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Scholarship Success

We’ve delighted to announce another outstanding set of scholarship results; seven of our Year 8 boys have won Academic Scholarships to Tonbridge School.  This is a remarkable achievement by any standard but even more so when we consider that competition for these awards is fierce, attracting candidates from schools across the country, and that the awards won by Hilden Grange pupils accounts for one third of the total, the most by four of any other school.

We are so proud of our Hilden Grange pupils, not least as over the years they have enjoyed a consistent pattern of unequaled scholarship success.  It is true we have had particular success with Tonbridge School, with Hilden Grange pupils winning many Academic awards to include the top award, the Ainslie, twice in the past four years, but in fact pupils regularly win Academic, Music, Sport, and Drama awards to a diverse range of prestigious independent schools.

In addition to the Academic Scholarships to Tonbridge School, this year Hilden Grange pupils have also been awarded three Tonbridge School Music Scholarships, as well as Academic awards to Sevenoaks, Caterham, Walthamstow Hall, Kent College and Radnor House, Sports awards to Bede’s, Kent College and Walthamstow Hall and a Music award to Walthamstow Hall. This brings the total scholarships awarded this year to 20.

We are very proud of these results which are testament to the dedication and hard work of our teachers and pupils alike.

‘Vive la France’

Our recent ISI report stated that ‘pupil’s exemplary attitudes are supported by creative and engaging teaching which enables them to become highly effective learners.’

This was lovely to read, and it is even lovelier to see in practice!  Just one example of this is Year 2’s topic ‘Vive la France’ which has encompassed lots of innovative cross-curricular learning.  The children were gripped by the story of paratroopers liberating the town of St Mere Eglise and set about constructing their own parachutes, investigating the forces of air resistance and gravity.   They were fascinated to hear about Louis Bleriot and his quest to become the first man to fly across the English Channel.  Following in his footsteps they designed and launched their own planes on an exciting maiden voyage across (and into!) the school pool.

The Science Week themes of ‘Structure and Materials’ also provided lots of scope for French-related activities, as the Year 2 children used their knowledge of equilateral triangles to construct the iconic pyramid at The Louvre, leant fascinating facts about the Eiffel Tower and then built their own from spaghetti, and then followed up with lots of tricky calculations on buildings of different sizes.

A Week of Scientific Challenges

The Language of Learning values of Challenge, Communication, Positivity, Responsibility, Confidence and Perseverance were seen in abundance during the workshops and activities of this year’s ‘Structures and Materials’ themed Science Week. The whole school were involved, from Nursery to Year 8.

To fit in with their topic of Light and Shadows, Year 3 made their own kaleidoscopes made from recyclable materials.

Year 3 then began their new topic of Construction Materials; learning about earthquakes and buildings that have been reinforced by various materials and structural supports to survive sheer forces.  Pupils then used these ideas to construct earthquake resistant buildings that they tested on jelly platforms!

They also took part in a Knex workshop, investigating which structures provided the most stability.

In Architecture workshops, Year 4 built bridges, Year 5 designed and built Lego Houses, Year 6 made a huge ferris wheel, and Year 7 and 8 constructed skyscrapers.

Meanwhile Year 4 tried to build the tallest freestanding tower that could support a plastic cup containing five marbles. However, they were only allowed to use one newspaper, four sheets of card and sellotape!

To fit in with their topic of Lifecycles, Year 5 looked at the structure of flowers. They also looked at pollen grains under the microscope. Having dissected flowering plants and learnt about their structure they then went on to make their own model flowers. They then went on to sample organic honeycomb and they made beeswax candles and calculated the ratio of honey to wax produced by bees.  They investigated where hexagonal shapes occur in nature and discovered that bubbles will form hexagons!

Year 6 used their knowledge of levers, gears and pulleys and investigated the structure of various machines and made  moving models – with varying levels of success.

Year 7 investigated SMART Materials and their uses. They looked at thermochromic film, UV Beads, Smart Putty, Shape Memory Polymer and hydrogels. They made polymorph – which you can mould and shape by hand when it is put in hot water. Meanwhile, Year 8 Made biodegradable plastic from Potato Starch.

In the Pre-Prep, Nursery children looked at structures and materials of plants. In their Forest School session they made a Hapa-Zome print. Hapa-Zome means ‘leaf dye’, and is the Japanese technique of crushing flowers and leaves into fabric. The children found or selected their own leaves or flowers and were shown how to use the hammer safely to crush the plant to produce the dye.

Year 1 spent the week investigating ‘Edible Engineering’.  They constructed 2D and 3D shapes from marshmallows, built marshmallow towers, built walls from fudge to test the suitability of icing sugar vs frosting as a cementing material. They worked together to built the tallest structure they could from 100 cups and were stunned by some interesting EGGsperiments which demonstrated just how strong egg shells are.

Year 2 used Science Week to enhance their topic of ‘Vive la France’. They used their knowledge of equilateral triangles to construct the iconic pyramid at The Louvre, leant fascinating facts about the Eiffel Tower and then built their own from spaghetti, and then followed up with lots of tricky calculations on buildings of different sizes.

Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day we held a non-uniform day with a theme of blue clothes and sea creatures.  The money raised is going towards #Team Seas, an international collaborative fundraiser with the aim of cleaning up the ocean.  So far Team Seas has collected 32,565,988 pounds of rubbish from the ocean, and we look forward to seeing how much we can add to this total.

The Pre-Prep have been creating pieces of art, with Year 2 learning the technique of ‘pointillism’ and learning about endangered sea creatures.  They and are looking forward to sharing their discoveries at a special assembly next week.

More information can be found at:

ISI Inspection rates Hilden Grange as ‘excellent’

Hilden Grange was inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in March, and we are proud to announce that the school has been graded as ‘excellent’, the highest grade possible, in the two areas covered by the report: ‘The Quality of Pupils’ Academic and other Achievements’ and ‘The Quality of Pupil’s Personal Development.’

Malcolm Gough, Headteacher, commented: “I am delighted that the school has been recognised in this way as it is an endorsement of the high quality of education provided at Hilden Grange and the hard work, dedication and commitment of staff, children and parents.  As a community we can be justifiably proud of our school and all those associated with Hilden Grange.”

The inspectors noted that “pupils’ exemplary attitudes are supported by creative and engaging teaching which enables them to become highly effective learners’ and added ‘pupils of all ages are engaged and enthusiastic during lessons; they settle down to studies quickly and work independently and with diligence.” 

The report recognizes the firm foundation that children receive in the Early Years and how this is developed through their time at the school:

“A large majority of the youngest children receive a very high level of development by the time they leave the early years setting. As pupils move up the school they maintain this strong start and make rapid progress with standardized test scores in English and mathematics being well above national age-related norms.”

“High level skills in the core subjects are established in the EYFS and, as pupils progress though the school, they develop a well-developed fund of knowledge.  This is a result of specialist teaching provided in all subjects from Year 3 upwards.”

Opportunities outside of the curriculum were praised, “Pupils flourish beyond the classroom in sports, music and the arts.  Sports teams achieve highly in inter-school matches in rugby, cricket and athletics.  Excellent musicality is promoted through individual instrumental lessons, choirs and music ensembles ranging from Year 1 ocarinas to senior wind band.”

In terms of the pupils’ personal development, the Inspectors wrote that “Pupils show a highly developed sense of moral responsibility supported wholly by the Hilden Grange way of conduct.”  They also commented that, “Pupils show high levels of respect and consideration for each other and form productive relationships.”

We were pleased to note that the impact made by our Language of Learning has been recognized, “Pupils exhibit strong positivity which is nurtured through the six aims of the school’s Language of Learning.  This is an everyday common focus for pupils and staff which is embedded within the culture of the school.”

The school was also found to be fully compliant in respect of all regulations in the Regulatory Compliance element of the inspection

To read the full report, follow this link

Pre-Prep Spring Concert

The Pre-Prep’s Spring Concert was an absolute delight and a lovely opportunity for the children to show what they’ve been learning in their music lessons. The whole of the Pre-Prep, from Nursery to Year 2, started and ended the concert with some very lively singing. The audience also enjoyed solo recitals as well as ensemble performances from the Pre-Prep Choir, the Year 1 Ocarina and Year 2 Boomwhacker groups.

The children clearly relished the chance to perform and it was wonderful to see them all enjoying the event so much.

Hilden Grange Nursery Plus Programme

We are announce the launch of our Hilden Grange Nursery Plus Programme, a unique early learning programme designed by teachers for families with children aged 6 months – 3 years. The Plus Programme, an Alpha Plus initiative, has been developed in collaboration with Alpha Plus Group and is supported by a dedicated team of early years specialists. Seven Alpha Plus Group schools and nurseries are now running their own Plus Programmes.

Our Plus Programme is a fantastic opportunity to lay the foundations for your little learners before they begin at Hilden Grange Nursery. Our structured programme is for both parent and child and provides opportunities to learn from specialists, build relationships and prepare for the first steps in your child’s education. The Summer Term Programme starts on Friday 29th April 2022 at Hilden Grange School.

The programme includes:

  • A weekly 90 minute face to face Learn and Play session at Hilden Grange School (TN10 3BX) for parent/carer and child to attend together
  • A weekly digital pack of learning activities and videos to enjoy at home
  • A weekly virtual Learn and Play session on Zoom
  • An online learning journal for your child and termly teacher reports
  • A parenting programme of expert talks and Q&A sessions

If you would like to find out more about the Summer Term programme, and for details of how to sign up, please visit this page Please note that places will be offered on a first come, firstst served basis and are subject to availability.

The Early Years Outdoor Learning Area

Hands for Ukraine

Last week the HGA launched an appeal for Ukraine, raising money for RefugEASE, a local charity that is working tirelessly on the ground delivering humanitarian aid and support for refugees desperately fleeing from war in Ukraine.

Last week the HGA team gave the steps by the dining hall a good lick of paint and today the children have started to paint handprints in the blue and yellow of the Ukraine flag to create “Hands of Ukraine” as a demonstration of our support.

If you would like to donate, please follow this link

The money we raise will be used to buy emergency items for direct deployment where it is needed most.

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Early Years Open Morning, Friday June 17th

You are warmly invited to join us at our EYFS (Nursery and Reception) and Pre-Prep Open Morning on Friday, 17th June 2022.

Refreshments will be available from 9.30am in the school dining hall. Mr Gough, Headmaster, and Mrs Sowerby, Head of Pre-Prep and Early Years, will be giving a short welcome talk at 9.45am, followed by tours of the school.

Book your place here

We currently have a few Reception places for September 2022.