Education & Family
by Aspect County

A Century of a Complete Education

Journalists who have braved war zones to report the truth. Humanitarians who have founded global charities. Princesses whose humanitarian work has touched millions. Trailblazing women who have smashed the glass ceiling. The MI5 Director-General who responded to terrorist attacks…and the priest who comforted victims’ families.

Benenden School educates and cares for 550 girls

Benenden School has been inspiring leaders for 100 years
It is no wonder that, as it approaches its Centenary, the School has been named among the Spear’s list of the top global schools. Spear’s summarised Benenden as inspiring leaders who care,” which seems a fitting tagline for a school that devotes so much time and energy to working in partnership with other schools and community groups. This summary would also surely have made Benenden School’s Founders proud. When these three pioneering women – Kathleen Bird, Anne Hindle and Christine Sheldon – left their roles as schoolmistresses at Wycombe Abbey School to set up Benenden in September 1923, they were pursuing their stated ethos: A happy school with personal integrity and service for others always in mind and where everyone would be given the chance to follow her own bent.”

A century later, Benenden School still follows that same path: inspiring every student to achieve her very best by pursuing her passions wherever they may lead, while also instilling in her a sense of community and kindness.

Headmistress Samantha Price said: The Founders’ vision for Benenden in 1923 was precisely how the School made me feel when I first visited; my initial impression was of a school with a warm, close-knit community that was genuinely unique and immeasurably special.

The three schoolmistresses who founded Benenden from left Miss Bird Miss Sheldon and Miss Hindle

The three schoolmistresses who founded Benenden, from left, Miss Bird, Miss Sheldon and Miss Hindle

Another of the Founders’ hallmarks was their belief that the School should continually adapt, and Benenden has enthusiastically followed this path in recent years through an array of forward-thinking initiatives and developments. Crucially, however, the happy, selfless and inspiring community that the Founders sought to create in their fledgling school 100 years ago not only endures today but is stronger than ever.”

As part of its Centenary celebrations, Benenden is producing a book that showcases the lives of 100 individuals who embody the School’s values. Such is Benenden’s ability to support a student’s particular interests that it is no surprise to see the book featuring lives from a hugely diverse range of careers. Split across the five Complete Education’ categories that Benenden operates within (Mind and Spirit, Creativity and Culture, Global Awareness, Health and Wellbeing, and Skills for Life), the book includes politicians, aviators, lawyers, security personnel, actors, priests, conservationists, musicians and authors to name just a few.

The first of two microlights that Benenden students have constructed

There are always statistics around any school – and as you would expect, Benenden’s are sterling, with outstanding academic results (87% A*-B at A Level in 2022 and 90% Level 9 – 7 at GCSE), 150 co-curricular activities available and two (yes, two!) microlight aircraft constructed by students in the past few years – but these only give a glimpse into what a school is really like. You learn far more about a school by assessing what its alumni go on to achieve throughout their lives. In Benenden’s case, the occasion of its Centenary shows us how this school is truly inspiring future thinkers and leaders who make a difference.