By Atom | Oct 3, 2023, 2:23 PM
Considering Benenden School for your daughter? Find out everything you need to know about 11+ entry. Learn about the admissions journey, what's on the entrance exam, and how to give your child the best chance of success.
Benenden School is an independent day and boarding school in Cranbrook, Kent for girls aged 11 to 18. The school provides modern boarding, which is central to its educational approach. Most girls balance full boarding with long breaks at home, helping them develop social and emotional skills.
The school occupies 250 acres of parkland, less than one hour by train from central London. In 2015, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (a former pupil) launched Benenden's 10-year development plan. This includes a new state-of-the-art music school and school hall, and an all-weather sports pitch and pavilion.
Benenden School offers a unique academic programme to encourage learning and discovery. Pupils in Years 7–8 study a bespoke diploma which fosters curiosity, intellectual growth, and critical thinking. For a few days each term, the structure of the normal school day is suspended to allow pupils to work on projects in a cross-curricular way.
The school is one of the only schools in the UK to provide a comprehensive professional skills programme. Sixth formers learn skills such as coding, understanding finances, and negotiating tenancy agreements. In 2023, 15% of students secured a place at a Top 10 World University.
Head: Mrs Samantha Price
Address: Benenden School, Cranbrook Road, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 4AA
Age range and gender: 11–18, girls only
Number of pupils: approx 550
National league table rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 75
A level results (2022): 87.1% A*–B
GCSE results (2022): 89.3% 9–7
Admissions contact: [email protected], 01580 240592
Open days: regularly throughout the school year – book a place online
Entry process: English and maths tasks, interview, school report, and ISEB Common Pre-Test
Registration deadline: two years in advance of entry is recommended (end of Year 5 at the latest)
Assessment date: September in Year 6 (preview day), November in Year 6 (ISEB Test)
The fees at Benenden School in 2023–2024 are £15,800 per term for boarding pupils, and £11,860 per term for day pupils. The school fees are reviewed every year, with any changes for the upcoming year normally published in June.
Benenden School is able to offer means-tested financial support, known as bursaries. These are available to girls who are offered a place but whose families would not otherwise be able to afford the fees.
There are three types of bursary awards available for 11+ applicants. Further details and information about how to apply is available on the school website.
This award is available to one or more girls attending one of Benenden's local primary schools. Up to 100% of school fees can be covered (subject to means-testing).
The eligible schools are:
Colliers Green CEP
Goudhurst & Kilndown CEP
High Halden CEP
John Mayne CEP
Smarden Primary St Michael’s CEP (Tenterden)
Children applying for 11+ entry to Benenden can also apply for a scholarship. These are honorary awards which are given to recognise talent, and do not include any fee remission.
Academic awards are automatically given to children who perform well in the entry process. Girls can apply for a music or sports scholarship.
The term dates at Benenden School in 2023–2024 are:
Tuesday 5th September: term starts
Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th September: closed weekend
Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th September: exeat
Friday 20th – Sunday 5th November: half term
Friday 24th – Sunday 26th November: exeat
Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th December: closed wekeend
Wednesday 13th December: term ends
If you're considering Benenden School for your daughter, it's a good idea to visit first. The school values its relationships with parents and welcomes visits from prospective families. You can visit the school as many times as you like.
You can book a personal visit – including a tour and a chat with the headmistress – by contacting the admissions team. The school also holds frequent open events throughout the year.
When you're ready to begin your daughter's application to Benenden, you'll need to complete the registration form.
You can register your daughter at any time, but the school recommends registration at least two years in advance of entry (by early Year 5 for 11+ candidates). This is because the school offers places in order of entry, and has a waiting list for when the main registration list is full.
Registration costs £350. If you're applying for bursary support, you should complete Form B which does not have a registration fee attached.
After registration, the admissions team will be in touch with your daughter's current school to request a confidential report.
Your daughter will be invited to the Benenden 11+ Preview Day, which is a lively weekend of fun activities in September in Year 6. Your daughter will be able to experience boarding and showcase her abilities and interests.
During the weekend, your daughter will have pre-assessment activities. These include English and maths tasks and an informal interview with a member of staff.
Following the Preview Day, the admissions team will write to you with their feedback from the pre-assessment. If your daughter has performed particularly well, she might be awarded an academic scholarship.
Help your child prepare for independent school English and maths exams with this free practice paper bundle. Includes creative writing and maths practice papers and marking guidance.
After the Preview Weekend, your daughter will need to complete the ISEB Common Pre-Test. This should be taken at your daughter's current school by 30th November in Year 6.
If your child's school can't facilitiate the test, you can arrange for it to be taken at a recognised test centre – such as a local British Council Office.
The ISEB Common Pre-Test is an online entrance exam with questions in English, maths, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning. Find out which topics are tested, see example questions, and learn how it's marked in our comprehensive guide.
Firm offers of places will be made in December in Year 6. Offers are made on the basis of performance in the ISEB Common Pre-test, school reference, interview and Preview Day activities.
If your daughter is offered a place, you will have until 1st March to accept.
There are lots of different activites and tasks involved in the Benenden School 11 plus process. Here are top tips to help your child prepare and feel confident.
It can be tempting to jump straight into practice papers to prepare for school exams. However, this is not an effective way to learn and can cause children to feel demotivated.
Your child should have a good understanding of the content they’ve been taught in Year 5 before testing their knowledge with practice papers. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when recapping content is key, as our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. Experts recommend study sessions should last no longer than 30 minutes for children aged 10–11.
Wondering how to make sure your child covers the depth and breadth of the entire 11 plus curriculum, stays on track with their progress, and gets help when they're stuck? Online learning is a particularly efficient, cost-effective (and fun) way to do this!
Atom is an online learning platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for entrance exams. Atom's adaptive algorithm keeps your child learning at the pace that's right for them, so they stay challenged and motivated.
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