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Kent College Pembury: parents' guide to Year 7 entry

School guide

Jan 31, 2023, 2:03 PM

Kent College Pembury: a parents’ guide to Year 7 entry


Kent College Pembury is an independent day and boarding school located on a 75-acre estate near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, for girls aged 3 to 18. The school began to accept boys into the nursery from 2020, starting a gradual transition to a fully co-educational prep school by 2027. Kent College aims to be the school of choice for its forward thinking, creative and adventurous approach to life and learning.

The school offers a broad academic education to encourage pupils to develop a hunger for learning and independent thought. In addition to the core subjects on offer, pupils in Years 7 to 9 have lessons in Latin, Spanish, computer science, drama and textiles, with the offering increasing to 26 subjects at GCSE. There are a variety of extension activities available, including the Able Interested and Motivated Student programme (AIMS), which offers opportunities such as philosophy through storytelling for Years 7 and 8, and the HALO (High Aspirational Learning Opportunities) lecture series, exploring a variety of cultural, scientific and political themes.

Kent College’s approach to pastoral care is centred on the three core themes of wellbeing, community and readiness. Pupils are encouraged to speak up and share their views, to acknowledge and celebrate individual talents, and develop resilience and coping strategies to deal with mistakes and setbacks. There is a wide variety of co-curricular activities designed to help pupils develop such skills, including competitive team sports, creative arts, music, drama, and dance, in addition to activities such as pilates, mindfulness, self-defence and community service.

Directory of private schools in Kent

Key information for Kent College Pembury

  • Head: Miss Katrina Handford

  • Address: Kent College Pembury, Old Church Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 4AX

  • County: Kent

  • Admissions contact: [email protected], 01892 822006

  • Age range and gender: 3–18, girls only (prep school becoming co-educational from September 2023)

  • Number of pupils: 436

  • Open day date: Tuesday 28th February 2023 and Saturday 10th June 2023. Book a visit on the school website

  • Overview of selection procedure: entrance exam, interview and school reference

  • Registration closes: October in Year 6

  • Assessment date: November in Year 6

Kent College Pembury fees and financial assistance

The current senior school fees at Kent College are £7,865 per term for day pupils, £9,825 per term for weekly boarders, and £12,530 per term for full boarders. Day fees include tuition and school lunch, and boarding fees include all tuition, all meals and laundry.

Kent College is committed to broadening access to the school by offering means-tested financial support (known as bursaries) to eligible parents/guardians. Bursaries can be applied for by families whose children have been offered a place, from the December of Year 6. If your child is offered a place at Kent College and you think they may be eligible for a bursary, you will need to complete an application form which will ask for details and evidence of your income and capital.

Everything you need to know about bursaries

Children applying for Year 7 entry to Kent College may also apply for an academic, sport, creative, or performing arts (art, dance, drama and music) award (including both scholarships and exhibitions). Scholarships are worth up to 10% of day fees. Exhibitions do not carry financial value.

Kent College Pembury provides the following discounts on school fees:

  • Sibling discount: 5% reduction on each child’s fees when two or more siblings are attending at the same time

  • MOD: 20% reduction for children of certain MOD personnel

  • Methodist families: funding may be available through the Methodist Bursary Scheme

Kent College Pembury term dates

The term dates at Kent College Pembury for 2022–23 are:

  • Spring term: 4th January – 31st March 2023

  • Half term: 10th–19th February 2023

  • Summer term: 18th April – 7th July 2023

  • Half term: 26th May – 4th June 2023

The provisional term dates at Kent College Pembury for 2023–24 are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September –15th December 2023

  • Half term: 20th October – 5th November 2023

  • Spring term: 4th January – 27th March 2024

  • Half term: 9th–18th February 2024

  • Summer term: 16th April – 5th July 2024

  • Half term: 24th May – 2nd June 2024

Admissions process for Year 7 entry to Kent College Pembury

Kent College Pembury has a three form entry at Year 7, with classes of around 20 pupils. The school is looking for well-rounded pupils with sufficient ability, potential and interests that stretch beyond the academic curriculum. Successful applicants are likely to get involved in the school’s many extra-curricular activities, including music, drama, art, community service and sport.

1. Visit

If you are considering Kent College for your daughter’s secondary education, it’s recommended to visit the school first at an open event to see if the school is the right fit for your child. For families looking to apply for 2024, the school is holding the following open events in spring/summer 2023:

  • Senior open morning: Tuesday 28th February, 9am–11.30am. This involves a tour and speeches from the senior leadership and head girl team. More details are available on the school website.

  • Fearless Girls: Saturday 10th June, 9am–1pm. This event is specific to current Year 5 pupils looking to apply for Year 7 entry in 2024. It will involve a morning of activities, the chance to meet teachers and is followed by a family BBQ lunch. More details are available on the school website.

2. Registration

If you would like your daughter to be considered for a place in Year 7 at Kent College Pembury, you will need to start the admissions process by registering online. The deadline for submitting the online application form will be in mid-October when your daughter is in Year 6 (exact date for 2024 entry to be confirmed). A non-refundable registration fee of £150 applies.

Once you have submitted the form and paid the registration fee, the school will get in touch to advise you of the next steps.

3. Tests and interview

All girls who are registered by the deadline will be invited to the Kent College Pembury Year 7 entrance day in November in Year 6.

Your child will take two entrance tests. The first test is a cognitive abilities test (known as the CAT4. This online test assesses a range of skills including verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and numeracy. The test is age-standardised according to national data, meaning that your child’s age in years and months will be taken into account to give all pupils an equal advantage. Find out more about age standardisation here.

The CAT4 test: everything you need to know

The second test is a creative writing assessment. Your child will be assessed on their correct use of the English language (including vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and grammar), as well as their level of imagination and creativity.

In addition to the entrance tests, all candidates will have an interview with a member of staff. Take a look at our guide to private school interviews for top tips and to see the sorts of questions your daughter might be asked.

4. Scholarships

All candidates are automatically considered for an academic scholarship based on their performance in the entrance day assessments. If your daughter is considered suitable for an academic scholarship, she will be invited back to the school for a further interview, and the school will seek a report from your child’s current school.

Other scholarships must be applied for separately. The process of application and assessment is different for each type of scholarship:

  • Art scholarships: candidates should be able to demonstrate a high level of visual competence, an informed knowledge and interest of art and artists, and the ability to work independently. To apply, your child will need to submit the relevant application form, a specialist reference from their art teacher, a portfolio of up to six pieces of recent work and evidence of a recent gallery visit. The art scholarship assessment will take place in November in Year 6, and will include a one-hour observational drawing test and an interview with the art department.

  • Dance scholarships: candidates should be able to demonstrate strong ability in technical dance, clear interpretive and creative performance skills, and be able to take corrections and use them to develop and improve their skills. To apply, your daughter will need to submit the relevant application form in addition to a report from their current school and a specialist reference from a dance teacher. The audition will involve a technical dance class, individual and creative group work, a prepared performance piece and an interview.

  • Drama scholarships: candidates should be able to analyse and evaluate plays, use their own skills and imagination to create meaningful performances and take direction and use it to develop and improve their skills. To apply, your child will need to submit the relevant application form in addition to a report from their current school and a reference from their current head of drama. The audition will take place in November of Year 6 and will involve a voice class, a movement workshop, a prepared piece of drama, and an interview.

  • Music scholarships: candidates should be able to play to Grade 3 standard in at least one instrument. To apply, your child will need to submit the relevant application form in addition to a report and reference from their current head of music. Your child will then be invited to an assessment in November, which will include a practical audition on one or more instruments, sight-singing and aural skills, and an informal interview.

  • Sports scholarships: candidates should be able to demonstrate outstanding performance in any one sport (i.e. performing at a county level or above), or able to represent at least the A team in three, or perform at regional or county level in two, of the school’s competitive sports (netball, hockey, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, tennis, and cross country). To apply, your child will need to submit the relevant application form, a CV summarising their sporting activities and achievements over the past two years (with an attached portfolio of evidence), and a report from their current school and a specialist reference from their sports teacher or coach. The sports scholarship assessment will take place shortly after the main entrance exam, and will include an interview with the director of sport and fitness assessments.

5. Offers

The admissions team at Kent College Pembury will let you know about the outcome of your daughter’s application by December in Year 6 (before the Christmas break). If your daughter is offered a place in Year 7 the following year, you will have until early March to accept.

How to prepare for 11 plus entry to Kent College Pembury

Atom Nucleus

Atom Learning is an all-in-one exam preparation platform which can help your child consolidate everything she needs to know and prepare effectively for success in the Kent College Pembury admissions process.

Exam preparation with Atom Nucleus

All candidates applying to Kent College Pembury for Year 7 entry take the CAT4 test. Atom’s online learning platform Atom Nucleus can help your child consolidate everything she needs to know for the exam, with over 90,000 interactive questions in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning, plus unlimited online practice papers that replicate the CAT4.

All content is automatically marked, and you’ll get instant score breakdowns and data-led insights to help you track your child’s progress. You can use your parent dashboard to effectively help your child set targets and create exercises to target the content they find more challenging.

See how Atom Nucleus can help your child prepare effectively for the Kent College Pembury entrance exam – start your free trial today.

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Interview preparation with Atom Tuition

As well as academic tests, all children applying for entry to Kent College Pembury will have an interview with a member of staff. This is a common practice at independent schools, as it can provide a more holistic insight into your child’s abilities and interests. However, even informal interviews can still be daunting for many 10 and 11-year-olds!

Atom Tuition offers online mock interviews with experienced tutors who are specialists in the private school admissions process. A one-hour session consists of a 30-minute interview, a 10-minute break, 20 minutes of feedback and a follow-up report.

These mock interviews are an ideal opportunity for your child to:

  • Encounter typical private school interview questions

  • Learn and practice techniques that will serve them well in the real interview

  • Develop their conversational skills and storytelling style

  • Demystify the interview process and know what to expect

  • Reduce any anxiety and feel confident for the real interview

One mock interview, including one-to-one feedback and a follow-up report, costs £115 (or book two mock interviews for £200). Book a mock interview today and give your child the benefits of expert guidance and a confidence-building experience.

Book a mock interview with Atom Tuition

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Book a call with an Education Expert

Confused about applying to independent schools, and not sure what you or your child needs to do? Atom’s friendly and informative Education Experts are on hand to support you and your child every step of the way. Book a call to discuss any questions you have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to a private school.

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