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Best primary schools in Canterbury

Best primary schools on the East Kent coast

Best primary schools in Ashford

Special Educational Needs

Canterbury Cathedral, East KentSmall rural schools, with fewer than 120 pupils, make up 30 per cent of the east Kent landscape – one parent described being ‘weak with desire’ when viewing what looked more like a country cottage than a school, complete with roses around the door. The intimacy of these schools can be intoxicating but over recent years due to funding and under resourcing, what seems idyllic can sometimes turn out less satisfactory, with drawbacks such as mixed-age classes.

The area isn’t short of schools with outstanding reputations which are understandably oversubscribed so it’s sensible to make sure you’re fully clued-up about the ins and outs of primary school admissions. The message is standard: the closer you live to a good state primary, the better your chance of a place. The most popular primaries tend to have high 11+ success rates even though they don’t coach for the test (and they really truly don’t, so don’t bother asking!) and not surprisingly these same schools achieve impressive SATs results too. It is accepted that most children will receive some tuition, mostly geared towards tackling the 11+ exam technique and filling any gaps in maths. 

We like schools that are solid all-rounders and you are spoilt for choice in East Kent where satellite villages to larger towns tend to have the most desirable schools. We’ve taken a snapshot for you.

Primary schools in Canterbury

Canterbury’s best primaries are Bridge and Patrixbourne Primary School, Blean Primary School and Wickhambreux Church of England Primary School. All varying sizes and flavours and consistently oversubscribed with impressive 11+results. These are all outside the centre of Canterbury but if you want to be by the city walls, St Thomas’ Roman Catholic School, is popular with a reliable reputation and great SATS results (fewer children enter the 11+ as the Catholic secondary is the majority destination school). 

Whitstable and Seasalter Endowed Church of England Junior School has very good SATS results and a lively supportive ethos, while Faversham’s Ethelbert Road Primary School is one of a hub of excellent schools in and around the historic market town. One Faversham parent commented, ‘Private isn’t on the radar at this age as the state schools do such a good job.’ Jumping back inland is Hernhill Church of England Primary School set in proper hop country which reliably ticks all the boxes.

Best state secondary schools in Canterbury

Best private schools in Canterbury

Best nurseries in Canterbury

Primary schools on the East Kent coast

Along the coast, there are pockets of desirable areas which have some great schools. Sandgate Primary School has a super record for grammar school destinations and Saltwood CofE Primary School is always popular due to its desirable location overlooking Hythe. Nestled between Dover and Deal is the extraordinary St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe Primary School which shares dizzying SATS scores with Chilton Primary School and Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Ramsgate – the latter basking in a glorious 11+ success rate most years.

Best state secondary schools on the East Kent coast

Best private schools on the East Kent coast

Best nurseries on the East Kent coast

Primary schools in Ashford

It’s the edges of Ashford and rural environs that boast the best schools. Lady Joanna Thornhill Endowed Primary School in the sought-after village of Wye – consistently oversubscribed (catchment is small) and very well regarded for its academic results and general ethos.  Two miles west is Great Chart Primary School in the ancient village of Great Chart, servicing the new Singleton Estate and village. Not far is Charing Church of England Primary School – a growing and popular village school achieving excellent results. There are many delightful more rural schools surrounding Ashford - Stowting Church of England Primary School being one set at the foot of the North Downs with a fantastic music tradition. In Ashford, Downs View Infants School stands out with a well-established and trailblazing forest school in its back garden.

Best state secondary schools in Ashford

Best private schools in Ashford

Best nurseries in Ashford

State primary schools for children with special educational needs in East Kent

All mainstream state primary schools have SEND support for mild to moderate learning difficulties. This often varies and can be related to the size of the school (the larger the school, the better resourced and more experienced/specialist staff although smaller schools may be more nurturing).

The Beacon, Folkestone, is an outstanding provider for pupils from 3-19 with profound, severe and complex needs – excellent facilities and multi-agency approach ensures that the provision is tailored to the individual’s needs and that the 3-tier curriculum and life skills are accessible to all.

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