Relocating to Kent
For many parents, choosing the right school for their child is part of a much wider search for a better work life balance. Continuing to progress on a successful and hard-earned career path with a manageable, stress-free journey to the office is often a key consideration for families looking to settle out of town; and this is made all the more easy knowing the children are receiving the very best educational care and attention during the working day.
With so many things to consider, we understand that relocating is not a decision parents take lightly, so in addition to providing a definitive Top Ten Reasons To Register, we have also prepared a short guide to what life could be like for the WHOLE family if Marlborough House became your chosen school; as well as some practical advice for making that move out of the city into the Garden of England.
Marlborough House School is positioned neatly between two mainline train routes into London; the Hastings line and the Ramsgate and Dover Priory lines via Ashford. The nearest station to us on the Hastings line is Etchingham and is just under 6 miles away from the school with trains running every twenty minutes during peak hours with a journey to London time of 1 hour and twenty minutes.
Staplehurst is the nearest station to us on the Ramsgate line with trains running approximately every 10 minutes and a journey time into London of just over an hour. For both train lines, the majority of services run into Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Bridge stations. Our minibus routes also take into consideration our commuting parents who need easy access to a mainline station but who choose to live anything up to 15 miles away from our school. That is why we currently run two minibus services that begin their journey in the rural villages of Wadhurst (for the Hastings line) and Pluckley (Ramsgate line).
Feeling part of the school community can sometimes be hard when you are 40 miles away, so we use a careful mix of on and offline communications so that our parents can keep up to date with what is happening at school and rejoice in the achievements of their child from afar.
As a Mum working full time in London this is amazing! I feel so much more in touch with the school. The Facebook snapshots and fixtures app are fantastic.MHS Parent
We understand that for commuting parents there will always be occassions when they need to stay up in town outside of normal office hours. In that way, a rigid pick-up time can add unnecessary stress to an already demanding working week, so in addition to our excellent Flexi-Boarding provision, parents can also take advantage of the MHS Extended Day by accessing over 50 different kinds of after-school club throughout the year, many of which are free of charge.
Buying or Renting a New Home
If expectations for the daily commute and the perfect school are met, securing a home that not only best suits the needs of the family but also represents great value for money is often the final missing piece in the jigsaw. With so many wonderful senior schools in Kent, to include several excellent grammar schools, it is hardly surprising that demand for both sales and rental properties in key school catchment areas is high. The first decision is often to buy or rent. Moving is expensive, especially with stamp duty at its new levels and so many families want to move out, get the children settled at school and then decide where to buy. Hawkhurst is in the Cranbrook School catchment area however, owing to our success rate at 11+ and 13+ Common Entrance, many of our pupils go on to other grammars and high profile senior schools all over Kent and the South East to include King's Canterbury, Winchester, Eton, Harrow and more locally, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells grammars and Sevenoaks and Benenden School. Once the potential of a child begins to emerge, schooling plans beyond Marlborough House often become clearer, so for many parents new to the area, this presents the perfect opportunity to revisit the location of the family home. By keeping senior school options open (and with some help from our flexible minibus routes), in the short-term new parents are able to widen their property search area beyond the Cranbrook School catchment area, AND at the same time take full advantage of all Marlborough House has to offer their child.
Living in The Kentish Weald
Hawkhurst or 'Hawk-Wood' if you take the literal translation from the Old English spelling, is a pretty country village in the Weald of Kent and the Borough of Tunbridge Wells. Hawkhurst is really two villages joined together, with the Moor at the older end and Highgate with its two-hundred-year-old, listed collonade building, local shops and digital cinema at the other.
Once home to the legendary 18th century Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers, evidence has been found of a network of underground tunnels running from the gang's main base, at the Oak and Ivy pub to the Queen's Inn and Royal Oak in Hawkhurst. Also in Hawkhurst, The Great House pub, is thought to have been an alternative venue for the gang to hatch their plots to smuggle contraband tea, brandy, rum and coffee out of France and the Channel Islands into The Weald from the Kent coast. Visitors to our village often embark on the Smugglers Trail to see for themselves some of the most infamous landmarks relating to the gang and their exploits.
Wherever possible, the Marlborough House catering team try to source produce from local suppliers and we are lucky enough to have the award-winning Weald Smokery and Hartley Dyke Farm Shop practically on our doorstep. In addition to Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets, the Hawkhurst community also supports local independent traders with a butchers, bakery and grocery store, all of whom trade in the colonnade just a few minutes walk from our school.
Housed in Victorian hall, the village is also home to the “Kino”, the U.K.’s first all-digital cinema. It is able to show several different films at varying times each week so as many people as possible can access the intimate 100-seater space. There is a great cafe and wine bar equally welcoming to those who want to watch the latest film releases with a glass of local wine and those in search of after-school babyccinos and homemade flapjacks and chocolate brownies.
An exceptionally friendly school where everyone is quickly made to feel part of the communityThe Good Schools Guide
When it comes to wining and dining, we are really spoiled for choice. There are many fabulous country pubs in the area to include the Great House, Queens Inn and Smugglers Ale House in Hawkhurst and a few miles away, The Milk House at Sissinghurst and The Bell at Ticehurst. Michelin- starred, The West House is just 15 minutes drive away from Hawkhurst, just around the corner from Kent's oldest commercial vineyard whilst The Swan at Lamberhurst has an extensive local wine list to include those produced next door at The Lamberhurst vineyard. The award-winning Chapel Down winery is close-by at Tenterden with many of the wines they produce there, appearing on restaurant and pub menus across the whole of Kent and beyond.
Family time is easily spent in The Kentish Weald and Marlborough House sits within a ten-mile radius of many wonderful National Trust properties to include the glorious Sissinghurst Gardens, Bodiam Castle and Rudyard Kipling's home at Batemans.
Bedgebury Pinetum is 4 miles away from us with many parents holding annual membership passes as it has over 10kms of family cycle tracks through the 2000-acre forest, a junior and adult Go Ape course, wonderful walks through the Pinetum and in the summer, as part of Forest Live, the site plays host to a series of live music concerts; Plan B, Tom Odell, Jessie J, Paul Weller, the Kaiser Chiefs and Sir Tom Jones have all performed at Bedgebury and more recently, performances from Elbow and Paloma Faith.
Hawkhurst Golf Club is just across the road from our school with Dale Hill and its two 18-hole golf courses just two miles away. Nearby Cranbrook Rugby Club is a bustling hub of sporting activity with boys and girls across the whole community playing competitive rugby (and meeting their Harlequins Club and England team heroes) throughout the season with cricket training available in the summer. The club also hosts some very entertaining quiz and live comedy nights that keep a very sociable bunch of parents and friends happy whilst helping to raise money for the club which is fundamentally run by volunteers. At Marlborough House, we also run our own parent clubs on site for netball, table tennis, yoga, pilates and cricket enthusiasts, with the dad's football and mum's netball clubs proving particularly popular. We also have excellent links with junior sections of other local clubs to include Marden Hockey, Sissinghurst Cricket and Wadhurst Football clubs.
With so much more to tell, we hope we have whet your appetite enough for you to consider paying us a visit. We have three official Open Mornings each year but we welcome prospective parents all-year-round and 'taster days' can be easily organised when school is in session. For parents with little ones, arranging a visit around one of our weekly toddler sessions is also a great way to get a feel for Marlborough House.
We are very passionate about the area we live and educate our children in but we know that there is no substitute for seeing, experiencing and 'living' it for yourself. For further information or to arrange a visit please email our Registrar Fiona Wooley, or call Fiona direct on 01580 755153.