Education & Family
by Aspect County

Benenden School

Journalists who have braved war zones to report the truth. Philanthropists who have founded global charities. Princesses whose humanitarian work has touched millions. The MI5 Director-General who responded to terrorist attacks…and the priest who comforted victims’ families. Trailblazing entrepreneurs who have smashed the glass ceiling. Benenden School has been inspiring impressive female leaders for 100 years.

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Now, in recognition of its Centenary, for the first time the acclaimed boarding school has published a book that celebrates a selection of alumnae who have, in their own way, changed the world.

Called Benenden 100 and featuring a foreword from the School’s highest profile alumna, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, the book celebrates the lives of 100 individuals (or 108 to be precise, with the School Founders and Headmistresses included in addition) who embody the School’s values.

Selected by an editorial panel, the final list mainly comprises alumnae, as well as some staff, governors and other supporters. Politicians, aviators, lawyers, security personnel, actors, priests, conservationists, musicians, authors and Olympians are represented, to name just a few.

The book has been specially produced as part of the School’s Centenary celebrations, marking 100 years at the forefront of British education with the launch of a progressive new curriculum and a range of events.

Subject learning has been expanded with exciting developments such as Creative Technology, combining art studies with the latest in software, AI and programming; Languages Ancient and Modern that bridges the gap between classical and contemporary language studies; and the Electives Programme, offering a diverse range of courses fostering a love of learning for the sake of learning.z

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Celebrations have included a launch event that united the School community for sport, music, poetry, art, fantastic food and fireworks; the Inspiring Future Female Leaders conference in which students from across the globe were invited to hear from speakers as notable as former MI5 Director-General Baroness Manningham-Buller LG DCB and HRH The Princess Royal; and a conference on Women and Wellness, which was opened by Davina McCall and tackled subjects from the menopause to women’s pensions. 

When judging Benenden as one of the top global schools in 2022, luxury lifestyle magazine Spear’s summarised Benenden as inspiring leaders who care” – 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 – 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.”

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