Hadlow College

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Not to be confused with Harlow College.
Hadlow College
Hadlow College Logo.png
Established 1968
Type Further education, higher education
Principal Mr Paul Hannan
Chair of Governors Mr Nick Coffin
Location Tonbridge Road
TN11 0AL
England England
Coordinates: 51°13′31″N 0°19′44″E / 51.22523°N 0.32888°E / 51.22523; 0.32888
DfE number 886/8300
DfE URN 130733 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Gender Mixed
Ages 16–103
Website www.hadlow.ac.uk

Hadlow College is a further and higher education college in Hadlow, Kent with satellite sites in Canterbury and London. The curriculum primarily covers land-based subjects including Forestry & Arboriculture, Agriculture, Conservation and Wildlife Management, Animal Management, Fisheries Management, Equine Studies, Outdoor Pursuits, Floristry, Horticulture, Garden Design, Landscape Management and sustainability. Additionally, intermediate and advanced apprenticeships are offered in Agriculture, Horticulture and Land-based Engineering.

Origins and history[edit]

In 1919 a scheme of Agricultural Education for the County, which included the provision of a Farm Institute, was approved at a meeting of the Kent Education Committee. Borden Grammar School at Sittingbourne agreed to sell their property to this committee as soon as a new grammar school was built, but it was not until 1929 that Borden Grammar was occupied and its building adapted for Farm Institute purposes. Grove End Farm, Tunstall was purchased in July 1919 to be run as the Institute Farm.

After the Second World War, the Kent Education Committee bought the Swanley property together with 60 acres (24 ha) of land. Until 1949 the Horticulture Institute was used as a training centre in horticulture for ex-service personnel under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture. In September 1949 the Education Committee took possession and the Horticulture Institute was developed and run on parallel line to the Farm Institute.

In 1958 the two institutes were merged to form the Kent Farm and Horticulture Institute. Although the two departments were 30 miles (48 km) apart, this was the first step in bringing the two together. In the spring of 1960, 600 acres (240 ha) of land was purchased from Hadlow for the establishment of a combined Institute. The Agricultural Department moved from Sittingbourne to the new site in the summer of 1966, and the Horticultural Department in the summer of 1967. The Institute was then renamed Hadlow College of Agriculture and Horticulture. On 22 March 1968, His Royal Highness Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the college.

In June 2010, the college was graded "outstanding" by Ofsted. This result complemented the "outstanding" grade which the college had received in March 2009 for its care provision.[1]

Hadlow College Group also runs Ashford College and West Kent College as of 1 August 2014. These were formerly part of K College.


Set on a 630-acre (250 ha) estate, Hadlow College enjoys many facilities. Its equine centre is listed within the London 2012 Training Guide and the new animal management building (opening spring 2009) will be amongst the best in the country.

Additional facilities on the estate include a fully functioning farm with a dairy herd and milking parlour, breeding sheep and arable crops, commercial dog grooming parlour and exotic species, variety of habitats for woodland and countryside management, stock ponds, hatchery, cross country equine courses together with international size arenas, 3.2 acres (13,000 m2) glasshouse complex and a landscape training centre.

Broadview Gardens, the on-site visitor attraction, also plays an important role in College life. These 10 acres (4.0 ha) of landscaped gardens provide an inspiration to the horticulture and garden design students, as well as being a useful area for them to practise their skills. It is also home to Sandell Lake. These gardens are constantly being updated and added to. For example, Hadlow College 's garden, Full Frontal, which won Gold at the 2007 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has recently been re-created within the grounds. Highlighting the effects which block paving can have on the environment, Full Frontal presents an alternative based around the fact it is possible to have flowers, plants and a parking space in ones front garden without the need for concrete.

In October 2009 Princess Christian's Farm came underneath the umbrella of the college. Run in partnership with Kent County Council Social Services for the benefit of adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, the overall aim of the partnership is for the individuals to learn new skills and develop opportunities to move into employment.

Betteshanger Sustainable Parks[edit]

In 2009 Hadlow College was approached by Dover District Council and Kent County Council to develop the site of the former Betteshanger Colliery. The resultant scheme – Betteshanger Sustainable Parks – is the outcome of four years of partnership working.

Designed to transform the site into a 21st-century global laboratory which brings together business, education and green technologies, it aims to create over 1,000 jobs for the local area and generate £29m private sector investment. The scheme will include a national eco-tourism visitor destination to showcase mining heritage and sustainable energy production, as well as a bespoke green technologies enterprise complex and world-class research and development supported through the Betteshanger Sustainable Education Centre.

The scheme was launched on 6 November 2013[2] at the House of Commons with work commencing on site in 2014.

Royal Borough of Greenwich Equestrian Centre[edit]

Formally opened in December 2013 by HRH The Princess Royal,[3] the Royal Borough of Greenwich Equestrian Centre offers full-time further and higher education, as well as part-time courses, in horse care and equine therapy.

Designed to create a lasting legacy for the Royal Borough of Greenwich from the London 2012 Olympic Games, this £5m centre of excellence aims to benefit the residents of the borough by providing access to first class training and educational facilities.

Current courses include Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in Horse Care as well as a full BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation. Facilities include stables for 20 horses, a hydrotherapy pool, indoor arena and outdoor manege as well as a show-jumping paddock and horse-walker.

Hadlow Rural Community School[edit]

In September 2013, a mixed free school was opened on the Hadlow campus. The first school in Kent to offer a farm-based secondary education for students aged 11 to 16, it began with 80 pupils, and has a maximum capacity of 330.[4]

Charlton Athletic Football Academy[edit]

On 28 May 2014, the college announced that they would begin running a post-16 football academy programme, in partnership with Charlton Athletic, from September at their main campus near Tonbridge, Kent. The college's football academy programme was previously run in partnership with Tonbridge Angels and trials are held at various times every year to be able to field a squad to represent the college in regular competitions.[5]

Notable Alumni[edit]

  • Toby Buckland, gardener, TV presenter and author
  • Matthew Wilson (gardener), garden designer, writer, radio and television broadcaster and lecturer
  • Charles Tassell, Director, Kent County Agricultural Society; Chairman, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI)
  • Steve Edney, Head Gardener at The Salutation Gardens[6]
  • Marian Boswall, landscape architect [7]
  • Wendy Allen, garden designer [8]

Notable Former Staff[edit]

  • Nick Bailey, Head Gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden, silver gilt medal winner Chelsea Flower Show 2016. Author: 365 Days of Colour in Your Garden. TV Presenter: BBC Gardeners' World [9]


  1. ^ "Ofsted Care Standards Inspection 2009" (PDF). Ofsted. 25 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "New look for old Betteshanger Colliery site". Kent Messenger. 6 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Princess Royal opens Greenwich Horticulture and Equestrian Skills Centre". News Shopper. 6 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Hadlow free school welcomes first set of pupils'". Kent and Sussex Courier. 11 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Hadlow College Partners with Charlton Athletic". Hadlow College. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Salutation - Meet The Gardeners". The Salutation. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "Kent Life - Garden tips for 2015". Kent Life. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Wendy Allen Designs". Wendy Allen Designs. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "The Telegraph - Chelsea Flower Show 2016: Best in Show and the medal winners in pictures". The Telegraph. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 

External links[edit]