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Rose Hill School
Rose Hill School
Rose Hill School
Rose Hill School Tunbridge Wells, Kent Visit
Rose Hill School
Tunbridge Wells
238 pupils, ages 3-13

Rose Hill School

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Our View

Delightfully small class sizes, more than 70 envy-inducing extracurricular clubs and a cohesive pastoral care scheme that includes informal drop-in sessions and an annual Wellness Week make this standalone Tunbridge Wells co-ed prep a serious Kent contender.


Tucked away on a residential street on the fringes of leafy Tunbridge Wells, light-filled, fresh and modern Rose Hill is ideally placed for Tunbridge Wells commuters, along with its strong coterie from the local area, many of whom choose to walk or cycle to school. Minibuses conveniently scoop up pupils from Crowborough to the south, and Sevenoaks, just to the north.


Head Emma Neville has been a real hit with parents since she arrived from Caterham Prep School in 2017. During that time, she’s masterminded a much-needed shake-up of both the curriculum and more holistic objectives. Perhaps her most influential move was to pull together a stellar team to assist her in this mission: deputy head Philippa Lang (marked by us as one to watch); and head of pastoral care, Imogen Scarborough, who has diligently overhauled this aspect of the school.


While Rose Hill is non-selective for all ages, children are invited to attend an informal taster day, where they spend time at the school and with their peers to ensure it’s the right place for them. Due to the school’s size and its limited SEND resources, they are unable to cater to a large number of pupils who require additional support. The school will carry out informal assessments to ensure the school is right for the child’s level of learning needs – they currently only have a handful of pupils in school with an EHCP and a few others needing classroom support.

While the first year of entry is nursery, for those aged three and above (later than most schools), the school holds ‘Rosebuds’ sessions, where tiny tots and their families can enjoy the nursery toys and space for free. The school cites this as a great way to introduce parents to the school and successfully secure early-years children.

While Rose Hill is remarkably affordable compared to its more expensive neighbours, bursaries are still available, as are awards for Years 7 and 8.

Academics and senior school destinations

The nursery and pre-prep is located within its own bright and modern block on the main school site. Both follow a wonderfully creative curriculum which continues until Year 2, where a theme informs all classes during that term, for example Africa becomes the focus for humanities, phonics, geography and so on. The teachers then put together a fantastic A5 scrapbook featuring all the childrens’ work around this topic to show off to their parents.

While not traditionally known for its academic rigour, Rose Hill is very much on the rise, with around half of pupils taking the 11+ (with a bumper 92 per cent pass rate) and filtering into the excellent grammar schools Kent is renowned for. What’s more, the head’s refreshingly modern approach to learning (perhaps surprising for one of the UK’s oldest prep schools) has seen a whole host of creative programmes and visitor-led activities that prepare children for later life, not just their exams. While Common Entrance exams cover science, maths, English, Latin and French; humanities are taught on a more project-led basis. Year 5 engage in an enterprise project, Year 6 in a philanthropy project, as well as obtaining a life skills diploma; Year 7 complete a global issues project; and Year 8 take on an extended project, achieving their Level 1 Foundation Project Qualification (the first step to an EPQ).

Adding to this 360-degree approach to learning, Year 7 and 8 take part in weekly enrichment afternoons, which feature a full range of external visitors, from tech engineers teaching coding to theatre producers holding drama workshops. During autumn, the whole school goes ‘off timetable’ to study a fascinating topic, such as robotics. For STEAM week last year, the upper years learned how to assemble and programme Lego robots. This year, Year 7s were dreaming up a product, designing it, marketing it and pitching it to a dragons’ den panel of external visitors. French day is also popular with pupils, which features a French café with children waiting on one another, dressed in tricolore colours.

The upper years (6 to 8) adopt more of a secondary school model, moving rooms for each lesson with specialist teachers for each. Pupils are placed into sets for English and maths from Year 3 (though there have been whispers that this may be axed) until Year 7 and 8, where little groups deem setting pointless (again, possibly being revised).

Around half of Year 6 leave at the end of the year for one of Kent’s highly competitive, high-achieving grammar schools. The subsequent decision to halve Year 7 and 8 fees has resulted in a big uptake, and the compact year groups allow for healthy friendships (particularly with the 50/50 boy/girl split), sufficient teacher-pupil time and attention for these children to blossom and figure out their next step within the independent sector. This tends to be a real mix, typically a few to Sevenoaks or Tonbridge, but a well-trodden path seems to be Kent College Pembury, Mayfield, Bede’s, Hurst and Battle Abbey.

It’s worth noting Rose Hill’s future schools evening, a hugely popular and successful annual event which sees around 23 visiting schools occupying a stand and speaking to families. Parents, including those from external schools, from Year 3 upwards mingle with each other and suss out the best next steps for their children, when they’re not listening to a talk by various guest speakers – James Priory of Tonbridge, Ceri Jones of Caterham and Jesse Elzinga of Sevenoaks are all recent examples.


Co-curricular is noteworthy for this 15-acre, relatively little school, all based in the creative wing just off the quad, which is surrounded by a warren of playgrounds, playing fields, and even a woodland classroom (a smart cabin-like structure buried in the woods which is used by all children). Pupils swim every week in the school’s shiny new 20-metre pool – also used for lifeguarding, water polo and even the pirate scene in the school play last year. Gymnastics, badminton and volleyball take place in an enormous sports hall, but it's the roller disco club that gives Rose Hill its edge.

There is a hockey Astro and a couple of rugby pitches where pupils train for the IAPS Small School group. Along with the usual run of rugby, football (the boys recently won the IAPS National Football Finals) and cricket for boys then hockey, netball and cricket for girls (with athletics populating the summer months), the school boasts a nine-hole golf course.

D&T is offered to pupils from Year 3 upwards. Rose Hill’s theatre is first-rate, with retractable tiered seating useful for creating ample rehearsal space and classes, but also for getting children accustomed to performing in front of large audiences.

Rose Hill pupils have a vast array of musical instruments to choose from – during orchestral week, staff show the children how all the instruments work and then they can figure out which one appeals to them. The combination of more than 120 individual music lessons each week plus orchestra, choirs, string groups, steel bands, composition club and theory extension all work to stretch and develop pupils’ musical skills. A spacious art studio displays creative work from Year 3 and above, including amazing self-portraits painted by Year 7. And being a ceramist as well as a head teacher, Ms Neville runs a pottery club, just one of 75 superbly varied activities, from Lego to go-kart racing (Year 5s double up as mechanics, then Year 7 and 8 learn to drive F24 go-karts around the track, including Goodwood’s and Top Gear’s!). These much sought-after clubs run alongside Rainbows, Brownies, Cubs and Scouts which take place on site, in honour of former pupil Baden-Powell.

School community

Pastoral care is exemplary at Rose Hill, perhaps due to the school’s diminutive size, but undoubtedly the good work of Ms Neville, who has put pupils’ wellbeing centre stage. The school’s Wellness Week takes place every May and, from nursery to Year 8, children are awarded five keys on their ‘keyring of integrity’ (confidence, resilience, getting along, persistence and organisation). This seems to work a treat, with pupils working hard to attain their keys and hanging them on their bags with pride. Curiously, sanctions or punishments have been scrapped for the simple request to ask children to reflect on their actions which, for a small school, seems to work. A rather lovely feature of Rose Hill’s pastoral care is the ‘Active Listeners’ initiative, which involves a handful of staff the children know they can talk to about everything and anything – or simply taking the school’s two ‘wellness dogs’, Maisie and Frank, for a walk and talk. This combines with mindfulness classes, which are run by the school nurse, and draw and talk sessions too that are much enjoyed by the pupils.

One of Rose Hill’s defining features is its inclusion of parents within school life. This ranges from morning parent PT sessions to top-notch communication between current families, such as a parent forum which meets termly and is overseen by the head. Various questions from parents gathered by class reps are taken to this panel and discussed at great length, with formal notes and responses fed back to families. This works brilliantly both for those quiet niggles which rarely rise to the surface but, over time, can fester if not addressed, but also for new ideas and recommendations for the pupils and the school.

And finally....

This is a small, local prep school that rather than trying to compete with the big hitters, focuses on providing a properly nurturing environment for pupils. If you live nearby, it’s well worth adding to your list.


  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Last year’s leavers went to the following schools: Bethany School (Sport Scholarship), Tonbridge School (Art Scholarship), Bede’s School (Swimming Scholarship), Kent College, Lingfield College, Battle Abbey, Mayfield School (Academic & Dance Scholarship), Skinners Grammar, Judd, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar, Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar and Tonbridge Grammar

  • SEND

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    SEND provision is offered to pupils requiring intervention that is additional to or different from the activities normally available to pupils at Rose Hill School. This provision may be long term because they have a Specific Learning Difficulty or Need e.g. Dyslexia or Dyspraxia or short term because they require ‘booster’ activities to close the gap between their attainments and those of their peers.

    We align to the SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (2015) recommendations following an Assess, Plan, Do, Review (APDR) model of practice. Our support is based on a colour coded 3 Waves model of intervention; Wave 1; in class support (Green), Wave 2; small group support (Yellow) and Wave 3; 1 to 1 support (Red).

    Those children with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) receive one to one support in accordance with their recommendations; some children are supported across the curriculum, some are supported within small group interventions and some receive support from outside agencies such as Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists or Cognitive Behavioural Therapists.

    Our mission statement is to provide quality all round education for all our pupils by removing barriers and enabling everyone to reach their true potential within a secure environment based on Christian principals. Our pupils are, therefore, encouraged throughout their time at Rose Hill to meet new challenges with confidence.

    We have a strong pastoral system which responds to the needs of every individual. We also strive to develop strong partnerships with all of pupils’ parents/guardians by communicating regularly on both social and academic progress made.

    Our pupils are very much at the heart of any additional support they may need and this includes helping to create their Individual Learning Plans whenever possible.

    Our SEND department is very much a part of the whole school. We have a Learning Support Teacher in the Early Years Department, the PrePrep Department and our SENCO is based in the Prep Department.

    Our PrePrep has a designated Learning Skills teaching room and is only a few steps away from the Prep school where the other Learning Skills room is based. All teachers within the SEND department have access to all interventions, teaching resources and specialist equipment. The SEND team work closely together to provide the best support possible for all of our SEND pupils, meeting regularly and providing INSETs for the whole school.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The first point of contact every day for our pupils is their Form Tutor or Class Teacher in PrePrep. All our teaching staff are supported by the pastoral team through regular guidance and in-service training, ensuring they feel confident and properly equipped to proactively handle ongoing issues.

    We have two drop-in sessions every week where pupils can discuss any concerns that are causing them anxiety with a member of the pastoral team. We help them learn how to resolve situations for themselves and encourage them to focus on what is going well in their week which encourages a positive mindset. Form Tutors encourage their pupils to regularly set positive targets, both an academic as well as a pastoral one. If a pupil needs further support to think positively, they are invited to create their own ‘Key to happiness’ book and note down things that have gone well. When our pupils review their week, they then can focus on the positive things that have recently happened.

    When pupils continue to have on-going concerns, they are partnered with an ‘active listener’. This is a member of staff who the pupil feels comfortable to talk with. They meet once a week to discuss any issues that may be troubling them, and to agree on potential resolutions for different scenarios. Our pupils can often be seen walking either of the school dogs, Frank or Maisie, around the school site with their active listener in tow. Frank and Maisie, who both attend school every day, are a great source of comfort to many of our pupils’ wellbeing.

    We have a number of additional support strategies to help our pupil’s mental health:

    ‘Draw and Talk’ therapy sessions; a twelve-week program allowing pupils to talk about their thoughts while they are drawing or painting.

    Our school counsellor visits the school every week and meets with any pupil whose needs exceed the school’s internal level of support.

    Throughout the school we run Mindfulness sessions. These are successfully led by two fully trained members of staff and provide yet another tool for our pupils to use as a strategy for combatting stressful periods in their lives.
    We run focus weeks throughout the year to concentrate on connecting with others, and to promote good wellbeing. These include, STEAM, Fair Trade Fortnight, Orchestral Week and a focused Wellness Week, as well as the house competitions in music, art or the spoken word. The Wellness Week activities this year were made available for parents, staff and pupils and ranged from yoga and singing to nutritional advice and keeping safe online.

    We have a pupil-led school council and an anti-bullying committee that both meet termly to talk about any changes that need to be made around the school. This gives pupils an element of control over their own routines and surroundings.

    Co-ordinator: Jane Morgan
  • Transport links

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Tunbridge Wells
    Journey time to London by train: 50 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Gatwick (18 miles)

School Updates

  • What a (Wellness) Week!

    During their annual Wellness Week staff and pupils at Rose Hill School came to school in their pyjamas during a week of activities focusing on Sleep.
    What a (Wellness) Week!
  • Baden-Powell’s birthday!

    Robert Baden-Powell would have turned 165 on 22 February this year and Rose Hill School pupils celebrate his birthday every year.
    Baden-Powell’s birthday!
  • WATCH: Rose Hill School: How to choose a prep school

    WATCH: Rose Hill School: How to choose a prep school
  • WATCH: Rose Hill trailer

    WATCH: Rose Hill trailer
  • Rose Hill rated excellent in all areas

    Local Prep School Rose Hill School has received a glowing report across all areas from the Independent Schools Inspectorate. Inspectors judged Rose Hill School to be ‘excellent’ and stated that in “all groups pupils make rapid progress from their various starting points.”
    Rose Hill rated excellent in all areas
  • WATCH: Head of Pre-Prep at Rose Hill

    WATCH: Head of Pre-Prep at Rose Hill
  • WATCH: Rose Hill Project

    WATCH: Rose Hill Project
  • WATCH: Philippa Lang - Rose Hill Curriculum

    WATCH: Philippa Lang - Rose Hill Curriculum
  • WATCH: Pastoral care at Rose Hill

    WATCH: Pastoral care at Rose Hill
  • WATCH: Rose Hill's head: Emma Neville

    WATCH: Rose Hill's head: Emma Neville
  • See Rose Hill 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.
    See Rose Hill in our Country Preps Focus


Coniston Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9SY

01892 525591


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