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A complete guide to private schools in Kent

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A complete guide to private schools in Kent: everything you need to know about fees, financial assistance and admissions

Are you considering a private senior school in Kent? Find out everything you need to know, including:

  • Day and boarding schools

  • Single-sex and co-educational schools

  • An outline of the admissions processes

  • Fees and financial assistance

  • 2022 exam results

Contents

What are the best private schools in Kent?

The Sunday Times Parent Power produces an annual league table for all schools in the country based on that year’s exam results. For 2023, the following 5 schools were ranked as the best private schools in Kent based on academic results at A level/IB and GCSE:

  1. Sevenoaks School

  2. Tonbridge School

  3. Benenden School

  4. Walthamstow Hall

  5. The King's School, Canterbury

The top 10 private schools in England

How much do private schools cost in Kent?

While the fees for independent schools in Kent vary depending on the school, fees are generally above the national average due to the location in the southeast. Private school fees range from £4,612 to £9,670 per term for day tuition and £7,778–£14,307 per term for boarding.

The cheapest non-selective school in Kent is Gad’s Hill School (£4,612–£4,964 per term) while the cheapest selective school is King’s School Rochester (£5,550 per term for day education). The most expensive private school in Kent is Sevenoaks, where termly fees range from £8,907 for day pupils to £14,307 for boarding pupils.

We’ve included the fees for all the private secondary schools in Kent below.

Independent education webinars

What’s included in the school fees?

Day fees always include the cost of tuition and may include the cost of textbooks, materials and extracurricular activities. Some schools include the cost of lunch in their fees, while others may charge for this separately (normally between £300–£400 per term, per child). Most private schools charge separately for entry to public exams (e.g. GCSEs, A levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma). Boarding fees may include the cost of tuition or parents may be charged separately in addition to tuition.

Before registering your child with a school, we recommend that you check the school website and admissions policy in detail to find out what the school fees cover, as well as any additional payments you will have to make. You will normally need to pay a registration fee on application (typically £100–£300) which is often non-refundable, and a refundable deposit when you accept a school place.

Help with school fees in Kent

Most private schools in Kent offer financial assistance and/or financial rewards to children who meet or excel in the entrance criteria. The two main types of financial reward are bursaries and scholarships. Other discounts, including sibling discounts, are available at some schools.

Bursaries

Many independent schools in Kent provide means-tested financial assistance in the form of bursaries. These are offered on a sliding scale, meaning that children from households with a lower income are eligible for more assistance than those with a higher income.

Most private schools in Kent offer bursaries that cover up to 100% of tuition fees; only a few offer partial or no assistance. Some schools offer additional assistance, such as help with the cost of school uniforms, lunch, transport and extracurricular activities, to pupils who receive 100% bursaries.

If you think you might be eligible for a bursary for a particular school, you will need to supply detailed financial evidence. You may also be visited at home by a professional appointed by the school to assess your financial circumstances.

Everything you need to know about bursaries

Scholarships

Scholarships are awards offered to children who demonstrate exceptional talent in their entrance exams (academic scholarships) or in a co-curricular area (e.g. art, design & technology, drama, music or sport).

Most private schools in Kent offer scholarships, and most of these carry a financial element to them. This is typically given in the form of a set amount (e.g. £1,000 per year) or as a percentage of fee remission (normally around 10–25% per year). Rochester Independent College and Kent College Canterbury are exceptions, offering up to 50% scholarships. Sevenoaks School does not provide a financial reward for scholars to ensure that more funds are available for bursary applicants.

If your child is applying for a scholarship, they will usually need to complete additional testing and an interview, alongside the main entrance process. They will also need to maintain a high standard in the area to which their scholarship applies throughout their time at the school.

Sibling discounts

Over half of private senior schools in Kent offer discounts to families who have more than one or two children studying at the school at the same time. Discounts are typically between 5% and 10% for the third child, although King’s School Rochester and Kent College Canterbury both offer sibling discounts of up to 40%.

Other discounts

Some private schools offer discounts for the children of parents in particular careers (e.g. the Armed Forces or Clergy) or for the children of former pupils:

  • Ashford School: discounts for children of Armed Forces

  • Bethany School: discounts for children of Armed Forces

  • Kent College Canterbury: discounts for children of Armed Forces, FCO and Methodist Ministers

  • Kent College Pembury: discounts for children of MOD

  • King’s School Rochester: discounts for children of clergy and service personnel

  • St Edmund’s School: discounts for children of clergy, Dean & Chapter at Canterbury Cathedral, Armed Forces and former pupils

  • Sutton Valence: discounts for children of Armed Forces

How to prepare for entry to a private school in Kent

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Private boys’ schools in Kent

Tonbridge School

Day and boarding education in Tonbridge for boys aged 13–18.

  • Address: High Street, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1JP

  • Number of students: 797

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £11,689 (day pupils), £15,580 (boarding pupils)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%

  • 13 plus scholarships: academic; art; drama; design, technology and engineering; sport

  • Sibling discounts: 10% for the third and subsequent children

  • A level results (2022): 97.8% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 97.3% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 13 plus entry process: ISEB Common Pre-Test, English and maths tests and school report

  • Open day: several events during the spring term 2023

Admissions guide for Tonbridge School

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Private girls’ schools in Kent

Benenden School

Day and boarding education in Cranbrook for girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: Cranbrook Road, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 4AA

  • Number of students: 550

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £10,883 (day pupils), £14,501 (boarding pupils)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, music and sport

  • Sibling discounts: no

  • A level results (2022): 87.1% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 89.3% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: ISEB Common Pre-Test, preview weekend (including an interview, activities and English and maths tests), and school reference

  • Open day: several events during the spring term 2023

Admissions guide for Benenden School

Cobham Hall

A day and boarding school in Gravesend for girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: Brewers Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 3BL

  • Number of students: 150

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £7,100 (day pupils in Years 7–9), £7,950 (day pupils in Years 10 and 11), £8,250 (sixth form day students), £11,500 (boarding pupils in Years 7–9), £12,300 (boarding pupils in Years 10 and 11), £13,250 (sixth form boarding students)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music, and sport

  • Sibling discounts: no

  • A level results (2021): 67% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2021): 55% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: English and maths tests, interview, group activity and recommendation from the current headteacher

  • Open day: contact the school to arrange a visit

Admissions guide for Cobham Hall

Kent College Pembury

Day and boarding education in Tunbridge Wells for girls aged 3–18 and boys aged 16–18.

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

  • Number of students: 436

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Methodist

  • Fees per term: £7,865 (day pupils), £9,825–£12,530 (boarding pupils). The day fees for new sixth form students are £8,410 per term (boarding fees are the same as the senior school)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries and 20% reduction for children of MOD personnel

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, creative and performing arts (art, dance, drama and music), and sport

  • Sibling discounts: 5% reduction for two or more siblings in school at the same time (reduction applies to each child’s fees)

  • A level results (2022): 77% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 60% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: tests in verbal and non-verbal reasoning, maths and creative writing, interview, and school reference

  • Open day: Tuesday 28th February 2023. Individual school tours are available by appointment

Admissions guide for Kent College Pembury

Walthamstow Hall

Day education in Sevenoaks for girls aged 3–18.

  • Address: Holly Bush Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN12 3UL

  • Number of students: 537

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £7,355

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to virtually 100% (a £50 nominal fee per term applies)

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, music and sport

  • Sibling discounts: 5% for second daughters and 10% for third and subsequent daughters

  • A level results (2022): 88.2%

  • GCSE results (2022): 85.5% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: ISEB Common Pre-Test, interview and reference from the current headteacher

  • Open day: Thursday 9th March 2023

Admissions guide for Walthamstow Hall


Private co-educational schools in Kent

Ashford School

A day and boarding school in Ashford for boys and girls aged 0–18.

  • Address: East Hill, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8PB

  • Number of students: 1,033

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: interdenominational

  • Fees per term: £6,342 for day pupils and up to £12,926 for boarding pupils

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 85% of day fees and Forces Discount of 20%

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music, and sport

  • Sibling discounts: 5% for the first sibling and 10% for subsequent siblings

  • A level results (2022): 60.7%

  • GCSE results (2022): 58.8%

  • 11 plus entry process: Atom Learning online test and school reference

  • Open day: Tuesday 31st January, Friday 3rd March and Thursday 23rd March 2023

Admissions information for Ashford School

Beechwood School

Day and boarding school in Tunbridge Wells for boys and girls aged 3–18.

  • Address: 12 Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 3QD

  • Number of students: 287

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £5,940 (day pupils), £9,175–£10,200 (boarding pupils)

  • Financial assistance: no

  • 11 plus scholarships: no

  • Sibling discounts: no

  • A level results (2022): 55.7% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 31.1% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: entrance tests in English, maths and science, interview and/or trial day, school reference, and current school reports

  • Open day: book a visit with the admissions team

Admissions guide for Beechwood School

Bethany School

A non-selective day and boarding school in Cranbrook for boys and girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: Goudhurst, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 1LB

  • Number of students: 356

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £6,265–£6,920 (day pupils; fees range in price from Year 7 to Year 13) and £9,725–£11,800 (boarding pupils; fees range in price from Years 7 to 13 and for weekly to full boarding)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries (up to 30% for new pupils and up to 50% for current pupils) and 10% fee-remission for children of members of the Armed Forces

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, creative arts, performing arts, and sport

  • Sibling discounts: 10% for siblings of existing pupils

  • A level results (2022): 61% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 39.6% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: school’s own tests in non-verbal reasoning, maths, reading comprehension and free writing, and interview

  • Open day: Saturday 4th February 2023 and Wednesday 15th March 2023

Admissions information for Bethany School

Dover College

A non academically-selective day and boarding school in Dover for boys and girls aged 3–18.

  • Address: Effingham Crescent, Dover, Kent, CT17 9RH

  • Number of students: 286

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £5,118 (day pupils in Years 7–8), £6,247 (day pupils in Years 9–13), £8,925–£11,429 (boarding pupils in Years 7–8), £11,492–£12,862 (boarding pupils in Years 9–13)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music and sport

  • Sibling discounts: yes – details available on request from Dover College

  • A level results (2022): approx. 40% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 24% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: interview and school report

  • Open day: contact the admissions team to arrange a visit

Admissions information for Dover College

Farringtons School

Day and boarding education in Chislehurst for boys and girls aged 3–18.

  • Address: Perry Street, Chislehurst, Kent, BR7 6LR

  • Number of students: 690

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Methodist

  • Fees per term: £5,750 (day pupils), £9,850–£12,030 (boarding pupils)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, music and sport

  • Sibling discounts: 10% for the second and subsequent child

  • A level results (2022): undisclosed

  • GCSE results (2022): undisclosed

  • 11 plus entry process: extended writing task, maths test and computer-based exam, interview, and school reference

  • Open day: book a school tour online

Admissions guide for Farringtons School

Gad’s Hill School

Non-selective independent day school near Rochester for boys and girls aged 3–16,

  • Address: Gravesend Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7PA

  • Number of students: 367

  • Sixth form: no

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,612 (Years 7–8), £4,964 (Years 9–11)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music, and sport

  • Sibling discounts: 5% for the oldest child (upper school only) when two or more are studying at the school at the same time

  • GCSE results (2021): 25.5% 9–7

  • 11 plus entry process: non-selective

  • Open day: Saturday 4th March 2023

Admissions information for Gad’s Hill School

Kent College Canterbury

A non-selective private day and boarding school in Canterbury for boys and girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: Whitstable Road, Canterbury, Kent CT2 9DT

  • Number of students: 601

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Methodist

  • Fees per term: £6,029–£6,932 (day pupils; the fee increases for each year group), £7,778–£9,326 (boarding for Years 7–8), £11,420–£12,883 (boarding for Years 9–13)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries for families with a combined income of up to £80,000, Armed Forces allowance (90% fee reduction on boarding fees), Foreign & Commonwealth Office discount (25% reduction on boarding fees) and Methodist Ministers Allowance (10% reduction)

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music and sport, all up to 50% of tuition fees

  • Sibling discounts: 20% for the third child and 40% for the fourth and additional children

  • A level results (2022): 67% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 35% 9–7

  • 11 plus entry process: English, maths and non-verbal reasoning tests and a ‘getting to know you’ session with both parents and prospective pupils

  • Open day: October

Admissions information for Kent College Canterbury

King’s School Rochester

Independent day and boarding school in Rochester for boys and girls aged 3–18.

  • Address: Satis House, Boley Hill, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1TE

  • Number of students: 638

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £5,550 (day pupils in Years 7–8), £8,175 (boarding pupils in Years 7–8), £7,175 (day pupils in Years 9–13), £11,775 (boarding pupils in Years 9–13)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries, fee remission for children of Clergy and boarding fee remission for service personnel

  • 11 plus/13 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music and sports scholarships

  • Sibling discounts: 10% for the third child, 20% for the fourth child and 40% for the fifth and subsequent children (three children must be enrolled at the school simultaneously)

  • A level results (2022): 80% A*–C

  • GCSE results (2022): approx. 50% 9–7

  • 11 plus entry process: English, maths and non-verbal reasoning assessment, interview and school reference

  • 13 plus entry process: Common Entrance test (if taken at school), interview and school report

  • Open day: 13th May 2023

Admissions guide for King's School Rochester

Radnor House Sevenoaks

Independent day school in Sevenoaks for boys and girls aged 2–18.

  • Address: Combe Bank Drive, Sundridge, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 6AE

  • Number of students: 508

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £6,735 (Years 7–8), £7,250 (Years 9–13)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music, sports and values scholarships (normally worth 5–10% of school fees)

  • Sibling discounts: no

  • A level results (2022): 67% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 41% 9–7

  • 11 plus entry process: CAT4 test, English test, interview and school reference

  • Open day: Year 5 experience day on Thursday 29th June 2023 and weekly tours throughout the spring term

Admissions guide for Radnor House Sevenoaks

Rochester Independent College

Non-selective independent day and boarding school in Rochester for boys and girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: 254 St Margaret’s Banks, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1HY

  • Number of students: 334

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £4,865 (day pupils in Years 7–9), £6,500 (day pupils in Years 10–11), £7,000 (day pupils in the sixth form). Boarding fees range from an additional £4,833–£5,600 per term for weekly to full boarding. All fees listed here are applicable for UK and EEA applicants (refer to the school website for international fees).

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 50% (available for families with household incomes of less than £90,000)

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic scholarships providing up to 50% fee-remission

  • Sibling discounts: no

  • A level results (2022): 53.5% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 33.7% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: interview, school report and school reference

  • Open day: no formal open days – see the virtual open house for more details

Admissions information for Rochester Independent College

Sackville School

Non-selective independent day school near Tonbridge for boys and girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent, TN11 9HN

  • Number of students: 196

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: all faiths

  • Fees per term: £5,660. Lunch is an additional compulsory cost of £350 per term

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • 11 plus scholarships: a small number may be available – enquire with the school

  • Sibling discounts: 5% for the second sibling, 10% for the third sibling and 15% for the fourth and subsequent siblings

  • A level results (2022): 36% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 96% pass rate (9–4) in English and maths

  • 11 plus entry process: English and maths tests (for setting purposes), interview and presentation, and school reference

  • Open day: Saturday 4th February, Wednesday 1st March and Wednesday 22nd March 2023. Book via the school website

Admissions information for Sackville School

Sevenoaks School

Independent day and boarding school in Sevenoaks for boys and girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: High Street, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1HU

  • Number of students: 1,165

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: non-denominational

  • Fees per term: £8,907 (day pupils), £14,307 (boarding pupils)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 110%

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic and music (no financial reward)

  • 13 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music and sport (no financial reward for applicants from 2023 onwards)

  • Sibling discounts: no

  • IB results (2022): 98.7% higher level 7, 6 and 5

  • A level results (2022): 98.7% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 96% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11/13 plus entry process: English, maths and verbal reasoning tests, group interview and school reference

  • Open day: several dates available throughout the spring and summer terms – check the school website for the latest events

Admissions guide for Sevenoaks School

St Edmund’s School, Canterbury

Independent day school in Canterbury for boys and girls aged 2–18, with boarding available for pupils aged 10 and above.

  • Address: St Thomas Hill, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 8HU

  • Number of students: 637

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £5,836 (day pupils in Years 7 and 8), £7,660 (day pupils in Years 9–13), £9,316–£10,222 (boarding in Years 7 and 8), £12,513–£13,424 (boarding in Years 9–13)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries, 25% discount for children of the clergy, 25% discount for employees of the Dean & Chapter at Canterbury Cathedral, 10% discount for children of former pupils, and 10% boarding fee discount for members of the Armed Forces

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, dance, drama, music and sport

  • Sibling discounts: available for the third and subsequent children in the school at the same time

  • A level results (2022): 65.3% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 37.1% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests, family visit to the school, school report and school reference

  • Open day: Saturday 4th March 2023

Admissions guide for St Edmund's School, Canterbury

St Lawrence College

Non-selective independent day and boarding school in Ramsgate for boys and girls aged 11–18.

  • Address: College Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7AE

  • Number of students: 355

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £5,837 (day pupils in Years 7 and 8), £5,979 (day pupils in Years 9–11), £6,186 (day pupils in Years 12 and 13), £10,707 (boarding in Years 7 and 8), £12,984 (boarding for Year 9 and above)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, drama, music and sport up to 25% of fees

  • Sibling discounts: yes – contact the school for more information

  • A level results (2022): 76% A*–C

  • GCSE results (2022): 40% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: school report, predicted grades (e.g. Year 6 SATs), and interview for both the pupil and parents

  • Open day: not yet advertised – fill in your details on the school website for up-to-date communication

Admissions information for St Lawrence College

Sutton Valence School

Independent day and boarding school in Maidstone for boys and girls aged 2–18.

  • Address: North Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 3HL

  • Number of students: 809

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £6,250–£6,660 (junior tuition) £7,740 (senior tuition), £2,171–£4,430 (boarding from three nights per week to full boarding)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries and 20% discount for children of serving members in the Armed Forces

  • 11 plus scholarships: academic, art, design and technology, drama, music, and sport

  • Sibling discounts: yes – 20% for the youngest sibling when three or more are enrolled at the same time

  • A level results (2022): over 75% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): just under 50% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 11 plus entry process: ISEB Common Pre-Test, school report and school reference

  • Open day: Saturday 4th March 2023

Admissions guide for Sutton Valence School

The King’s School, Canterbury

Independent day and boarding school in Canterbury for boys and girls aged 13–18.

  • Address: 25 The Precincts, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2ES

  • Number of students: 925

  • Sixth form: yes

  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

  • Fees per term: £8,710 (day pupils in Years 7 and 8), £9,185 (day pupils in Years 9–11), £9,670 (day sixth form students), £13,925 (boarding pupils)

  • Financial assistance: means-tested bursaries up to 100%

  • 13 plus scholarships: academic, art, dance, design and technology, drama, music, and sport

  • Sibling discounts: yes – contact the bursar for more information

  • A level results (2022): 81.5% A*–B

  • GCSE results (2022): 71.4% 9–7 (A*–A)

  • 13 plus entry process: ISEB Common Pre-Test (for UK prep school applicants) or school’s own examination (for UK primary school or international applicants), informal interview and school reference

  • Open day: Saturday 4th March and Saturday 10th June 2023

Admissions guide for The King's School, Canterbury

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