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Our History

Duke of Kent School was founded in 1976 by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The School’s name honoured Prince George, the Duke of Kent, (1902-1942), who died in an air crash during the Second World War. The School was established primarily to educate the sons of former and serving RAF personnel. Many pupils were Foundationers, some of whom had lost fathers on active service. The School was formed by merging Vanbrugh Castle School with an existing School, Woolpit, at the Ewhurst site.

  • 1885

    Woolpit House was built

    Woolpit House was built by Sir Henry Doulton of the Doulton pottery family in 1885. Sir Henry’s biographer, Edmund Gosse, wrote that he had been ‘permanently bewitched’ by the beauty of the spot in which he chose to build his house. ‘He announced, with a conviction which he maintained to the last, that there was more beauty of scenery in the parish of Ewhurst than was to be found, equally composed and combined, in any other parish in England. When gently reminded that he had not seen all the English parishes, he admitted it, and said that, after seeing Ewhurst, one would not want to see them.’

    On this inspiring site, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund set out to create a new school with an enlightened approach to education. While scholarship was to be pursued, the School had an inclusive ethos from its earliest days and placed emphasis on personal and social, as well as academic, development. The job description for the first teachers stressed: ‘Music, Drama and Sport together with the rudiments of good manners, courtesy and sportsmanship will be the hallmark of the School.’

  • 1976

    Duke of Kent School was founded

    Duke of Kent School was founded in 1976 by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The School’s name honoured Prince George, the Duke of Kent, (1902-1942), who died in an air crash during the Second World War. The School was established primarily to educate the sons of former and serving RAF personnel. Many pupils were Foundationers, some of whom had lost fathers on active service. The School was formed by merging Vanbrugh Castle School with an existing School, Woolpit, at the Ewhurst site.

  • 1978

    Duke of Kent School became fully co-educational

    Duke of Kent School became fully co-educational in 1978. The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund equipped the School with a Performing Arts Hall and tennis courts, covered the outdoor.

  • 1995

    Opening of the new Sports Hall

    The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund equipped the School with a Performing Arts Hall and tennis courts, covered the outdoor pool and in 1995 put up a new Sports Hall.

  • 2006

    Opening of the Nursery

    Our Nursery School opened in 2006.

  • 2009

    Expansion to GCSE

    In 2009, in response to growing parental demand, the school made the bold decision to expand the age groups and move up to GCSE. The expansion of the school saw full use of the already impressive facilities at the school, and influx of experienced Senior School teachers. Science facilities were upgraded, the Learning Development took on a new form, and the development of some designated Senior areas completed the transformation. From the initial year group of nine students the school has expanded in numbers, year on year, ever since. 

  • 2011

    Introduction of Forest School to Pre-prep

    It was decided to introduce a Forest School as part of our Pre-prep experience. It was thought that inside the four walls of a school classroom there were limitations to the way pupils learn and developed. Being outdoors has huge benefits for pupils, both physically and mentally, and the Forest School aims to tap into those benefits by educating children in the fresh air. In fact there are untold benefits for the pupils. In order to do this thoroughly, staff were specially trained, and specific areas in our amazing woods were set aside for these activities. The success of this scheme has meant that we have extended the programme into our Prep School. 

  • 2013

    Pilot project of iPads

    Duke of Kent School was an early adopter of mobile technology with the introduction of iPads throughout the school.

  • 2018

    The Opening of the Pre-prep Adventure Playground

    Close on the heels of the All-weather pitch cam the construction of the magnificent adventure playground for Pre-prep pupils. This incorporates many textured safe surfaces, climbing frames, educational water games, a sand pit and other areas where the pupils can explore the limits of their imagination in safety. This is a marvellous asset for those at the bottoms end of the school.

  • 2018

    The All-weather Pitch was completed

    There had been a long standing desire within the school to construct an All-weather pitch to accommodate the ever increasing numbers at the school, to help preserve the grass pitches and to match facilities offered by other schools. This was started in the Autumn of 2017 and completed by the Summer of 2018. It was an enormous project that delivered such a stand out facility. The pitch transformed the sports life at the school. 

  • 2019

    The Launch of Chromebooks in the Senior School