Kent College, Pembury

Kent, United Kingdom

Location: Kent, United Kingdom
Type: Mainstream School
Phase: All-through with sixth form
Funding status: Independent
Gender: Girls
Age range: 3 - 18 years

About Kent College, Pembury


Founded in Folkestone in 1886, Kent College is an independent day and boarding school for girls Senior School (ages 11-18) and Preparatory School (ages 3-11). From September 2020 the Prep School, will be welcoming boys into the Nursery (rising 3’s). This will mark the beginning of a gradual transition for the Prep School in becoming fully co-educational by September 2027. The school is one of a group of twelve schools within the Methodist Independent Schools Trust.    Since 1939, Kent College has been located on 75 acres of beautiful countryside in Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells.  The school campus comprises an elegant Victorian manor house and purpose-built modern facilities, including boarding houses, a music centre, science building, sports hall, A level study centre. The school is committed to a continuous programme of development and the resources are excellent.  IT provision is first-rate, including the number of interactive white boards, laptops and data projectors.  In 2008, a new science wing was opened, providing inspirational science laboratories, and recent boarding refurbishment includes an extension of ICT facilities to individual study areas.  The Countess of Wessex Theatre reopened in 2012 following extensive refurbishment and an iconic Library and Arts Centre opened in spring 2013. Our additional Sports Hall was opened in October 2015 and All Weather Pitch in autumn 2016. Planning is underway for a new swimming pool.

The Senior School

The current roll in the Senior School is approximately 370 and attracts pupils from all over the world.  Entry at eleven and thirteen is by the GL CAT4 test and the school accepts quite a wide range of academic ability, with approximately half of our KS3 intake within the top 25% of the national ability range.   Kent College offers a choice of over 26 GCSE subjects, with group sizes usually between three and eighteen. Most pupils complete 10 GCSEs or IGCSEs, but there is the opportunity to take more or less depending on interest or need.  In summer 2019, 62% of GCSE grades awarded were 9-7 and the school’s value added, based on predictions at KS3 baseline data, was among the best in the country. Excellence was seen in core subjects such as English, Languages and Science, with 93% of all English grades being 7-9.  The school is in a highly competitive area with grammar schools, strong comprehensives and many independent schools locally.  Students are also accepted for entry at 16+ and there are approximately 100 pupils studying for A-level courses.  In 2019, at A-level there were 72% A*-B grades and 37% A*-A Grades.  We offer around 27 subjects:  A-levels in most subjects and BTECs in PE and Drama. Class sizes at 16+ normally range between three and 12.   Scholarships to the Senior School are offered at 11+, 13+, 16+ and means-tested bursaries are available.

The Prep School

In 1945, a Prep School, ‘Aultmore’ was opened in the centre of Tunbridge Wells and in 1989. It was moved to the main school site in Pembury into architect-designed purpose built accommodation. The move also enabled the Prep School to benefit from a range of excellent facilities that they share with the Senior School, which now include two sports halls, professional theatre, dining hall and all weather pitch as well as extensive play areas and superb Forest School.  The Prep School is a friendly, caring and happy school with a current roll of approximately 150 pupils aged 3 to 11 (Nursery – Year 6). The majority are day pupils with a small number of boarders. In addition to the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, all of the pupils in Key Stage 2 study Geography, History, Art, DT and RE, ICT taught from Year 1 upwards. Specialist teachers in Music, French, Drama, PE and Swimming work with pupils throughout the school and Mandarin is also taught in Year 6.  Class sizes in KS1 and KS2 are normally a maximum of 18.  Each year, a number of pupils apply for and are awarded scholarships to the Senior School.


Katrina Handford (Head)
Salli Hall (Head of Prep School)

Values and vision

Kent College Pembury maintains the Methodist Christian ethos of its founders, although it is now an interdenominational school accepting pupils of all faiths, or none. Its values are based on the Methodist principles of fulfilling one’s own potential to help others, and to make the world a better place.

The school is selective, but “not narrowly so” and it accepts pupils with a range of abilities, from the most able to those with mild learning difficulties or who have interrupted schooling. The school can support such a range of abilities by providing a high level of individual attention through small teaching groups.


"The curriculum is excellent; it shows great breadth, effectively covers all the appropriate areas of learning, whilst suiting all abilities and needs. Pupils…are thoughtful and compassionate, with a well-developed understanding of right and wrong and a high degree of emotional maturity. Leadership and management, and also governance, are excellent.”

View Kent College Pembury’s latest ISI report

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Address: Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 4AX, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 1892 822006