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Marlborough House School Kent Visit
Marlborough House School
260 pupils, ages 3-13
Day and Boarding

Marlborough House School

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Our View

A proper country prep set on the edge of the pretty Kent village of Hawkhurst, Marlborough House School is a place where childhood is valued just as much as academic success.


Don’t let the school’s location just off a main road fool you – once you’re on campus, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a 35-acre rural oasis. At the heart of the school is a gorgeous 18th-century red-brick building; then there’s a modern, purpose-built nursery and pre-prep with walled gardens for the youngest children to stomp about in wearing their wellies, plus an array of smart new buildings for the oldest pupils, with glass walls looking out over stonking views of ponds, woodlands and open fields stretching out into the distance. There’s masses of space to run around, whatever the weather – and a real sense that having fun, exploring and messing about together is very much part of the ethos here. 


Highly experienced head Eddy Newton arrived last September. He’s charming, highly approachable and incredibly well-known on the prep school circuit, with stints at the Dragon, Felsted, Chafyn Grove, Twyford and the Cothill Trust (plus a year as the chair of IAPS) under his belt. Everyone – parents, pupils and staff – are full of praise.


Most pupils join in the nursery, Reception, Year 3 or Year 7, but the joy of non-selective Marlborough House is that children can slot in at any time, provided there’s space for them. After visiting and registering, parents are encouraged to sign their child up for a taster day – for younger ones, this involves spending a few hours with their peer group, while for older applicants it’s a normal timetabled day, which could mean joining in with games, art, music or drama lessons alongside academic subjects. Following the taster day, either a place or a spot on the waiting list is offered.

Academics and senior school destinations

Pupils benefit from small class sizes (never more than 16 in the pre-prep and 18 in the prep) and energetic and enthusiastic teachers. From Year 3, children are placed in sets for English and maths – and expect plenty of languages; everyone learns French, and Year 5 pupils choose between Spanish and Latin before deciding which to continue with until the end of Year 8. In the pre-prep, core subjects are taught in the morning, and creative ones in the afternoon – giving children plenty of time and space to think and be themselves in a busy world.

There’s a big push on immersive learning – during our visit, pre-prep pupils were sitting on the floor playing with day-old chicks; outside, Year 4s were learning about Robin Hood by whittling wood and cooking on a campfire (forest school is huge – and an integral part of the curriculum, with a dedicated outdoor classroom and an outdoor-learning space in the woods).

In the top two years, pupils swot up for CE Maths, English, French and Latin – but for all other subjects, they study towards the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate, teaching them to debate, work collaboratively, learn to problem-solve and develop an enquiring mind. It’s all part of the ‘character education’ offered here, designed to stand students in good stead for not just senior school – but the workplace in 20 years’ time too. It seems to pay off – such is children’s passion for their subjects that show and tell sessions are more akin to mini-TED talks, according to one teacher we spoke to.

A sizeable number of pupils usually head off to one of the excellent local grammar schools at 11, but the rest stay on till 13, moving on to a broad spread of some of the top independent schools in the south east, including Benenden, Tonbridge, Brighton College, Bede’s, Eastbourne, Sevenoaks and King’s Canterbury.


There’s heaps of sport (five sessions per week for pupils in the prep) – and children punch well above their weight in competitive fixtures against local rivals. The pool is outdoor, so there’s swimming in the summer term (and the beginning of the autumn term too, if the weather is kind), but there’s a multitude of top-notch facilities including Astros, cricket nets, tennis courts and a huge sports hall. For anyone not keen on the more traditional school sports, there’s always ballet, dance, karate, crazy golf or even shooting on the rifle range. Check out the impressive list of alumni who have gone on to achieve serious sporting success – it includes cricketer David Gower, Olympic athlete Tom Evans and GB swimming champion Annabel Guye-Johnson.

The art and DT departments are getting an overhaul this summer, and both departments do a sterling job at bagging scholarships – there were three won by this year’s departing students. Year 8s leave a rather lovely legacy of their artwork dotted around the grounds – we spotted a Loch Ness monster made from clay in the gardens, and beautiful mosaics across the walls.

Over in the drama department, children perform Shakespeare with a modern twist – including a recent production of Much Ado About Nothing mixed with a touch of Glee. Everyone – from nursery to Year 8 – gets a chance to take to the stage each year. All pupils in Year 3 learn the violin and the ukulele – and while there’s no orchestra, there are plenty of smaller instrument groups for students to practise and perform in.

There’s a good choice of after-school clubs that includes – amongst others – philosophy, debating, mindfulness, drama and magic club – and outside, there’s a wonderful eco-garden. One of the classrooms has its very own ‘garden nursery’, where children enthusiastically tend to plants brought in from home to be restored back to life.


Boarding is more of an add-on than a core part of Marlborough House, but up to an average of 30 pupils from Year 4 upwards can sleep over on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Activities are laid on to keep everyone busy – from spa evenings to bowling trips and mucking around on inflatables in the pool. Flexibility is key – parents can call up at the last minute to book their child in for a sleepover or to make use of the daily breakfast and supper clubs – and crucially, there’s no Saturday school.

School community

Pastoral care is at the fore here – and the school is a strong believer in wellbeing being vital in order for pupils to learn and be inspired. Friday mornings are reserved for quiet focus; there’s mindfulness and a solid PSHE programme, and children can book in for a chat with an independent listener to raise any niggles.

Everyone lives locally and community is all-important – parents are always welcome to pop in for a cup of tea by the log fire after morning drop-off. There’s a thriving and very social PTA that lays on comedy nights, grandparents’ tea parties and annual campouts in the school grounds – and mums’ netball and dads’ football clubs and boot camps too. Every effort is made to involve the local community – Marlborough House hosts the Hawkhurst football club every weekend, opens its sports facilities to local clubs and puts on a carol service in the village church.

And finally....

A winning mix of academic rigour, superb co-curricular and character-boosting fun, this is a school that’s well worth adding to any Kent-based family’s list.


Marlborough House School gallery image
Marlborough House School gallery image
Marlborough House School gallery image
Marlborough House School gallery image
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Battle Abbey, Bede's, Brighton College, Claremont, Cranbrook, Eastbourne College, Hurst, Radnor House, Sevenoaks, Sutton Valence, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells Boys' Grammar, Wimbledon High, Winchester

  • Scholarships for senior schools


    Music3 Hurst, Battle Abbey and Mayfield
    Drama1 Claremont School
    Sport4 Sutton Valence and Hurst
    Art2 Battle Abbey and Hurst
    DT1 Brighton College
    Other1 Brighton Collage

  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 1£3,770
    Year 2£3,770
    Year 3£5,930
    Year 4£6,230
    Year 5£6,230
    Year 6£6,230
    Year 7£6,230
    Year 8£6,230

    Regular boarding per night £29.50. Occasional boarding per night £39.00

    Marlborough House consider all bursary applications, with all awards fully means tested and subject to annual review. They also offer a flat fee reduction of 5% to families in the armed forces and the children of former pupils as well as participating in the Government Early Years funding scheme for 3 and 4-year-old children attending the nursery. For more information about the different fee support options available please see the school website:
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    We support children with minor learning difficulties inside and outside the classroom.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Our Learning Support Department delivers fun support sessions designed with an individual focus, aiming to engage pupils and support them to become self-motivated learners. The Learning Support Department is a safe environment where children can relax and focus on the areas of learning that they find challenging, without feeling exposed or under pressure.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    PSHE at Marlborough House is an all-encompassing subject that is taught both within the formal curriculum and outside the classroom. All children from Nursery to Year 8 are provided with carefully planned and co-ordinated opportunities to explore attitudes and values that come under ‘Valuing Self and Others’. Children learn about themselves as growing and changing individuals with their own experiences and ideas, and also as members of their communities, sharing common thoughts and feelings with their peers. In addition, we have a full time school nurse, an independent listener, an independent PSHE workshop provider for Year 8 and access to a speech therapist.

    Co-ordinator: Mrs Clare Allfrey
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Etchingham
    Journey time to London by train: 65 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Gatwick Airport (36 miles)

School Updates

  • Marlborough House School wins Gold for being Green

    Marlborough House School in Hawkhurst has been awarded a gold award by the Woodland Trust for getting involved in green activities including tree planting, visiting local woodlands, reducing carbon emissions and recycling.
  • Marlborough House School Colour Run 2021

  • The great outdoors at Marlborough House

  • Marlborough must-reads

    The English Department at Marlborough House School have marked World Book Day 2021 by releasing the Marlborough Must-Reads; 18 personally recommended books to delight and inspire a new generation of readers. Predominantly aimed at children in the Prep School (Years 3-8), there is a selection of fiction and non-fiction, and a collection of poems.
  • 'Two House Points for Resilience!'

    Lockdown wellbeing at Marlborough House School
  • WATCH: Welcome Back to MHS: Spring Term 2021

  • Virtual School Tours Available!

  • WATCH: Marlborough House School Nativity Trailer

  • WATCH: Hear a parent talk about their experience of Marlborough House School

  • WATCH: Talk Education's Country Preps Focus - Marlborough House School

  • See Marlborough House School in our Country Preps Focus

    Find your perfect country prep school. Whether you're contemplating a move for your entire family or want to explore the education options within a daily minibus-ride of the capital, we can help.
  • WATCH: 10 Questions with Eddy Newton, Head of Marlborough House School


High Street, Hawkhurst, , Kent TN18 4PY

01580 753555


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