Benenden School, Cranbrook, Kent, UK

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Benenden has been one of the leading academic boarding schools for over 80 years. We educate around 550 girls aged 11-18, who come from a variety of backgrounds. This top girls boarding school offers a broad and balanced education within a friendly, caring and happy environment. This best boarding School for girls is situated in the Kent countryside in its own beautiful parkland, just over an hour from London and the major airports.

Number of students

Boarding School:







Day School:








7 days boarding: 

12,250 per term

About the school

This best girls boarding school occupies a Victorian mansion, set in 240 acres of parkland, manicured gardens and woodland in the Weald of Kent. Living, learning, sporting and leisure facilities are clustered around the original 19th-century mansion, which adds to Benenden’s sense of close community. There have been, and continue to be, many improvements to the site. There is a Sports Centre (known as „SPLASH”), a humanities building („Leelands”), a Design Technology centre, Study Centre („SCN”) and a Theatre and drama teaching complex (finished Summer 2007)at the cost of £2.3 million. The Study Centre consists of the Eugenia Leung library and new-age classrooms featuring interactive whiteboard technology and an IT cluster known as „break-out”. A new Science Centre, one of the most advanced centres of scientific learning available in the independent sector, was opened by HRH The Princess Royal on 10 October 2012. The School’s most recent enhancement has been the construction of an All-Weather Sports Pitch and Pavilion in September 2016.

Benenden is a full-boarding school and has around 550 girls.  All students live in one of ten boarding houses. There are six junior boarding houses (ages 11–16), consisting of Marshall, Medway, Guldeford, Echyngham, Norris and Hemsted. The senior students, in their last two years (16–18), go to Sixth Form houses called Beeches, Elms, Limes and Oaks, which make up the Sixth Form Centre, known as Founders. Sixth Formers remain members of their junior house and take up positions of responsibility in them. Founders has 184 single study bedrooms. Each boarding house has a Housemistress or Housemaster, a deputy Housemistress or Housemaster, a team of Matrons (resident, day and evening) as well tutors. All teaching staff and a significant number of administrative staff are House Tutors. The role of the tutor is to provide individual weekly support and guidance.

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Academic life

Lessons at the school start at 9 am and carry on until 5.30 pm; there are six periods in the day, each lesson is one hour long. Sports practices take place during the lunch break as well as after lessons end. In addition there are two hours worth of lessons on Saturday mornings. Younger students will take a mixture of all subjects offered, as well as sports, music and PSHE classes.

Pupils studying for their GCSEs must generally take 10 or 11 subjects, including Mathematics, Science and English and one modern language. Classes average around 13 students at GCSE, and 6–8 students during A-levels. Drama and the Arts are popular; the School’s annual play has on occasion been performed in London theatres such as the Palladium.

The school years are known, in order, as follows: Fourths (IV), Upper Fourths (UIV), Lower Fifths (LVths), Fifths (V), Upper Fifths (UV), Six Ones (VI1) and Six Twos (VI2). Each year around 24 school prefects are nominated, called Upper Sixths. Instead of wearing the normal navy blue Sixth form uniform, they wear white and red striped blouses and grey jumpers. They are often known as „the grey jumpers”.

Sport and culture

Main sports at this top boarding school include, lacrosse, netball, rounders and tennis. Girls often play these at county and sometimes national levels. Other activities include hockey, fencing, badminton, volleyball, swimming, golf, riding, judo, tae kwondo, trampolining, rounders, football, aerobics, athletics, rugby sevens, and squash. Tours abroad are occasionally organised.

Location Description

Cranbrook Road, Benenden Kent TN17 4A Kent TN17 4A

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