EACH MONTH WE SPEAK TO A HEADTEACHER AND PUPIL OF A LOCAL SCHOOL TO SEE WHAT’S ON OFFER AT THEIR FACILITY. THIS MONTH, IT ’S THE TURN OF HILDEN GRANGE IN TONBRIDGE
John Withers, headmaster
Sum up the ethos of your school
At Hilden Grange we aim to provide an environment which is friendly, secure and stimulating for our children. The academic, cultural, creative and sporting aspects of life are all important features of our school, which aims to help our boys and girls reach their full potential in all these areas. We strive for high standards across all subjects and activities, however, high levels of participation and enjoyment are vital elements of all aspects of life at Hilden Grange. We also encourage our young people to be good citizens. Courtesy, good manners and mutual respect are important to our community which aims for each individual to feel, happy, valued and very much part of our family school.
What makes your school stand out?
There are many common factors that may be identified in good and outstanding schools. High academic standards, strong pastoral care and a high quality co-curriculum to name a few. However, I believe that Hilden Grange stands out in how these goals are achieved. The school provides a high degree of specialist teaching, even from an early age with music, drama and P.E. taught by dedicated professionals throughout the school from the Nursery to Year 8 (ages three to 13), and specialist coaching in team sports from Reception onwards. All curriculum subjects are taught by subject specialist teachers from Year 3 to Year 8 (ages seven to 13), and two classes are set into three groups for English and Mathematics. In Years 7 and 8 more setting is introduced – Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught by separate teachers, delivering their specialist subject, all of which I believe are unique features of the school. I also consider that the high quality of our pastoral care, which demonstrates that the individual is valued and cared for in our community, the high standard of the co-curricular programmes in terms of variety, participation levels, achievements and enjoyment are outstanding aspects of the school.
What facilities do you offer?
At Hilden Grange we are able to use and enjoy some wonderful facilities. The school is located on Dry Hill Park Road in Tonbridge. The site stretches north behind the charming 19th century main building and totals eight acres, including playing fields; the school also has access to another six acres of adjacent sports pitches. The Ritblat buildings, which were completed in 2012, provide up to date Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and 2 classrooms as well as other classrooms used by all Prep School children (Years 3 to 8). The buildings, which are arranged in two wings and on three levels, also include a dining hall, science laboratories, an art facility and a library which is used by every child in the school, as well as dedicated and communal outdoor space. There is also a sports hall, swimming pool, tennis and netball courts, a design technology facility, two computer labs, a drama and dance studio, a music school and extensive outdoor play areas.
What’s your proudest achievement to date?
Having been at Hilden Grange for a number of years there have been many notable achievements and moments of pride from academic successes and sporting achievements to outstanding creative events and individual contributions. However, the happy girls and boys, the positive atmosphere within the school and the dedication of my teaching and support staff, who are responsible for making everything happen, are my greatest sources of pride.
Over the next year, what do you have planned for the school?
We never stand still at Hilden Grange! We are about to start work on an exciting project to redevelop our early years foundation stage outdoor learning areas, which will further enhance early years provision within the school. There are also a number of initiatives in place to continue the effective tracking of pupil progress and to further develop the quality of learning and teaching in the school. We are also working with our owners, the Alpha Plus Group, on the next stage of the school’s development.
Eliza, Year 5 student
What do you like about your school?
I always look forward to going to school, there is never a dull moment at Hilden Grange. I also like the wide variety of subjects and teachers. The teachers are really experts in their subjects. The school has different age groups from nursery all the way up to Year 8 and it’s lovely mixing with all the age ranges. I like that the school has lots of specialist facilities and modern, bright classrooms.
Do you have a favourite subject and why is it your favourite?
My favourite subject is music. I love to sing so I joined a choir in Year 3. I am now a girl chorister and have sung in many concerts and competitions. This has built up my confidence in music and now I am playing the drums. We also do an annual school musical production in a professional theatre with lots of singing and dancing. That has been one of my highlights at Hilden Grange.
What would you say to a student who is thinking of joining the school?
I would say that it is a very friendly school and you will make friends easily. The teachers are all kind and willing to help in any situation. You will love every single part of Hilden Grange, we are like a big family.
Can you sum your school up in five words?
Friendly, challenging, exciting, welcoming, creative.
Hilden Grange Preparatory School, 62 Dry Hill Park Road, Tonbridge TN10 3BX
www.hildengrange.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01732 351 169
Hilden Grange is holding an open morning on Tuesday February 28 from 9am to 12noon. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the school, enjoy a tour and meet our staff.