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Dulwich Prep Cranbrook Cranbrook, Kent Visit
school
Dulwich Prep Cranbrook
Cranbrook
407 pupils, ages 3-13
Mixed
Day and Boarding

Dulwich Prep Cranbrook

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Our View

Set on a glorious 50-acre campus just an hour from London by train, Dulwich Prep Cranbrook was founded when the headmaster of Dulwich Prep London evacuated his pupils here to his in-laws’ house after the outbreak of the Second World War. What was originally a group of huts in the orchards surrounding the main manor house has grown into a thriving, incredibly open and welcoming school for 400 children aged three to 13.

Where?

The school is situated a mile outside the pretty Kent village of Cranbrook. The sweeping driveway brings you up past a string of converted farm buildings and modern add-ons, leading down to a spread of well-maintained playing fields and the school’s extensive grounds – which include a mini-nature reserve and wilderness wood for children to let off steam in.

Life here begins at Nash House (nursery to Year 1), a super-modern, funky building with a retractable roof and classrooms spilling out into the gardens. From there, it’s on to Little Stream (Years 1 to 4), a short hop down the corridor, before pupils’ final stop in the Upper School (Years 5 to 8).

Head

Charming head Paul David has been here for 11 years and lives on site with his family in an idyllic oast house (his wife Nicky teaches at the school). Parents are huge fans of his open-door policy (he’s at the gate every single morning, greeting families) and his gorgeous Labrador, Binky, often wanders in and out of classrooms for a cuddle with children.

A keen mathematician, sportsman and trumpet player, Mr David gets a big thumbs-up from pupils (on our visit, they described him as ‘friendly’, ‘funny’ and ‘kind’) and we got a strong sense that under his leadership, the school is going from strength to strength.

Admissions

Admissions are brilliantly flexible; the nursery has typically been – and will always be – the most popular entry point, but the school will do what it can to find a spot for children in any year group (including midway through the year, if there’s space). Entry is non-selective; prospective pupils in Year 1 and above pop in for a taster day, before being formally offered a place.

Academics and senior school destinations

There’s a solid focus on independent learning. Pupils in the top two years study towards their Dulwich Colours, a humanities-focused, non-examined curriculum, in addition to the more prescriptive CE classes in maths, English, science and Latin. Tech is encouraged; older pupils get their own iPad, and there’s plenty of coding, app design and time to experiment with the school’s very own green screen. That said, traditional literacy is just as important – and all children curl up on beanbags with a book in the bright library for 20 minutes after lunch each day. We hear high praise for the school’s learning-support department too, with any extra help required included in the fees.

Around 40 per cent leave at 11+ (there are some excellent grammar schools nearby, such as highly sought-after Cranbrook School), but those staying till 13 are thoroughly prepared for CE success. Students head to a wide range of south-east state and independent schools, including Tonbridge, Benenden, King’s Canterbury, Sutton Valence, Eastbourne College and Hurst.

Co-curricular

Children get outdoors whenever they can; running and cross-country are big; a pro footballer pops in to help out with games lessons and older students get to pick from a carousel of sporting options, such as sailing, climbing and biking in nearby Bedgebury Forest. Sport is very inclusive – all Year 3 and 4 pupils play in every school fixture – and some weeks, every single Upper School student will be representing the school on match day.

Art shines out here – and it’s impossible to miss the vibrant displays all over the school (pupils have won two out of the three top prizes in the IAPS iArt competition over the past two years). There’s always a smattering of art scholarships won to senior schools. The music department is incredibly strong too – opportunities abound to perform in informal concerts, orchestra renditions and even in the famous rock school band. Professional-style auditions are held for the senior drama play, and everyone’s welcome to get involved with set, lighting, sound and prop design.

We love the sound of Drawing, Walking and Talking Club – a chance for children to take some time out in the surrounding beautiful Kent countryside. Other options include cookery, gardening, bushcraft and tree-naming; and those who prefer to opt out of matches on a Wednesday afternoon can instead get stuck into water sports, mountain biking and raft making.

Boarding

There are 30 beds available in the Manor House – which sits at the heart of the Upper School. Boarding is superbly flexi; some pupils stay two or three nights a week (Monday to Thursday night only – there’s no Saturday school), others dip in and out when parents need a night off (or an alternative to a babysitter).

School community

Wellbeing gets top billing. The school has a longstanding partnership with Place2Be, with group chatting sessions at breaktime for small niggles and one-on-one counselling sessions for anything more deep-rooted (parents and staff are welcome too). Everyone follows the iSpace Wellbeing Programme to teach children how to express themselves and talk about how they feel; something that’s been fully championed by Mr David.

We love the school’s ‘greeters’ system, where two pupils in each form are in charge of chatting to any visitors who pop into their classrooms. It very much epitomises the nurturing and emboldening style of the school – every child gets a little gentle encouragement to have a voice and so, in turn, even the shyest are persuaded to come out of their shells.

This is a broadly local school, and most families live within half an hour’s drive away. Dulwich Prep Cranbrook is a hit with London exiles (many of whom still commute to the capital on the fast train from Ashford), and flexibility is a major part of the sell: day pupils can arrive for breakfast club and stay as late as 8pm after supper and prep. There are also regular coffee mornings and gatherings for parents after morning drop-off, giving them an opportunity to catch up with not just fellow parents, but staff too.

And finally....

Forward-thinking, family-focused and academically sound, this is a fantastic school that should be firmly on the radar of any family living in (or thinking of relocating to) Kent.

Gallery See All

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Dulwich Prep Cranbrook gallery image
Dulwich Prep Cranbrook gallery image
Dulwich Prep Cranbrook gallery image
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    A wide variety of schools, mainly in the South East. Popular choices are Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Benenden, King's School Canterbury, Sutton Valence, Mayfield. Cranbrook School is also very popular, as well as other grammars such as The Judd School, Tonbridge Grammar, and grammars at Maidstone and Ashford.

  • Scholarships for senior schools

    Scholarships

    Academic5 Sevenoaks School x 2, Cranbrook School x 1, Claremont School x 1, Sutton Valence School x 1
    Music6 Bethany x 1, Claremont School x 1, Cranbrook School x1, Mayfield x 1, Sutton Valence x 1, Sevenoaks x 1
    Drama3 Claremont x 3
    Sport11 Sutton Valence, Mayfield, Claremont
    Art7 Sevenoaks, Sutton Valence, Mayfield, Claremont, Bethany
    DT1 Bethany
    All RounderCreative Arts Claremont
    OtherDance. Swimming. Performing Arts Claremont


  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Nursery£3,310
    Reception£3,945
    Year 1£4,090
    Year 2£5,395
    Year 3£5,395
    Year 4£5,395
    Year 5£6,350
    Year 6£6,350
    Year 7£6,435
    Year 8£6,435


    Regular Boarding (booked termly in advance) from £29.50 per night. Occasional boarding £44.00 per night.



    Bursaries
    Dulwich Prep Cranbrook offers a small pool of means tested bursarial support as well as participating in the Government Early Years funding scheme for 3 and 4-year-old children attending the nursery. For more information please contact the school Registrar at:

    registrar@dulwichprepcranbrook.org 

  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    Anxiety, Asthma, Autistic Spectrum Condition, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Auditory Memory, Auditory Processing Disorder, Colour Blind, Comprehension difficulties, Type 1 Diabetes, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Emotional and Behavioural difficulties, Fine Motor skills difficulties, Gross Motor Skills difficulties, Haemophilia, Handwriting, Hearing difficulties, Information Processing, Literacy difficulties, Memory difficulties, Organisational difficulties, Physical difficulties, Reading difficulties, Selective Mutism, Sensory Processing difficulties, Emotional and Mental health , Speech and Language, Spelling difficulties, Visual Impairment, Visual Stress.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    In September 2019 the school introduced a school wide wellbeing course, iSpace, which is delivered through Circle Time and/or PSCHEE lessons from EYFS to Year 8. We also support children’s learning, physical and mental health needs by offering opportunities for different groups to access yoga and mindfulness sessions.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The school began a partnership with Place2Be, the leading children’s mental health charity, in January 2017. The P2B School Project Manager manages a team of Counsellors on Placement (COPs), each of whom are given individual supervision every time they meet a child for 1:1 intervention. We have a very open culture where children are actively encouraged to share their concerns through our PSHCEE lessons and with their personal tutors. With the introduction of the iSpace and #iWonder programme in September 2019 we have further strengthened our commitment to building emotional resilience in all our children. Our partnership with Place2Be means that conversations around wellbeing from troubles in the playground to more deep-seated issues are commonplace in both Little Stream and Upper School, therapeutic support is accessible and easily available, and mental health is discussed as readily as physical health. Place2Be provides mental health counselling support and training to schools to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and staff.
    Children readily make use of the informal Place2Talk sessions where they can freely talk about friendship issues, self-esteem and anxiety. Children can either write on a slip of paper and post in the box, or pop in, or tell their teacher or parents. The idea is to maintain confidentiality, and to encourage children to own their worries and ask for help. It’s OK not be OK


    Co-ordinator: Alison Eckersley aeckersley@dulwichprepcranbrook.org
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Staplehurst or Ashford
    Journey time to London by train: 55 minutes
    Nearest international airport: London Gatwick (45 miles)


School Updates

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  • WATCH: Life in Nash House

Dulwich Prep Cranbrook is
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Essentials

Address
Coursehorn, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 3NP

Contact
registrar@dulwichprepcranbrook.org
01580 712179

Website
dulwichprepcranbrook.org

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates


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