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Schooling near Tenterden (poss Smarden), Kent

(25 Posts)
substantiallycompromised Thu 29-Sep-11 13:28:00

Hello. V. v. v. theoretical possibility that we might be moving back to UK from continent. If so, Tenterden or surrounding villages would be one of the two areas in the UK we would move to.

Have one dd, 8 yrs, currently being educated in French and Dutch but speaks and writes English fluently. We are Catholic but school doesn't necessarily have to be (as long as its good)

What prep/primary schools do you recommend please?

And (looking ahead) what about secondary schools?

Thank you in advance for any advic/recommendations - very much appreciated!

substantiallycompromised Thu 29-Sep-11 19:03:27


TheTamingOfTheShrew Thu 29-Sep-11 20:29:50

Have a look at Cranbrook School, for secondary, although not sure about primaries.

CristinadellaPizza Thu 29-Sep-11 20:35:39

The Mead in Tonbridge is a good pre-prep/prep (not sure what age it goes up to but they start from kindergarten)

talkingnonsense Thu 29-Sep-11 20:36:04

Most of Kent has grammar schools for state secondary so you would need to check which area carefully. There are a few private schos too- believe dulwich college in cranbrook is good. The lea website should make the secondary choice clear, but be aware cranbrook grammar, though state, doesn't start till 13, and state primaries finish at 11.

CristinadellaPizza Thu 29-Sep-11 20:37:48

Tunbridge even

Bonsoir Thu 29-Sep-11 20:39:10

If you want decent state primaries, there are Frittenden (teensy tiny and cuddly), Sissinghurst and Benenden that all have good reputations.

Otherwise there are good prep schools - Dulwich Prep in Cranbrook is bigger and brasher than Marlborough House in Hawkhurst, but both get plenty of pupils into (free) Cranbrook School (a grammar) at 13+.

killercat Thu 29-Sep-11 20:43:52

For independent prep, look at St Ronan's, Dulwich and Marlborough House. The grammar school system is good (cranbrook is co-ed, but there is also all girls in tun wells) but I'd still personally send to Benenden at 13 after prep, or 11 if suited to the girl.
Tenterden infant school is a good state school (best in area) but juniors less so from what I've heard. Benenden primary (state) is also very good.
I am personally a St Ronan's fan. My dd went there until we moved and it's a slightly wacky school but so caring and outdoorsy. My dd still in contact with friends from there grin

Bonsoir Thu 29-Sep-11 20:49:59

You need to be sure to purchase a property within the boundaries of Cranbrook School catchment if you don't want to exclude that route in the near future.

substantiallycompromised Thu 29-Sep-11 20:57:07

Thank you so much for all these v. helpful replies - v. much appreciated.

As mentioned, schooling is one of the major factors which will decide whether we move back to UK or not. So I am going to research all the places you've mentioned and then throw all the pros and cons in to the decision pot!

Two further questions:

- do any of you know about The Kings School Canterbury? Some acquaintances of ours have dc there and are happy with it. (I think they may have Eng-French bilingual stream also). I am obviously going to get in touch with our contact for more info but it always helps to have as many opinions as poss.

- what are the health services like in this area?

Thank you again everyone.

CristinadellaPizza Thu 29-Sep-11 21:01:17

Kings School has a very good reputation but it's a bit of a hike from Tenterden!

Bonsoir Thu 29-Sep-11 21:01:22

I had my baby in Pembury and was very happy indeed with the MWs and HVs I encountered.

One of the most talented people I have ever met went to King's!

substantiallycompromised Thu 29-Sep-11 21:08:49

I thought it might be Cristinadella - thanks - my knowledge of the area is a little sketchy (am from oop north) - need to study maps more closely!

Thanks Bonsoir - that's useful to know. Not so much focused on maternity services but cardiac and general gynae. (We are v. spoilt with brilliant health service here in Bxls)
Thanks also for posting link to Cranbrook catchment area map - v. helpful indeed.

Btw Killercat St Ronan's sounds lovely!

SparklePrincess Fri 30-Sep-11 00:18:55

Just to clarify, Tenterden is not in Cranbrook catchment area it comes under Homewood school.

substantiallycompromised Fri 30-Sep-11 08:39:31

Thank you Sparkle! Is Homewood good do you happen to know?

SparklePrincess Fri 30-Sep-11 09:07:29

I researched it years ago when we considered moving there & it was pretty good back then. Worth checking their Ofsted reports & results though to see what the current situation is. smile Tenterden itself is a very nice area. We moved to Heathfield in the end, which has an even better school & is a bit cheaper. smile

Bonsoir Fri 30-Sep-11 09:45:59

Homewood School is a "comprehensive" (if such a thing exists in a grammar school area) in Tenterden and serves Tenterden and also Ashford. Ashford has a grammar school which children who pass the 11+ living in Tenterden may attend. School buses go to and fro between Ashford and Tenterden.

talkingnonsense Fri 30-Sep-11 10:09:19

Bonsoir, I had my chdn at Pembury too! They've built a new hospital there now but I haven't seen it yet. Ashford is cheapish for houses considering grammar schools and reasonable commute, but I am not overkeen on it. Tunbridge wells is nice, expensive and a bit pinch. There are nice villages around Canterbury, which is where kings is, but for me that would be a long commute, if u need to get to London.

substantiallycompromised Fri 30-Sep-11 10:18:40

Thank you again everyone! That's all v. helpful.

I'll add Ofsted reports to my research list! (And try and get a better understanding of the logistical issues)

Dh will need to get to London regularly but not every day. He favours Smarden (he knows the area from his childhood). We visited Canterbury a while back and liked it very much. If we decide to make the move, a rural location is definitely top of the list.

drcrab Fri 30-Sep-11 23:25:29

We live in Canterbury. Junior kings is in Sturry which is a village 3 miles from Canterbury. Kings is in the city centre. The south of Canterbury is seen to be the nice area to live in as it's near the hospital (?) and grammar schools (simon langton boys and girls are v good).

In that area St christophers is the prep school and I think they are quite 'academic' but do check it out. The v good primary is Bridge school (which is a village outside Canterbury).

The north of Canterbury is also v good area as is near university and 2 public schools - St Edmunds and Kent college.

Living in the north of Canterbury (St Stephen's area) will put you v near to canterbury west station which will get you to St pancreas under 1 HR. Primary schools in this area are St Stephen's and Blean. Both good schools - non religious. Rated 2. St Thomas (catholic) recently scored a 2 on ofsted which is an improvement. So there are good choices.

These 3 schools will be on my selection list come September 2012. grin

drcrab Fri 30-Sep-11 23:31:08

Health services - there is the Kent & Canterbury hospital which has an excellent cardiac dept. We are possibly closing down the birth centre but we still have antenatal services. No real a&e but there are children's centre and other types of wards and specialities. To check just go to east Kent trust. Smarden or tenterden will not be under east Kent though.

We are pretty happy here I'd say. There's even a house up for sale by a French couple in St Stephen's area. They moving to Brussels. You can do a house swap!! grin

papooser Sat 01-Oct-11 11:54:48

I went to Cranbrook School (a looong time ago though) -fantastic school if you can get in the catchment. Also, there are several girls' grammars in Tonbridge (as opposed to Tunbridge Wells - different town although next to TW) - Tonbridge Girls Grammar and Weald of Kent for example.

substantiallycompromised Sat 01-Oct-11 16:34:18

DrCrab and Papooser thank you very much for all that extra info. Extremely interesting! Will follow it all up.

Good luck with the schools selection next year DrCrab and what a coincidence about Bxls couple! Although, having said that, several people we know here have UK bases around tunnel exit and commute between the two depending on work commitments etc.
Thanks also for hosp. info - very useful indeed!

drcrab Sat 01-Oct-11 19:52:09

No problem. Do PM me if you have more questions. It's also v multicultural so there is french school on Saturday. And Chinese school... grin

substantiallycompromised Sat 01-Oct-11 19:54:25

Sounds wonderful DrCrab !

Will definitely pm if things become more concrete - plans still v. sketchy currently ...

Thank you again.

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