Informations For Agents
We work with a number of international agents who advise parents on placing their children in British Boarding Schools.
This information has been prepared to answer many of the questions that agents ask about the school. If there is anything which has not been answered, please contact Sascha Evans, Director of External Relations at Kent College Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 4AX. Tel: +44 (0) 1892 820218 (direct), fax: +44(0) 1892 820239, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent College is also listed on the BBSW (British Boarding Schools Workshop) Connected Agent website which will provide further Agent specific information if needed.
What are the number of day students and boarders?
There are 360 day students and 90 boarders including full, weekly and flexi boarders) in the senior school (ages 11 to 18) which is a total of 450.
Are there any scholarships available to overseas students?
We offer academic scholarships at 11+ (Year 7), 13+ (Year 9) and 16+ (Sixth Form). These are worth up to 10% of tuition fees (excluding the boarding element). We also offer music, drama, art and sport scholarships but international students do not generally apply for these unless they can attend the school for auditions/assessments and interviews.
A-level scholarship exams (16+) as well as 13+ are held in the November prior to the year of entry. 11+ exams are held in the November prior to entry. Ideally, international students should sit the scholarship papers at the same time, which can be arranged in their own country (via the agent or current school).
Do you accept students in January and April?
We do accept students in the January and April terms but not for students who would be joining Year 10 or Year 12 (Lower 6th) because the students will have begun their examination courses.
Do you take pupils for one year?
Our priority is to recruit overseas students who wish to come for long-term study. However we are happy to consider students for a minimum of one academic year, if a place is available. We may, occasionally, accept a student for one term in Years 7, 8 or 9.
What is the application process for overseas students – English level requirements, minimum age etc?
Kent College Pembury is not a language school and we do not have our own international study centre so overseas students need to speak and write some English in order to apply. Applicants for Years 7, 8 & 9 should have a good basic fluency in written and spoken English. Those wishing to join in Years 10 and 12 (Lower 6th) will need a good standard to cope with the demands of the courses. The approximate English standards for entry are:
- Years 7 – 9: students should be working at the level of, or have passed, the Cambridge Preliminary English Test or IELTS 3.5 – 4.5.
- Years 10-11: working at the level of, or have passed the Cambridge First Certificate or have IELTS 5 or 6.
- Sixth Form: ideally to have passed the Cambridge First Certificate or above IELTS 5 or 6. 6th Form candidates will need a good standard of English to enable them to cope with the demands of the AS/A level courses.
Most overseas boarders join into Year 7 and upwards however our Prep School does take boarders from age 10 but most are British and therefore have a good level of English. Initially, we ask agents to send us a copy of the student’s application (either the agent’s form or our own application form), a copy of the latest school report and any supporting documents eg certificates. We will consider the application and if we wish to take it further we will ask the agent to supervise an English and a maths test. At this stage we will request a registration fee of £100 (EU members) or £150 (non-EU members).
Once a place is accepted we require the parents to complete an Application Form and return this with a deposit to confirm the place (£750 for EU and a full term’s fees for non-EU pupils). In May/June we send a joining pack of information to the family.
When are the application deadlines?
Applications may be made at any time of the year although to avoid disappointment, early application (up to a year in advance) is recommended.
What are the requirements of the interview?
If a student visits the school prior to joining she will have an informal interview with the Headmistress or senior member of staff. The interview is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their ability in spoken English and to show their personality by describing their interests, family background and to answer any other relevant questions the interviewer may ask such as why the student wishes to study in the UK.
What are the entry requirements/GCSE/HKCEE requirements to enter the Sixth Form?
If students are taking GCSE or IGCSE examinations then we are able to offer places on the basis of a reference from their present school and their predicted grades, which should be at least six passes at grade C or above. In addition, students should be aiming for A or B grades in the subjects they wish to study at A-level. Some subjects will require an A grade.
We require students who are not taking GCSE or IGCSE examinations to take an English and a maths entrance exam via the agent or current school.
In which years do you have most vacancies?
We usually have most vacancies lower down the school in Years 7-9 (ages 11-13 years). We receive most applications for entry to Year 10 (age 14+) and Year 12 (Sixth Form/ages 16+) and we therefore recommend applications in advance (where possible).
What are the best years for an overseas student to enter your school?
Girls who join the school in Years 7-9 (ages 11-13) will have more time for improving their level of English before starting the important examination courses of GCSE and A-levels. We only recommend that students with a very good level of English join in Year 10 (age 14+) as we prefer them to have time to settle in and to improve their English beforehand as they will be required to do GCSE coursework quite early in Year 10.
At our school, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is part of the Learning Development Department and the staff work to give each student support on an individual basis to ensure she succeeds. Kent College prepares all students, including EAP students, for GCSE English and English Literature in Years 10 and 11. Our success rate is excellent with good passes in English, at grade C or above, which is necessary for UK university entry. Many EAP students achieve even higher grades in English Literature thanks to the extra lessons that are available with a highly experience member of the English department.
How many boarding places are there at your school?
The maximum number of boarders is approx 90.
How many international students do you wish to recruit each year?
This depends on the current balance of nationalities and on the nationality of leavers in Year 11 and Upper 6th. On the whole our boarders come from all over the world and our priority is to maintain a good balance of British and international girls in the boarding houses and classes. For the benefit of all students, the school has a policy to limit the number of any one nationality eg Chinese, which is one of the largest markets. This means that during the year we will be carefully monitoring the nationality of applications.
BOARDING / INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
How many pupils share a dorm?
In Years 7 – 9 there are usually three girls sharing a dorm. In Year 10 and 11 there are usually two sharing a room. In the Sixth Form, especially in the Upper 6th, we try to give students their own single study bedrooms, subject to the numbers of boarders in that year group. We have recently completed refurbishing the boarding houses for Year 10 upwards creating more spacious study bedrooms.
What is the pastoral care available at your school?
Kent College Pembury is very proud of the level and quality of care that the staff provide to all of its students, especially those who are boarders and for whom the school is their home. Staff spend a great deal of their time ensuring that students are happy and confident and well supported in all areas of their life, not just in their academic studies. In fact in research conducted with our local feeder schools, Kent College Pembury was rated as providing the best quality of care of all of the senior schools they dealt with. The feeder schools commented that we deal with matters quickly and efficiently and we keep parents informed.
The school provides a caring Christian learning environment where discipline is good and staff and students show mutual respect. At Kent College we have a good pastoral support structure with a Senior Housemistress and Head of Sixth Form. We have a nursing sister who is available during the school day to give pastoral care as well as medical advice. We also have our own Chaplain who runs Christian services. This structure means that staff deal with and communicate regularly about every girl. In addition each boarder is supported by her housemistress, assistant housemistress and form tutor who she sees several times a day.
Do you provide host families for exeats and half term holidays? What is the guardianship and support for international students?
All parents based overseas must have found a suitable UK guardian for their daughter by the time their daughter joins the school, failure to do so, may mean a delay in their daughter's application. The guardian acts in loco-parentis in emergencies and will be responsible for care and accommodation during the holidays and exeats whilst their daughter is in the UK. For overseas students without family or friends nearby, we can sometimes provide host families but we only have small number of families and can’t guarantee that one will be available. We therefore recommend that parents use one of the guardianship agencies accredited by AEGIS(The Association for the Education and Guardianship of International Students). Details are available at: www.aegisuk.net
Do overseas students have good access to the internet and telephone?
All boarders need regular contact with home, and girls are encouraged to contact their parents by telephone, letters, fax and email as all students have their own email address and access to broadband internet services.. There is good access to computers around the school, in the Sixth Form Centre and in all the boarding houses.
What is the boarding accommodation like?
There are two family-run boarding houses which provide spacious, comfortable accommodation and there is a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Each house has a common room with TV/ DVD player and a kitchen.
- Hawkwell & Hargreaves: For up to Year 9 is based in the main traditional part of the school building but has modern, light and airy bedrooms with modern furniture.
- James & Osborn: Modern, purpose-built facilities accommodate a mix of ages from 15 to 18 (Year 10 upwards). The much-used pool table and music system are shared facilities, although each house has its own TV room and bright modern ‘quiet’ room for reading and contemplation. Latest developments provide refitted and improved study bedrooms and modern bathroom facilities. New furniture and furnishings give a contemporary feel and all bedrooms now provide internet links for every student
Can the students stay in school during the holidays?
If there is sufficient demand, Year 11 and Sixth Form students may stay in school during selected exeat weekends. During half term holidays all students are required to stay with guardians/host families.
Does the school provide transport to and from school?
At the beginning and end of terms the school arranges taxis to and from the airports with taxi companies that are well known to the school. They are very experienced in supervising the girls to the check-in point.
How does the school take care of new boarders? How do they get in to British culture?
A Joining Instructions pack is sent to new boarders prior to arrival. All students also receive their own handbook when they get to school which is a more informal guide to school life. In the first few days of the term in September, there is a boarders induction programme which involves activities to help the current and new boarders get to know each other. We also run a familiarisation trip to Tunbridge Wells, the nearest town.
All new boarders are assigned a ‘shadow’ who is a girl in the same form group. She looks after the new boarder to ensure she can find her way around the school in those crucial first weeks.
Boarding staff will help overseas students to purchase their uniform from the local supplier or the nearly new shop. All bed linen and duvets are provided although students are welcome to bring their own.
The girls are cared for by a team of well-qualified, experienced staff both inside and outside the classroom, who give individual support and guidance. Each house has a senior housemistress/housemaster as well as a team of assistant housemistresses/masters and house tutors, their first priority is the welfare of the girls. Housestaff keep in touch with parents, guardians and academic tutors to oversee the development and well-being of each girl.
Our priority in the first few weeks of the term is to ensure the new boarders settle in quickly and are happy. The academic and house staff communicate regularly and pick up on any concerns quickly.
Do you have an international study centre or summer school?
Kent College annually host the Pilgrims Summer School.