such as Lunchtime Concerts. This will also be the ideal environment in which girls can develop their confidence and skills in performing. The Music School will have more than 20 practice rooms and classrooms, as well as a smaller performance room, IT suite and recording and performance booths. These facilities will offer girls plenty of opportunity for practice and to explore new musical passions. The Music School will be linked to the School Hall by a bridge through a stunning atrium which will flow into the new courtyard outside, creating a tranquil and beautiful space in which girls will relax and gather with friends.
THERE IS A SPORT FOR EVERY GIRL AT BENENDEN
Fitness and wellbeing are central to school life and pupils have the chance to contribute to teams in a wide variety of sports. They learn to work with others and through fun personal challenges they understand the importance of physical fitness. We cater for all sporting abilities: on one hand we are National Schools Lacrosse Champions and on the other we are proud of the depth we can offer girls, with teams from the 1st team to the G squad. We are fortunate to have national players on our Sports staff and our magnificent new All-Weather Pitch and Pavilion has greatly enhanced the performance experience for girls and spectators alike. We have a huge variety of fixtures for teams with continued development: we play more than 1,000 sporting fixtures including hosting numerous tournaments and festivals at school.
Benenden is renowned for its excellent food. The quality and variety of our freshly-prepared and locally-sourced food ensures the Dining Room and Café are the social hubs of every school day. Our fantastic team of chefs are inspired each week to serve the most delicious food. Enthused by regular feedback from the pupils and staff, our chefs create innovative and nutritious menus, with something for everyone from home-cooked favourites to the most sophisticated dining. A wide range of special diets are catered for, safe in the knowledge that all ingredients are sourced by the team and therefore fully traceable. With our pupils’ healthy and energetic lifestyles, food at Benenden is the wonderful fuel on which we run.
“ At Benenden the food is amazing!” Fourth Form pupil
FOOD TO NOURISH YOUR MIND, HEART AND SOUL 30
NOURI SH 31
THOUSANDS OF WOMEN WALKED THIS WAY Since the School began in 1923 more than 5,000 women have become Benenden Seniors - our former pupils. We are delighted that so many of them return to visit us each year as part of our programme of reunion events, but also to provide advice and guidance to current pupils in seminars and careers events.
H We want every pupil to leave Benenden as a capable, confident, cultured and caring young woman, keen to use her many talents and make her contribution to society. The Benenden School Seniors’ Association not only keeps Seniors in close contact with the School and each other, it is a wonderful networking opportunity for current pupils to explore career pathways and learn from those who have already travelled the paths from Benenden to every university, to every course and beyond.
“I left Benenden with invaluable friendships that will last a lifetime. We all left with the attitude that hard work, confidence and a little humour would enable us to achieve whatever we set our minds to. We’ve gone from grubby Lacrosse players and paintsplattered A Level artists to become lawyers, nurses, teachers, appliqué designers and even health food gurus.” Rosie Bishop G/Oaks 09
“There is so much I am grateful to Benenden for: mastering skills both in and outside the classroom, building confidence but most importantly the lifelong friendships I made. I am struck by the sheer variety of career successes from my peers and delighted by the fun we are still having together. It is a great testament to the place that supported and developed us from girls to young women.” Héloïse Mayou Ma/Oaks 05
AND FINALLY, FROM OUR HEADMISTRESS Having read this prospectus I hope you will have gained a flavour of what it is we do and stand for at Benenden. We are passionate about education in its broadest sense so that every girl who studies and lives here receives a Complete Education and enjoys her school days. Whilst instilling within the girls the values to which we hold firm of confidence, compassion and courage we prepare them to be professional young women in whatever field of work they choose to pursue in later life. Above all, Benenden is a home where our girls benefit from outstanding facilities and extensive grounds for them to enjoy, together with the intimacy and care that comes from being a community of no more than 550. At Benenden we aspire for excellence in all that we do. Motivational teaching through a dynamic and challenging curriculum is central to our educational offering. All of the girls are expected to engage in the extensive subjects we offer. They will leave us not only with excellent results at GCSE and A Level, but very importantly with an understanding of the world in which we live, skills in critical thinking, practical skills
such as financial management, a flavour of the world of entrepreneurship and business as well as the knowledge of professional skills which will support them in the world of work beyond university. Furthermore, we pride ourselves on our extensive and imaginative co-curricular programme which offers every opportunity for the girls to learn, develop interests, excel in areas beyond the classroom and very importantly, have a great deal of fun! Crucially, we work with every girl to discover and nurture the passion that will drive whatever path she might want to follow. We will support her in achieving more than she would have thought possible when she first entered the School and instil within her the self-belief to embrace her future with confidence. As we prepare the girls for life beyond Benenden, it is important to equip them with the skills to work effectively with others, lead with confidence, understand themselves and manage a healthy work-life balance. For almost 100 years Benenden has been educating girls successfully. Our Seniors look back on their Benenden education as one that has taught them a great deal and offered them a wealth of very fond memories and friendships to take with them throughout their lives. Come and see for yourself; we look forward to welcoming you and introducing you to our community.
Samantha Price Headmistress
Written by Six Two pupil Erin Yau about her time at Benenden and performed by her and Mai Anh Doan at Speech Day 2017.
FOREVER BOUND Never go back We can’t go back Heaven forbid We forget where we’ve been And what we’ve done But none Can take away What is here to stay Understand my love is true I’ll remember when We laughed our lungs out Danced as the sun came down Holding Onto the ones that we can’t go on Without Forever bound This isn’t the end Just hold my hand
Never too far I’ll be where you are Just call my name Wind and rain I won’t hesitate I’ll remember when We laughed our lungs out Danced as the sun came down Holding Onto the ones that we can’t go on Without So close We’ve grown so close You’ve been my home Now we walk alone But we’re not alone No, we’re not alone
“When you turn into the Benenden School gates your heart lifts, arriving to find your daughter with a bigger smile on her face than you have ever seen - which has to be the best confirmation Benenden was the right choice.” Mother of girls in the Lower Fifth and Fifth Forms
“Benenden is a uniquely joyful, inspiring and special place. Any girl lucky enough to come here will have the world as her oyster.” Upper Fourth Form mother
Benenden School, Benenden, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 4AA, UK T 01580 240592 E firstname.lastname@example.org
www.benenden.kent.sch.uk Follow us on Twitter: @benendenschool