A unique state boarding grammar school for girls and boys in the Kent countryside.

Cranbrook School

Fifth Centenary Celebrations

© Blush Photography

In 2018, Cranbrook School turned 500 years old, marking the anniversary when John Blubery bequeathed his ‘chief mansion’ to provide a ‘frescole house’ for the town’s children.  Five hundred years later and the school is thriving in its original site, providing an outstanding education to 750 boys and girls, day students from our catchment area and boarders from outside and abroad.  Few countries, less institutions and even fewer schools have had the chance to celebrate 500 years of history so the precedent was ours to set.

The Quincentenary was a constant theme throughout the year of 2018.  Many anniversary lectures, formal ceremonies and a series of festival events that were open to students and staff, parents, OC’s and the whole Cranbrook community took place. Continue reading to see the exciting things we did to celebrate!

HRH Royal Visit

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited the School on Tuesday 12th June to formally open the new Sixth Form Centre. Please click here for the full story and photos.

Following on from the visit, Cranbrook School received this letter from Buckingham Palace (click to enlarge image):




Fifth Century Lectures

© Blush Photography

For centuries Cranbrook School has produced leaders and luminaries in our country’s Business, Science, Culture and Public Service communities.  Each month this year we are celebrating our Quincentenial by inviting Old Cranbrookians to talk to students, parents and the wider community about how they are shaping our world and how their experiences at Cranbrook prepared them for success.

These are under way and on Monday 8th January we had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Rob Joyce, OC and Associate Director at the IFS, to Cranbrook School to enlighten us on the topic of “Is our Tax System fair?”.  You can read the full write-up of his visit by clicking here to be directed to our news items.

Lectures held throughout 2018:

  • Wednesday 25 April – Assistant Chief Constable Tony Blaker, OC and Kent Police’s Head of Central Operations gave a talk in the Lecture Theatre. Please click here for the full event write-up.
  • Wednesday 2nd May –  Mike Trueman, OC, gave a talk about Everest and the 1996 Storm. Please click here for the full event write-up.
  • Wednesday 26th September – Sarah Keith-Lucas, OC, BBC Weather Forecaster. Please click here for the event write-up.
  • Tuesday 9th October – Ptolemy Mann, Contemporary Textiles Artist. Please click here for the event write-up.
  • Friday 2nd November – Tim Fenoulhet, Old Cranbrookian, ‘The road from Cranbrook to Brussels: a journey to the heart of Europe.
  • Tuesday 6th November – David O’ Brien, talk to school and community on Remembrance/100th Anniversary of WW1/ Cranbrook’s fallen.

Festival Week

In the last week of June, a marquee in Cornwallis Field hosted major events complementing a unique timetable for all students across the rest of the campus – all infused with a Quincentennial flavour:

Quincentenary Extravaganza – On Saturday 23rd June, the School hosted an Extravaganza on Scott field for students, parents and the local community.

There were food, drink and craft stalls from local companies, providing everything from fresh pastries, ice cream, cider and fruit juice to glass art and bags. The students ran a BBQ and the drama department performed two playlets on the history of Cranbrook School from its founding years back in 1518. ‘Wimbledon Comes to Cranbrook’ was a great success; Hotshotz coached children and adults alike on the tennis courts, and tennis balls were flying all throughout the day. At the end of the field, Cranbrook’s first dog show saw plenty of waggy tails parading in front of the judges, as well as an agility course that saw the owners being more competitive than the dogs!

Huge thanks to Savills, MFU Mutual Ashford and Tenterden, and Produced in Kent for their support in organising and running the event, the students for their continuous professional demeanours and enthusiasm, Hotshotz for giving free tennis couching sessions, and to the School’s Site Team and Estates Team for their help in setting up the site.

It was a very sunny, enjoyable day.

Monday 25th to Friday 29th June – Off-timetable students

Between Monday 25th June and Friday 29th June, Year 7, Year 9 and Year 10 were off timetable to participate in Festival Week and celebrate the schools 500th Anniversary. This exciting end to the academic term allowed pupils to experience a broad range of enrichment activities that were not confined by the normal restrictions placed by teaching the syllabus.

Festival Week provided an opportunity for pupils to engage in team work and thought provoking activities that stretched their learning experiences:

  • Year 7:  outdoor pursuits week
  • Year 9:  Curious Minds project – Living Tudor History
  • Year 10:  Young Enterprise
  • Years 9, 10 & 12:  House Athletics & House Swimming Gala

Year 7 students were assigned different ‘Faculty Areas’ to explore. For example in Geography, students performed a survey of Cranbrook Town and evaluated how similar the shops and retail were in comparison to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. In the Maths department students visited Cranbrook windmill where they tried to estimate its height without any instruments. Sixth Form students, Vincent and Nicholas Ho delivered a lesson on Chinese culture and showed students how to write their own names in Cantonese.Year 7 finished the week with an Ecology field trip to Wakehurst Place. Mr Bromfield and Miss Dalgliesh supervised as the students used quadrats to sample plant biodiversity and identify animal invertebrates with ID keys. Students then attended a lecture and tour around the Seed Millennium Park to gain more awareness on importance of conserving plants.

Year 9 students took part in a series of Maths challenges that were organised by the Happy Puzzle Company. One particular challenge had students balancing polar bears on a wobbly platform without them falling over. In the afternoon, students were then set the United Kingdom Maths Challenge where they had to record and edit a three minute video that illustrated how mathematics is important in nature. There were some brilliant videos I observed that explained how Fibonacci numbers are used in plants structures like cones. The rest of the week involved Year 9 students participating in a variety of workshops led by Sixth Form students. These activities were based around the theme of ‘Curious Minds’ that enabled students to explore and discuss current problems in society. Topics included women’s rights, plastic waste in the oceans, capital punishment, animal cruelty and mental disability. Mr Minter from Amnesty International concluded ‘Curious Minds’ by delivering a moving talk about the refugee crisis in Syria. Year 9 students then used these experiences to prepare and deliver a group presentation on a theme of their interest. Sixth Form judges awarded certificates based on student’s organisation, team work, confidence and clarity of expression.

Monday 25th June – ‘Cranbrook Through the Ages’ lecture

Cranbrook Through the Ages by Peter Allen – An illustrated lecture in the Marquee, showed display boards presenting key documents related to the school’s history, the Queen Elizabeth I charter, a selection of diaries and magazines from previous year and a display of uniforms from across the years. A huge thank you to Peter Allen for taking the time to present this informative and interesting presentation about Cranbrook School’s history.

Wednesday 27th June: Old Cranbrookian’s Afternoon Tea

Please click here for photos from the event.

Friday 29th June: OCA Dinner

The OCA Dinner took place in the Quincentenary Marquee following the Afternoon Tea event on Friday night. The events sold out on tickets and brought many people together in celebration of Cranbrook School’s 500th birthday.


Saturday 30th June: Cranbrook School Parents Association Summer Ball

The CSPA’s Summer Ball was a resounding success with tickets selling out fast. Thank you to all who were involved in organising the event.

Stand Out Events

Outside of the regular monthly lectures and the Festival Week, we facilitated the following stand-out events to crown our anniversary year:

Thursday 22nd March – Founder’s Day Service – The whole school attended a special service in St. Dunstan’s Church, to be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent.  Bishop Trevor Wilmott of Dover and Canterbury Cathedral will also presided. Please click here to view the story and photos.

Wednesday 9th May – The Fifth Centenary Combined Cadet Force (CCF) Biennial Inspection took place with Lt. Col. David Pack (OC) of the Gurkha Rifles presiding. Please click here for the full story and pictures.

Saturday 26th May – The School’s Annual Prizegiving Day took place at St. Dunstan’s Church, with special guest speaker Vice Lord Leftenant Richard Oldfield.

Saturday 10th November – The Lord Mayor’s Show. For the very first time, Cranbrook School students took part in the Lord Mayor’s Show, one of the country’s most prestigious events. Under a blue autumn sky, the crowds were lit up by the sound of the school’s Jazz Band, dancing girls, a blueberry (a jovial representation of the school’s founder, John Blubery), an astronaut representing notable OC Sir Piers Sellers, tudors, big cats representing the school’s affiliation with the big cat sanctuary, biodomes and scientists representing co-founder of the Eden Project and notable OC Sir Tim Smit, and many more. For photos, please click here.


© Blush Photography


If you would like to find out more about our long and illustrious history, you may order a copy of ‘Cranbrook School – The First Five Centuries’ by former Deputy Headmaster, Peter Allen.  To order your copy please call 01580 711800 or drop into Barham Reception. Books are priced at £12.00 per copy. Postage is charged at £2.70 or you can collect in person from Reception. 

Latest Tweets

The marquee for tonight’s CSPA ball bathed in the heavenly light it surely deserves! We are looking forward to an exciting evening celebrating our community. Thank you @SchoolCranbrook Committee and all who have helped

Please come along and join us to celebrate the achievements of our GCSE and A-Level pupils at our Art Exhibition on Thursday 30th June 17.30-20:00. Please book at https://t.co/vQNkV6Do2G. 🎨✍️👩‍🎨👨‍🎨

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