Our co-curricular programme offers a whole range of activities and experiences, including those in some of the following areas:
Music, Sport, Drama, Dance, Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, community volunteering, charity fundraising, confirmation, international trips, Model United Nations, lectures from visiting speakers.
In addition to this extensive programme, each year group has dedicated weekly periods protected for co-curricular activity, with a whole array of different options available for girls to choose from.
Combined Cadet Force
We are one of the few girls’ schools in the UK to run a CCF contingent, which we offer in collaboration with The John Wallis Church of England Academy – giving students the chance to develop personal responsibility, leadership, and self-discipline through a military approach.
The Drama department at Benenden School is professional, vibrant, and innovative. A passionate staff of teachers and drama practitioners work effectively as a team to ensure the creativity and passion of the young people at Benenden is fully realised.
We are incredibly fortunate at Benenden to have both a multi-purpose Theatre and two excellent professional sound and lighting technicians. Factoring in a superbly resourced costume and props department and state of the art sound and lighting equipment, the only limit the students have in the work that they wish to create whilst studying at Benenden is their own imagination and dedication.
The Drama Department offers a wide range of Co-Curricular activities including:
· Regular theatre trips to London and surrounding venues
· Workshops with professional theatre makers/companies
· Speech and Drama teachers with industry experience who offer TRINITY and LAMDA exams
· A rigorous Drama Scholars’ Programme
· The opportunity to study Ballet or Rambert Grades – Contemporary Dance
· The chance to perform in both Senior and Junior plays
Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award
Dozens of girls complete the Bronze DofE Award each year and we are pleased that some progress all the way to achieve the prestigious Gold Award. Practice expeditions take place in the School grounds as well as further afield to locations including Wales and the Lake District.
Fitness and Wellbeing
Many girls complement their sports lesson by using the Fitness Gym and taking part in our many fitness classes throughout the week. SPLASH, our sports complex, is very much like a sports centre with bookable classes, lane swims, clubs and activities that go on from 7.00am until 9.00pm most days for girls and staff.
The grounds are full of girls playing competitively, practicing independently and exploring the surrounding woodlands and making use of the outdoor trim trail.
Music holds a privileged place at the heart of Benenden with countless opportunities for girls of all ages. There is activity in the Music Department each day from early until late. We put on weekly Friday Lunchtime Concerts and occasional break time Coffee Concerts, encouraging students of all ages and abilities to perform.
Opportunities abound both in and out of the School in prestigious venues such as Canterbury Cathedral, St John’s Smith Square, King’s College, Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, St Paul’s Cathedral and St James’ Palace. Benenden’s musicians also perform regularly in the locality to raise funds for various charities.
We have well-established links with the junior departments of the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music. Furthermore, girls are frequently involved with The National Youth Orchestra, National Children’s Orchestra, the National Youth Choirs and the Eton Choral Courses.
Musicals (most recently Sister Act, Les Misérables, The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar), commissions, world premières, workshops, masterclasses and lectures all contribute to the full and ever-stimulating musical programme offered at Benenden.
We are fortunate at Benenden to operate on a site of 250 acres, which offers plenty of opportunities for enjoying the outdoors. For example, the firepit in the woods is a popular location for House gatherings, especially when accompanied by hot chocolate and s’mores! There are also a series of running routes through Benenden’s woodland.
Benenden is proud to play an active role in supporting local community groups and schools.
Benenden is a co-sponsor of The John Wallis Church of England Academy in Ashford and the two schools work incredibly closely together. Perhaps the most prominent partnership endeavour is the vibrant mentoring programme in which Benenden Sixth Formers offer exam and revision tips to their counterparts at John Wallis who are approaching their GCSE exams.
As part of the Volunteering Programme, Benenden sets aside dedicated time on a Tuesday afternoon for the Sixth Form to volunteer at some of our local organisations. Examples include girls helping at four local primary schools, where they help pupils with reading and assist classroom teachers; socialising with residents at Bowles Lodge in Hawkhurst; running an onsite Memory Café; helping with activities with the Tenterden Social Hub and assisting in the Benenden Pre-school.
Sixth Formers also work in Benenden’s, the village community shop, which the School bought in 2015 and is now an extremely successful local amenity.
Benenden supports the Kent Academy Network, in which teachers voluntarily run lessons during the Easter and Summer holidays as part of a university access programme for students from state schools.
In recent years, Benenden has set up the Wealden Hub of local schools, where we are able to bring together primary and secondary schools to take part in a varied programme of events, from Shakespeare performance and Early Career Teacher conferences, to Science Conventions and orchestral workshops. Benenden collaborates closely with our local network of schools and charities to provide support and opportunity for the community.
Benenden is a sporty school. It is cool to be sporty and one of the best things about being part of it is that students and staff embrace their love of sport – team or individual.
Once at Benenden, your daughter is able to trial for a place in each of our sports squads. Currently, we offer squads in lacrosse, netball, tennis, rounders, swimming and athletics. Within all of these sports (except athletics) we offer Performance and Development Squads, in order that we provide opportunities for as many girls as possible to play competitive sport against other schools and clubs.
In addition to these major squads, we also offer external competitive opportunities in hockey, squash, trampolining, rowing, rugby and equestrian. Fixtures take place on most Saturdays and also mid-week depending on the sport. Lacrosse, netball and swimming are our major sports in the Autumn and Spring Terms, and tennis, rounders and athletics are our key sports in the Summer Term.
However, we also have matches in all other sports throughout the year too with some tennis played in the early part of the year, and hockey, squash and rugby featuring mainly in the Autumn and Spring Terms. We have a huge variety of fixtures for teams, particularly in the major sports of lacrosse and netball with continued development of fixtures for C and D teams in lacrosse, and E/F teams in netball.
Internal competition opportunities are also provided for the girls in badminton, tennis and squash. We also run a thriving Inter-House programme, with a plethora of sports activities and various fitness/pool-based challenges. A number of specialist activities are also offered on a paid extra basis.