Guide to the Best Schools in Kent

Guide to the Best Schools in Kent

Chances are you already know a bit about the beautiful county of Kent, best known as the “Garden of England.”

The county is also famous for its scenic landscapes, historic castles, cathedrals, and pretty coastal towns.

Are you planning to relocate to this region and trying to find out more about Kent’s top schools?

When you are moving home with children in tow, life gets a little more complicated. You will want to make sure that your children get the best possible start in life.

Prior to having children, moving anywhere in the UK was a possibility, but now you must take into account the educational qualities of nearby schools.

Most places in England, be it a city, town or village will have good and bad schools. A thorough investigation of the local schools available in your new location will be imperative.

Kent has some excellent choices from nursery school to university. Here we highlight some of the best schools in Kent.

Procedure for Changing Schools

School Pencils

Switching to a new school tends to be the same throughout the UK. Image credit: Pixabay

While our article primarily focuses on Kent, it’s important to note that the process for relocating children to new schools is generally consistent throughout the United Kingdom.

If you’re considering changing your child’s school during the academic year, it is commonly referred to as an ‘in-year application’.

You will typically need to submit your application to either the school of your choice or your local education authority, in this case, Kent County Council.

This process becomes relevant when a child requires a school placement outside of the usual transfer period, such as within the ongoing school year.

The specific steps for initiating an in-year application for a school placement can vary significantly depending on your geographical location.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, we recommend visiting your local council’s website for guidance.

Kent Schools General Information

Kent Schools

Around 300,000 children go to school in Kent. Image credit: Unsplash

Kent County Council has the largest education department of any local council in Britain. It provides school places for almost 300,000 children.

According to information published by AdmissionsDay, Kent County Council is responsible for 546 state primary schools and 214 state secondary schools.

The vast majority of these schools perform well and have been inspected and rated as either “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted.

The remaining, a relatively small proportion overall were rated as “requiring Improvement” and just 7 were deemed “Inadequate”.

You may have children that require extra support.

In this case, Kent Council also provides a full list of all schools within its jurisdiction specifically aimed at children with a range of disabilities. This includes those with behavioural needs, autism, profound and severe learning support and speech and communication needs.

For those looking for private education, there are 59 independent schools serving around 19,000 students within the county.

Snobe has a very helpful list of all the private schools in the county along with the fees, and other relevant information.

Kent’s Best Primary Schools

Kents Primary Schools

Kent Primary Schools. Image credit: Depositphotos

Those new to the county will find an extensive choice of primaries with many areas of Kent being highly sought after due to their proximity to highly regarded Ofsted schools.

There are far too many to comment on every single school, so we are going to concentrate on spotlighting five of the top Kent primary schools together with five great secondary schools.

These specific schools have received recognised for their great performance, earning the highest and most prestigious classification from Ofsted: “outstanding.”

For your convenience, each school’s description is followed by a quick summary and a link to their full Ofsted report.

  1. Bearsted Primary Academy – Maidstone 

Maidstone is a popular location for prospective buyers.

A small, quintessentially British village with the bonus of easy travel connections to London and other parts of the county plus, plenty for the family to do and see nearby.

Bearsted Primary Academy had its latest inspection in January 2023 and was rated as “outstanding” in every category.

One of the great things about the school is that it is not overly prescribed (263 pupils) so classes tend to be smaller than average.

For an in-depth look at the schools Ofsted report click here.

  1. Lady Boswell’s CofE Voluntary Aided Primary School – Sevenoaks 

The district of Sevenoaks sits to the top west of the county.

It is close to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Knole Park, and Riverhill Himalayan Gardens offering picturesque settings for outdoor enthusiasts.

Sevenoaks is home to several reputable schools, both state and independent, which makes it a desirable location for families with children.

Lady Boswell is one of these reputable schools. Last inspected in May 2022, it continues to be an “outstanding” school.

When reporting on what it is like to attend this school, Ofsted stated that “Parents describe the school as ‘kind, nurturing and caring’ and as ‘a place where teachers unlock motivation to learn.’

It further reported that “children attending the school often exceed the expectations of the national curriculum.” Worthy praise indeed.

In the UK there is a statutory limit of 30 children per class for 5–7-year-olds.

Because of its excellent reputation, places at Lady Boswell’s are generally oversubscribed. You need to get your child on the waiting list as soon as possible.

Ofsted full report can be viewed here.

  1. Great Chart Primary School – Ashford

Ashford has been expanding for many years, in part for its easy access to Europe via the Channel Tunnel and the International Station.

This expansion has led to a swathe of new building developments and a demand in school places.

Kent Council is doing its best to build new schools with several already in the pipeline.

There are already some fantastic primaries in this location with Great Chart Primary School being among one of the most sought-after.

Great Chart Primary School was awarded an Ofsted rating of “good” pre-2010, but this was elevated to “outstanding” in March 2016 and it continues to be a very well-regarded primary today.

High academic standards are not the only thing that exists at Great Chart. Both the academic success and personal development of students are also exceptional.

The classes are smaller than average with 23 children to each teacher with 420 pupils in total attending.

To view the latest Ofsted report simply click here.

  1. Langton Green Primary School – Tunbridge Wells 

Tunbridge Wells is on the Kentish border with East Sussex, about 31 miles south of London.

Officially called Royal Tunbridge Wells, due to its royal connections which date back to the 17th Century.

It has become a popular place for ex-Londoners who are looking to move out of the busy city in search of a larger home at a cheaper price where they can settle down to family life.

Langdon Green Primary is a local co-ed school for children aged between 4-11 years and a popular choice for local parents.

An average-sized co-ed primary with around 420 children Langton Green is another school that has shown improvement and was elevated to “outstanding” by Ofsted at its last inspection.

The report was very complimentary stating that “This is an outstanding school. Pupils reach much higher levels in their work by the time they leave than is typically found and they achieve extremely well on a broad range of fronts. Pupils are exceptionally mature, polite, and courteous, to both adults and each other.”

If you want to find out more about Ofsted’s findings, you can view the inspection report here.

  1. Luton Junior School – Medway

Medway is steeped in history, with landmarks like Rochester Castle and Cathedral.

The town has good transport connections, including railway stations with direct trains to London and other major cities.

Medway is also home to the third largest Home-Schooled population of children in the UK after the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

However, it also provides some very exceptional primary schools for those who prefer conventional education.

Luton Junior School teaches boys and girls between the ages of 3-11 years.

The school has a good student-to-teacher ratio with 19 children per class.

At this school, 60% of pupils achieved higher standard in reading, writing & maths at key stage 2.

Plus, it has an Ofsted rating of “outstanding.”

The school’s Ofsted report states that Luton Junior is a “Haven of care, respect, friendship, and learning.”

It further states that “Standards are rising year on year. Pupils make very rapid progress, especially in reading and writing. Disadvantaged pupils make faster progress than other pupils nationally because of the outstanding teaching they receive.”

It is no wonder that this school is in such high demand.

For further information on just how well the school performs, you can read its full Ofsted report here.

Best Secondary Schools in Kent

Kent Secondary Schools

Kent Secondary Schools. Image credit: Depositphotos

The provision of Secondary education in Kent is equally as impressive as its primary schools.

Kent County Council is one of fifteen local authorities in the UK that still provides selective education through the 11+ exam which children must pass in order to gain entry to Grammar Schools.

Together, the two Kent authorities have 38 of the 164 grammar schools remaining in Britain.

Moving up to secondary school has long been recognised as one of the most challenging stages in a young person’s life academically, socially, and emotionally.

Arguably, secondary education is seen as the most important stage of a child’s education. It is imperative that the school of your choice is going to provide the support your child needs.

It is good news then that Kent has a fantastic choice of incredible schools for the 11-18 age group.

Here are five of the best.

  1. Goldwyn School – Ashford

Another of Ashford’s “outstanding” schools, Goldwyn School has managed to bag a top Ofsted rating.

A secondary school with sixth form provision, Goldwyn is first choice when it comes to secondary education.

The school’s headteacher has stated that “Goldwyn school uses research and evaluated methods to develop a curriculum that is appropriate and engages our students.” An environment that places high value on emotional wellbeing, recognising individuals’ emotional needs and placing emphasis on safeguarding and good mental health.

Ofsted was so impressed and awarded it with an “outstanding” rating in October 2022 and the inspectors raved about the school reporting “The school has a strong culture of ‘anything is possible’, and pupils’ personal development is at the heart of all that the school does”.

The school’s sixth form provision record is also impressive with an incredible 90% of students on a Vocational Pathway achieving passes in their chosen subject, with 74% of them achieving the highest Diploma grade.

If you are considering sending your child to this school and want to know more about its Ofsted results just click here:

  1. Dover Grammar School for Girls – Dover 

Known historically for its huge imposing white cliffs, Dover has plenty going for it such as historical sites, natural beauty, and maritime activities. Its port is one of the busiest passenger and cargo ports in the United Kingdom.

It is also home to Dover Grammar School for Girls.

A community grammar school for girls, aged between 11 and 16, and a joint sixth form with boys between the age of 16 and 18.

Highly reputable, the school can trace back its origins to 1904.

In 1910, the County School split into 2 separate entities, Dover County School for Boys and Dover County School for Girls.

Today, Dover Grammar School for Girls has gained a reputation for delivering top-tier education, a distinction reinforced by its “outstanding” Ofsted rating.

Once again, the school’s students performed well in their GCSE’s this year with 83% attaining a grade 5 or higher in Maths and English.

You can find out more about attainment levels on the school website, plus you can read Ofsted’s full inspection report here.

  1. Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys – Canterbury

Canterbury is a popular tourist destination famous for its stunning cathedral.

One of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England, it forms part of a World Heritage Site.

It is also where you will find the Simon Langdon School for boys aged between 11-18 years.

An old school with a history of academic excellence as far back as 1881.

It has a very impressive record when it comes to its GCSE results for 2022, with an overall pass rate of all entries (grade 4+) at 98%, 64% of students gained a 7+ and Students gaining 5 grades 4+ including English and Maths was 96%.

The schools latest Ofsted report states that “Langton’s curriculum goes far beyond the requirements of examinations by delivering greater depth in academic subjects, a rich programme of lectures and courses and numerous additional activities in sports and arts”

“Students make excellent progress and attain very high standards. Their achievement is exceptional in science and mathematics. Many students undertake original and innovative research alongside professional scientists and engineers.”

It is clear that Simon Langton Grammer School is an exceptional place of learning.

Though it is a larger-than-average size school, being the largest grammar in Kent, it still manages to ensure that its students are nurtured and go on to achieve in all subjects.

Find out more about the schools impressive Ofsted report here.

  1. Dartford Grammar School – Dartford

Dartford is the principal town in the Borough of Dartford, Kent.

It is one of the best commuter towns in the Greater London area with great road and rail links to London.

It is here that you will find one of the borough’s best and one of the oldest schools in England, Dartford Grammar School for boys, founded in 1576.

Students come from Dartford, neighbouring towns and villages, and nearby London boroughs, as well as an increasing number of students from Essex.

The school has 1516 students from ages 11-18 years with a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1.

Dartford Grammar also has an impressive record with 96% of its students managing to gain a grade 5 or above in their GCSE’s.

Graded as ‘Outstanding’ in all 5 categories, Ofsted were impressed with the school leadership and pupils’ positive attitude to the school.

As of 2007, the school has been awarded the right to teach the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, becoming the first school in Britain and the first state school in the world to teach the course.

Another of the school’s claims to fame is that Mick Jagger, among other famous people, attended the school during the late 1950’s early 1960’s.

You can view the latest Ofsted report for the school here.

  1. Bradstow School – Broadstairs 

This is a very specialised school teaching and guiding children between the ages of 5-19 who have a range of learning difficulties

Registered as a children’s home Bradstow School tutors children and young people with severe intellectual disabilities who are on the autistic spectrum continuum.

The school’s vision statement confirms that it strives to “nurture, teach and sustain” all our young people so we can realise the goal of giving each young person a real life in the community.”

Both the teaching staff and the children at this incredible school have huge challenges to overcome.

The extensive Enhanced Curriculum includes Attention Autism, Rebound Therapy, Yoga, Horticulture, Sherborne, Aromatherapy, and Interactive Storytelling.

Small wonder Ofsted were so impressed, they awarded Bradstow with an “outstanding” rating

Ofsted reported “The outstanding teaching is very successful in ensuring the majority of students make excellent progress. Teaching targets the needs of individual students exceptionally well and Students’ behaviour is exemplary. This is because they are happy learners and feel safe and secure and valued by all staff. They have excellent attitudes towards their learning.”

The full Ofsted report for the school can be read here.

In Summary

It is clear that those planning to move to Kent with children can rest assured about the quality of education in the county.

Here, we have highlighted just ten of the many state-funded schools in Kent that have garnered impressive ratings from Ofsted – a testament to the dedication and effort of both students and teaching staff.

It does highlight that well before you decide to move to Kent, researching local schools in the areas you are interested in is imperative.

A good education will ensure give your child the best possible start in life and for the future.

Perhaps you are interested in private education?

For those with the financial means, Kent offers a range of independent schools catering to both day and boarding students.

Kent has 22 private schools that enrol high school-age students, with some of them also offering primary and nursery education.

My Top Schools has further information on each school and its location within the county.

Kent Removals Service

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Though education will be at the forefront of your mind when you are moving home, you will also be faced with all manner of other important decisions such as moving your personal belongings from A to B.

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Please get in touch with us right away to schedule a free, no-obligation home survey and get your Kent Removal underway!

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