education kent Research Residential schools

Why Kent is a school hotspot?

Q3 2015

Buying near a good school is not only a great way to secure your family a great education; it’s also an excellent financial investment. With its top schools, Kent has become the place to invest. We take a closer look.

Edward Church

Senior Director, Estate Agency

+44 1227 473700

Buying near a good school is not only a great way to secure your family a great education; it’s also an excellent financial investment. With its top schools, Kent has become the place to invest. We take a closer look.

Research shows properties in high-performing school catchment areas hold their value better and recover faster following a housing market downturn.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors discovered people are willing to pay 8% more for a home in the catchment area of a school rated 'good’ by Ofsted, while catchment areas for ‘outstanding’ schools see the highest returns.

Kent’s commuters

Kent is popular with commuters to and from the capital who are looking for something more affordable than London properties or are seeking a country idyll.

Many of these are young families looking for larger homes than they can afford in London. This means schools are high on the agenda for them, pushing up demand for places.

Kent is somewhat divided though – while 60% of schools are rated ‘good’, and a further 17% rated ‘outstanding’, 23% do not meet the criteria for a ‘good’ rating. This makes getting your children into one of the better schools all the more important.

Highlighting this divide is the fact the average property in Kent costs £286,758, compared to nearly double that in regions around the best schools, such as Goudhurst where costs average £515,407.

The Kent Test

If you want to send your children to one of the grammar schools they need to pass the Kent Test. This is a version of the 11+ exam and assesses whether grammar school is right for your child.

Where are the best schools?

Many of the schools are open to anyone as long as they pass the Kent Test, while the boarding schools also charge a fee. The boarding schools are particularly popular with London-based families or those living abroad.

There are a number of excellent public schools in the area alongside the more prestigious grammar schools. Some still operate catchment areas, especially when they become over-subscribed.

Cranbrook

This school is unique in that it’s the only state grammar in the country that is 13+, co-educational and caters for both day and boarding students. This means it’s very popular among local parents.

Where to buy: The catchment area includes a number of local towns as well as anywhere within 8.5km of the school. Popular areas are Goudhurst, Frittenden and Benenden. However, the village of Staplehurst is also a great option, offering all the countryside appeal you’d expect from Kent but with more affordable properties.

Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls

It’s no surprise demand for this school is high – in 2014 it was named The Sunday Times State Secondary School of the Year and Sunday Times International Baccalaureate School of the Year. Celebrating its 110th birthday this year, pupils enjoy modern facilities with plenty of history.

Where to buy: Girls in Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks get the majority of places. Tonbridge has quick access to London and is more affordable than Sevenoaks. Tunbridge Wells is more picturesque but takes a bit longer to get to the capital.

Weald of Kent Grammar

An ‘outstanding’ school since 2007, this is one of the larger options with over 1,200 pupils. However, it gets the results.

Where to buy: Tonbridge and Malling children get first choice, then Sevenoaks, and on to Tunbridge Wells. Hadlow is one of the most in-demand towns and is more affordable than nearby Ightham.

Simon Langton School

While this is a school for boys, its sixth form is mixed. It prefers a research-led approach to learning and is very popular.

Where to buy: The catchment area covers 9 miles from its base in Canterbury. The town itself is relatively affordable for Kent as are the nearby towns of Sturry, Blean and Bridge.

Kings Canterbury

Thought to be the oldest school in the country, it offers boarding and day school options. The current guidance is to apply at least 3 years in advance due to high demand.

Where to buy: Canterbury is a great choice offering easy access to the school as well as a range of cultural and social activities for parents. Most try and secure a place within the city walls but further afield options like Patrixbourne and Bridge offer the classic countryside living as well.

Benenden

This independent girls boarding is highly regarding in not just the county but across the country, thanks to its traditional buildings, high academic achievement and cutting-edge teaching methods.

Where to buy: The school is fairly remote, with the nearest large town being Cranbrook, which has classic English countryside looks alongside great dining options. Benenden village is closer but demand for homes is high.

Sevenoaks

This co-educational day and boarding school is set in 100-acres of Kent countryside. It’s in high demand not just because it’s a great school but also because of its proximity to London.

Where to buy: Demand for property is high in the town thanks to the number of great schools. Dunton Green, in the north of Sevenoaks, offers good access to the M25 alongside countryside living.