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Best primary schools in Ashford

Best primary schools in Canterbury

Best primary schools in Maidstone

Best primary schools in Rochester

Best primary schools in Sevenoaks

Best primary schools in Tunbridge Wells & Tonbridge

Best primary schools in The Weald

Best primary schools on the east Kent coast

Special Educational Needs


Canterbury Cathedral, East KentThe most desirable primary schools in Kent tend to be the ones feeding into the grammars and topping league tables for SATs. Many children will receive some tuition, mostly geared towards tackling the 11+ exam technique and filling any gaps in maths. 

Options vary but in villages and rural spots with high demand and less housing, catchment areas are small. And schools can be small too. A parent described to us 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. Not all the local C of E Primary Schools have faith-based selection but always check the admissions policy to be sure. Check out our article on choosing and applying to primary school.

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.

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Primary schools in Canterbury

Canterbury’s best primaries are Bridge and Patrixbourne Primary SchoolBlean 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.

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Primary Schools in Maidstone

Two areas particularly on the radar are Weavering and Bearsted with Thurnham Church of England Infant School and Roseacre Junior School both oversubscribed. St John’s Church of England School has some of the best SATs results in the area. The villages south of Maidstone are desirable and offer good schools too, Sutton Valence Primary School is particularly popular and benefits from its relationship with the private school over the road. The pretty village of Loose is home to Loose Primary School which is enjoying a spate of rather impressive results due to a forward-thinking approach to play and learning.

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Primary Schools in Rochester

After The Pilgrim School – the best in Rochester – a few schools dotted along this North Kent coast deserve a big shout out. The painfully oversubscribed small Bredhurst School tops the charts in this area for gaining the largest percentage of higher SATs grades. Cobham Primary School also hugely popular along with The Brent Primary (Dartford) and Bobbing School in Sittingbourne which serves one of the many new build estates.

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Primary Schools in Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks ‘doesn’t really have any poor primary schools’, one parent boldly told us, and there certainly is a very good choice. In the centre, the highly regarded Lady Boswell’s Primary School has a very respectable track record for pupils’ success at 11+.  Then the faith schools: St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School with admissions based on faith and St Johns’ Church of England, which in recent years has turned around its reputation (now oversubscribed with reportedly strong leadership, say parents). Riverhead Infants and Amherst Junior School in Otford tick all the boxes while Ightham Primary School‘s one form entry, superb outside space and results to match is a village school drawing much attention.

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Primary Schools Tunbridge Wells & Tonbridge

Three fabulous schools stand out: Speldhurst Church of England SchoolSt Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary School and Claremont School all varying sizes but all respected for pupils’ impressive 11+ success and dizzying high SATs.

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Primary Schools in The Weald

Each quaint village in the Weald has an equally small village school – their results aren’t necessarily at the top of the pops, but parents and pupils say the ethos of these schools is what they want, not the data. The super SATs results at St Michael’s Church of England School make it popular, while Benenden Church of England Primary School is a solidly reliable village school with a community feel. Goudhurst and Kilndown Church of England School perhaps the best of the bunch here and without faith-based selection.

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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

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State primary schools for children with special educational needs in Kent

All mainstream state primary schools have SEN support for mild 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).

Five Acre Wood School in Maidstone has a primary section and is an all-through school, also providing outreach for primary schools and provision in satellite schools in Snodland. Ifield School caters for children with severe and profound needs. As does The Beacon, Folkestone, an outstanding provider for pupils from 3-19 – 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. The admission of pupils to special schools is a decision for the local authority – in this case Kent CC or Medway Council

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