Benenden isn’t just for your daughters!
Parents play a full part in Benenden life too. There is a vibrant Benenden School Parents' Association which helps new parents settle in to the School, organises an annual lecture for parents and which works closely with Benenden management to feed back parents' ideas as part of an endeavour to constantly improve every aspect of the School.
There is also a full and varied programme of social events for parents, organised by the Parents' Events Committee. The committee organises regular year group lunches, an annual holiday, social events including Burns Night Reeling and quiz nights, and a whole host of cultural activities and visits.
Each year the committee also, in conjunction with the School, organises two extremely popular sporting events for parents and daughters to enjoy together: the Fourth and Upper Fourth Parents v Daughters Rounders in the Summer and the traditional Two Generation Sports event on the second weekend of the Autumn Term.
In addition, parents are always warmly encouraged to visit Benenden and take part in school life and we are delighted that so many do. Parents and their guests are invited to attend our termly programme of cultural events, including our lecture programme, drama performances, music concerts and our many sporting events, as well as significant parent-focused events such as the Arts Festival, Grandparents' Day, Sports Day and, of course, Speech Day.
Of course, parents who are new to the School may also be feeling anxious and uncertain as your daughter settles into Benenden. Your daughter’s Hm and Tutor are on hand to answer any questions you may have, and each House has parent reps whose role is to get to know new parents and to help guide you through the early months. There is also a drinks party early in the first term for new parents at which you can meet other parents and key members of staff. Year group lunches, organised by a committee of parents, are also a great way of meeting other parents, as well as the numerous events held throughout the year, both here at School and in London and elsewhere as organised by the Parents’ Events Committee.
Parents and friends are welcome at any act of worship. A School Service is usually held on the first Sunday of each term in St George's, Benenden, at 9.15am. This service is compulsory for all pupils in school. School Services during term are held in the School Hall and are usually at 6.30pm.
An Exeat is when the girls go out of School into the care of parents, relations or guardians.
It is important for a boarding school that Benenden's Exeat arrangements offer great flexibility in a very busy and stimulating Weekend Programme. Benenden is a great place to be at the weekend. However, we understand how important it is that school does not replace home life. We place great importance on getting the right balance for each pupil between staying in School, to take part in match fixtures and the wide range of activities open to all as part of the Weekend Programme, and going out of School to spend time with family and friends. Flexibility is the key.
Fixed Exeats (also known as Long Home Weekends) are when all pupils go home to families or guardians. There are two Fixed Exeat weekends in the Autumn Term, two in the Spring Term and one in the Summer Term. These usually begin following lessons on a Friday from 12.30pm until Sunday evening at 7.30pm. Details are printed in the termly school diary. Half Term holidays are also Fixed Exeats. For all other weekends, Housemistresses and Housemasters are happy to discuss individual arrangements with parents.
Floating Exeats (also known as Optional Weekends) start after lessons and other commitments are completed on Saturday and last until 7.30pm (or 6.15pm on School Service Sundays). We usually advise that two are taken each term, but there is no barrier to more being taken if necessary.
Meals out at Weekends
We do not set limits on girls taking meals out with family or friends at the weekends. However, we do ask parents to use their discretion. Permission must be sought from the Housemistress or Housemaster. In addition, parents are always welcome to join their daughter at School for meals: Sunday brunch is particularly popular with families!
In fact, Benenden is such a warm and friendly environment for parents that they often tell us that they miss us enormously when their daughters have left Benenden. That is why we established the Benenden Society, a group for former Benenden parents which organises social events and opportunities to keep in touch with School events and activities.