In response to an unprecedented demand for quality public school education (at the time, for girls), Christine Sheldon CBE, Anne Hindle MBE and Kathleen Bird began work in the summer of 1923 to form the first School Council, establishing Benenden School on 28th January 1924, with 36 students. Their founding vision was to "create a happy school, with personal integrity and service for others always in mind, and where everyone would be given the chance to follow her own bent, whether it was academic or physical activities, or in the creative arts, or in the practical side such as needlework and the domestic arts." In the Times on December 1923, "The aim of the school was to give a broad general education. The curriculum will be planned to enable the girls to qualify for a career and at the same time to stimulate their interests which will enable them to live a full and useful life at home." The visionary and forward-looking tone of the founding vision set the tone for the school 100 years on.
An early highlight of the school calendar was the famous School Pageant, which gave an overview of the history of the school site (Including recreating the famous visit of Elizabeth I in 1578 when the large main school building was a private home). The ever popular ‘Importance of Being Ernest’, was an early production, all the performances took place outdoors, on the lawn in front of Hemsted House.
Benenden became a Charitable Foundation. The school was evacuated on the advice of the Council. The school moved to the Hotel Bristol, Newquay, Cornwall, with Miss Sheldon and Miss Bird. Miss Hindle stayed at Benenden to look after the estate. She persuaded the Ministry of Health to use Benenden as a Military Hospital and subsequently the site was occupied by the Canadian military.
Enid Blyton’s daughters attended Benenden and provided inspiration for the ‘Malory Towers’ series. Some of the references are still in use today – for example, today Year 8 are still called ‘Upper Fourths’.
Princess Benedikte of Denmark became a pupil.
Princess Anne [Anne, Princess Royal, is the second eldest of the late queen's four children and her only daughter.] and Princess Basma of Jordan became students at Benenden.
75th Anniversary service at St Paul's Cathedral.
Various lunches for Seniors at Benenden School, St James' Palace and Christie's.
Launch at Coutts bank of the Book 'Benenden: A Great Company' by David Souden.
Benenden Mandarin Department was awarded Confucius Classroom status, receiving annual funding, equipment and teacher support (including a member of staff Hanban/CLEC teacher) via the UCL IOE Confucius Institute.
Benenden became the first girls’ school to host the annual conference of The Eight, a group of the UK’s leading independent schools.
A Microlight, built by a group of students as part of an engineering project, took its inaugural flight. Since that time the project has escalated and Benenden School Guangzhou look forward to exhibiting one such self-built plane from school opening in August 2023.
Benenden School UK announces it will open its first overseas schools in South China. With strategic partners, CTF Education Group and New World China, the School is committed to the concept of "A Complete Education" and the vision of "Be Future World Ready". Based in the Greater Bay Area, Benenden School Guangzhou aims to provide excellent bilingual education for both Chinese and expat students.
BBSG is located in Panyu, the transportation hub of the Greater Bay Area. Just a 10-minute drive from Guangzhou South Railway Station, and a short distance from Hong Kong, Shenzhen and other major cities in the Greater Bay Area, the school covers all age grou[s from Kindergarten to high school. Its campus spans over 100,000 square meters.