United Kingdom / South East England / Kent / Kent College, Canterbury (Senior School)

Kent College, Canterbury (Senior School) Review

130 years old and located on the outskirts of the beautiful cathedral city of Canterbury, Kent College is steeped in tradition and history, yet forward thinking and modern in its approach to education.
At a glance
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 18,500
Annual fees
GBP 16,794 - 18,864
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1885
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Dr David Lamper
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
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Kent College, Canterbury (Senior School)
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 18,500
Annual fees
GBP 16,794 - 18,864
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1885
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Dr David Lamper
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
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130 years old and located on the outskirts of the beautiful cathedral city of Canterbury, Kent College is steeped in tradition and history, yet forward thinking and modern in its approach to education.

This small, independent school is semi-rural, set in 80 acres of rural farm land. Although deeply rooted in the Christian Methodist tradition, it welcomes 500+ pupils of all faiths and none, from 40 different countries. It offers IGCSEs/GCSEs, A Levels, Cambridge Technical, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

Kent College, Canterbury is part of a group of schools, all situated near Kent College Senior school, that caters to students from birth (Garden Cottage Nursery) to 18 years of age, and has been fully coeducational since 1975. It has thirteen sister schools in the UK, all part of the Methodist Independent Schools Trust. All but three of the schools are co-ed.

Dr David Lamper has been headmaster since 2007. His degree in music from King’s College London was followed by a Masters and then a Doctorate in Education (and Leadership). He introduced the IB alongside A Levels, and he has opened international schools in the UAE and Hong Kong. Dr Lamper built an in-school International Study Centre along with six teachers, to provide specialist help with the English Language, which also offers short courses for students whose English needs improving before entering the UK schooling system. He is said to be innovative and kind with a strong Methodist guiding principle: “Do all the good you can do”. He is justly proud of the latest Independent Schools Inspectorate rating which judged the school to be “excellent in every aspect.” 

Dr Lamper has brought in personalised timetables which allow for extended teaching time, a choice of curricula and much more. It is unusually flexible in not putting subjects in “blocks” which, the school says, limits choice. This means that students can take up to 12 subjects in any combination. One-quarter of students take the IB, 70% take A Levels and several take the vocational Cambridge Technical courses.

Although non-selective, students must take a placement test for setting purposes, and they have an interview to make sure that they will be happy and fit in.

Kent College Dubai, a sister school, opened in 2016 with the aim of providing the same high-quality education to families in Dubai as that offered by this founding school. It caters for pupils aged six months (Kent Nursery) to 18 years.

Pastoral care is at the heart of Kent College and is taken seriously. This school has a well-earned reputation for being caring and friendly. Students are very happy.

As noted, Kent College was rated Excellent in its most recently available ISI Educational Quality report (2015).

Curriculum

Teaching from Year 9 follows the National Curriculum of England, with English, Mathematics, Religious Studies, and Sciences compulsory at GCSE level, with a choice of French, Spanish, German, and Italian for modern foreign languages, and a diverse choice of additional subjects.

With 200 Sixth Form students, Kent College offers a broad education for all abilities. Small teaching groups and bespoke timetables cater for the IB, A Levels, and the Cambridge Technical Diploma. In addition to the IB, each student must complete an Extended Essay, a Theory of Knowledge course (TOK), and the CAS programme (Creativity, Action and Service).

Senior students have their own common room and study centre, while all students have a school issued MacBook for their studies and research. For computer enthusiasts, robotics is strong and technology is an area where Kent College excels. It is recognised as a flagship school by Apple.

The SEN department is also strong and support is provided for any student that needs it.

Sports and the arts

Kent College sport is excellent and students are said to be enthusiastic regardless of ability. On offer, hockey (five national titles won in four years), football, netball, swimming... In fact, all the usual suspects, with one-to-one coaching available for sports scholars. The school has facilities for trampolining, badminton, volleyball and basketball, yoga, and body strengthening and conditioning in the gym or at Kent University, a five-minute walk away.

The arts rooms are light and bright and there are many different mediums on offer to study. Art (as well as music and drama) take a central role in the life of this school.

Music is a particular strength of the school. The department is housed in its own purpose-built Music School which has outstanding facilities, including teaching and practice rooms, two large rehearsal rooms, and a recording studio. Performance is “encouraged from an early age”. Drama takes place in the newly renovated Great Hall, which is a 600-seat state-of-the-art auditorium. There is a dedicated, and fabulous, Arts Week.

Beyond the classroom

Kent College’s activity list is impressive, coding, cooking, a Lego league, debating, and international society to name a few.

Students at Kent College have access to the school’s full working farm, set in 50 acres. 'Moat Farm' also has a riding school and arena. The school offers livery so pupils can bring their own ponies.

Academic results

IB: average result 37 (excellent for a non-selective school).

A Levels: 76%A* - B, GCSE: 48% 9 - 7. Further mathematics is strong with 83% achieving A* - B.

Very nearly one in two students (48% to be exact!) are accepted into Russell Group universities, and a number of students go on to study at universities in the United States.

Campus and facilities

Kent College offers very flexible boarding arrangements, and a third of senior school pupils board in all-age mixed international year groups. There are five boarding houses, often run by teachers, equipped with kitchens, sitting rooms, single and shared bedrooms, and study areas (newer boarding houses have en-suite shower rooms). The ethos is to act responsibly, and with that comes rewards. Abusing the rules also results in repercussions, such as having a phone confiscated.

There are plenty of weekend activities including sports fixtures on Saturdays, after which the students can walk into Canterbury. Saturday night is takeaway and film night. Voluntary outings are planned every Sunday. Weekly boarding is offered, but it is less popular than full boarding, and flexi-boarding is on offer if spaces are available.

Admission and fees

All year group applicants are required to take Kent College’s own entrance examinations in English, Mathematics, and Non-verbal reasoning. There is also a ‘getting to know you’ interview session for both pupils and parents with the headmaster.

School reports and GCSE/GCSE results are the basis for Year 12 (16+) entry.  Students normally need a minimum of six GCSE passes with at least a grade B in the subjects they choose to study at A Level or for the IB Diploma.

For day students, per term fees range from £5,598 in Year 7 to £11,876 in Years 9 - 13.

Best for

Access to a thriving city
Non-selective education (but with good results)
EAL for International students

Not for

Academic hothouse
Single sex education

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