Education is one of the main factors driving families to choose one location over another when looking for a new home. With private day school fees in London estimated to cost as much as £180,000 per child by the age of 18 – according to research by Lloyds Bank Private Banking - it’s no wonder that parents are doing their homework and moving to areas with high-performing state primaries and grammar schools.
All primary schools in Rocks Hollow’s catchment area are judged as good by Ofsted, and there are six grammars – all but one rated outstanding – within a three-mile radius. Three are in Tunbridge Wells: Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar and The Skinners’ (boys), while The Judd School (boys, with a mixed sixth form), Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls and Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls are in Tonbridge. Grammar schools are selective, in that they only take the most academically able pupils, and the education they offer is as good or even better than at an equivalent independent school – but without the huge expense.
To apply for a place, your child will need to sit the Kent Test - similar to the 11+ - though passing it doesn’t guarantee admission. Grammar schools are generally over-subscribed, and adopt a variety of selection criteria. The Skinners’, Judd and Tonbridge Grammar are what’s known as super-selectives, as they rank applicants according to their scores, and if two children tie on points, the one living nearest to the school will be chosen. Tunbridge Wells Grammar for Boys picks pupils according to distance, and Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar gives those living in certain places – including Southborough – priority over others.
What’s right for one child doesn’t necessarily suit the next, and the area around Southborough boasts several non-selective comprehensive schools that provide a high level of teaching and produce impressive results. St Gregory’s Catholic School, Bennett Memorial Diocesan School and the Skinners’ Kent Academy are all outstanding co-eds, and The Hayesbrook (boys, mixed sixth form) and Hillview School for Girls are both good.
For pupils requiring extra support, the locality offers a number of units attached to mainstream primaries. Bishops Down has provision for children with physical disabilities, and Slade and Cage Green specialize respectively in hearing impairment and autistic spectrum disorders. Tunbridge Wells is also home to a couple of specialist schools. Oakley caters for 2-18-year olds with profound and complex needs, and Broomhill Bank is a secondary for children and young people with significant communication and interaction difficulties.
Whatever your child’s age or ability Southborough provides a schooling solution for all with a variety of schools within the Rocks Hollow catchment area.
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