How an independent school educates, inspires and stimulates students

Pupils in outdoor learning environment at Kent College in Kent

Children at Kent College are encouraged to pursue their passions and talents through a dynamic approach to learning - Credit: Kent College

‘We aim for every child, to be excited to come to and stay in our school, and when they leave, to look forward to tomorrow.’ 

This is the vision of Canterbury-based Kent College, where students’ passions and talents are nurtured through invaluable experiences and a dynamic approach to learning that helps to prepare them for the future.  

“Children at the school are guided by KORR values in an environment with an AIR for learning,” explains Simon James, head of the junior school. “This means we guide and educate them to be ‘Kind, Open, Responsible and Respectful and to learn through being ‘Adventurous, Inquisitive and Reflective’.”  

The school’s philosophy is structured around three chapters of equal importance: an academic morning, a creative afternoon and extracurricular experiences. Together, they help to make learning more engaging and enjoyable for students. 

1) An academic morning  

Maths, English, French and Spanish are delivered by specialist teachers in the morning for Early Years and Year 1 to 6. “Numeracy, literacy and language learning bursts engage the children when they are ready and fresh at the start of the day,” says Simon. “These skills are also applied to a breadth of areas in the afternoon to continue learning.” 

Children are grouped by stage of development rather than age, to ensure an individualised approach and maximise engagement. “This also helps to realise the vision for children to be confident, supported, stretched, and ultimately excited to come to school every day,” adds Simon.  

2) A creative afternoon  

Pupils competing in athletic track sport events at Kent College in Kent.

Kent College competes nationally in an array of sports including hockey, netball, cricket, football, cross country and athletics - Credit: Kent College

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Subjects such as music, sport, humanities, science, drama and arts are all taught in the afternoon by specialist teachers, using a practical and experimental approach. “The children move around the school absorbing a range of experiences which stimulates an awe and wonder to learn,” says Simon.  

Students are given the chance to shape their learning through the GREAT (Gifted, Really Enthusiastic, Able and Talented) Friday programme. Each term, they are able to choose an additional specialist lesson to nurture their talent and pursue their interests. For example, a mixed aged group is currently working on a ‘Mission to Mars’ project as part of the ‘innovation’ specialist subject. “This activity mixes senior and junior students so they can develop with different people outside their comfort zone,” says Simon. “It’s these kinds of transferable skills and ability to solve more abstract problems that play a significant role in preparing the children for the future.” 

Choristers performing as finalists for Kent College at the BBC Choir of the Year Awards.

The choristers at Kent College performing at the BBC Choir of the Year awards, of which they are regular finalists. - Credit: Kent College

Providing further opportunity for children to build their confidence and express themselves, the school offers a wide range of core sports, including hockey, netball, cricket, football, cross country and athletics, all of which the school competes in nationally. The school choristers also compete nationally as regular finalists in the BBC Choir of the Year and Bernardo's National Choral competition. 

3) Extra-curricular activities 

Choir performing in amphitheatre at Kent College in Kent.

The extra-curricular opportunities at Kent College offer over 70 clubs for students to enjoy. - Credit: Kent College

A wide range of over 70 different clubs and activities are available from 6pm and further into the evening for school boarders, including additional sports and languages. This develops the children’s skills and encourages them to discover their interests and passions. 

“We hope they ‘find their song and sing it’,” says Simon. “Our provision is not just wraparound care; it is integral to the students’ development of skills such as persuasion, problem-solving and team building. The programme educates, inspires and stimulates the children in a way that's slightly separate to academia but no less valuable.”  

Year 5 and 6 are also given the opportunity to join four sports tours, including a European tour for choristers and outdoor pursuits and trips to Norfolk and France. “These tours give the children the chance to experience and build their confidence across all areas of their education,” says Simon.  

If you are interested in applying for means-tested scholarships or bursaries for Kent College, please contact admissions@kentcollege.co.uk.

To find out more about the opportunities for your child’s education, visit kentcollege.com