Bennett Memorial Diocesan School

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Bennett Memorial Diocesan School
Motto Semper Tenax (Ever holding fast)
Established 1951
Type Secondary All Ability Academy
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Mr J E Sparke
Founder Lady Elena Bennett and Christopher Chavasse
Location Culverden Down
Tunbridge Wells
Coordinates: 51°08′34″N 0°14′53″E / 51.14267°N 0.24792°E / 51.14267; 0.24792
Local authority Kent
DfE URN 136603 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 102
Students 1496
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–19
Houses Audley, Chavasse,Fisher, Gundulf, Justus, Langdon, Merton, Ridley, Talbot
Colours Green

Bennett Memorial Diocesan School is an all ability co-educational academy in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, which caters for students from age 11 to 19.


The school was founded on 17 October 1951 by Lady Elena Bennett of Matfield and Christopher M. Chavasse Bishop of Rochester. The school opened to 400 students and only 18 teachers on 8 January 1953. In 1976 Bennett became a comprehensive school, welcoming students of all abilities from a large part of the Diocese of Rochester rather than just Tunbridge Wells. It was shortly after this time that the Bennett sixth form was opened for A-Level students. Over the years students have travelled from as far away as Aylesford and Robertsbridge. A huge turning point in the School's life happened in 1993 when Bennett introduced boys into Year 7. In 2003 Bennett Memorial achieved specialist school status as a technology college.In April 2011, Bennett Memorial Diocesan School gained 'Academy' status, bringing with it new freedom and opportunity. In 2012 Bennett achieved an Outstanding judgment from Ofsted.

Pupils from the school were chosen to form part of a "guard of honour" for athletes at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, displaying artistic creations their school made to celebrate the event.[1]

In 2012, the school unveiled plans for a new sixth form centre.[2] Construction of the 'Sixth Form Study Centre' commenced in March 2013, and opened to staff and students in January 2014.

In February 2014 Rt Hon Michael Gove (Education secretary) came to the school to officially open the new sixth form block.


The school has the following main buildings:

  • The Mansion House - 1906/51+ (Administration, R.E, Art, Technology, Science Departments & Site Team)
  • The Palmer Building - 2008 (Maths)
  • The Webster Block - 1977 (ICT, Modern Foreign Languages, Geography & Learning Support)
  • The Cutbush Building - 2001/5 (History)
  • Music and Drama Department - 1980s
  • The Ann Scott Wing - 1993/6/8 (English, Science)
  • The Sports Hall - 2001 (a 4-badminton court-sized hall, a multi gymn)
  • Sixth Form Study Centre - 2014 (PSHE, RS & Social Sciences, Study Space, Maths)

Form system[edit]

The school holds a house system used in every year. Each house is named after bishops of Rochester:

Form Form colors
Audley Maroon
Chavasse Green
Fisher Navy blue
Gundulf Yellow
Justus Light Blue
Langdon Grey
Merton Purple
Ridley Red
Talbot Bright Green

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Murphy, Chris (27 May 2012), "School pupils to form guard of honour for 2012 athletes", Kent on Sunday, KOS Media 
  2. ^ "'Uni-esque' sixth form in pipeline at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School". Kent and Sussex Courier. 28 September 2012. 

External links[edit]