Tenax Schools Trust
Since September 2015 Bennett has been part of The Tenax Schools Trust, which was established to offer schools opportunities for mutual support and partnership. Member schools benefit from practical sharing of leadership, educational expertise, resources and joint professional development.
Overall responsibility for Bennett’s performance, ethos and finances lies with the Tenax Trust Board. It meets regularly to review the progress of all its schools, to ensure that they are receiving the support they need and to set direction for the future. Please follow this link for more information on Tenax’s governance arrangements. https://www.tenaxschoolstrust.co.uk/governance-arrangements/
Bennett Memorial’s Local Governing Body
The Trust Board has appointed a Local Governing Body for Bennett to monitor some aspects of its performance in more detail. This includes strategies to improve teaching and outcomes, progress in closing the gap in performance for disadvantaged students and work to meet statutory requirements for students with Special Educational Needs. The Local Governing Body meets three times a year. In addition, its members carry out regular visits to the school to meet staff and students, and discuss developments in certain key areas.
The Local Governing Body includes members of the local community, as well as elected parent and staff governors.
Bennett Memorial Diocesan School has eleven current governors.
Mr Simon Curtis, Chair (Tenax Appointed Governor – 1.9.19 – 31.8.22)
Mr Jon Sparke, Headteacher (Ex officio)
Mrs Sara Barker (Tenax Appointed Governor – 17.10. 19 – 16.10. 22)
Mr Adrian Dottridge (Tenax Appointed Governor – 16.10. 19 – 15.10. 22)
Mr Christopher Dzikiti (Tenax Appointed Governor – 19.10.20 – 18.10.23)
Rev Canon Bryan Knapp (Tenax Appointed Governor – 11.11.19 – 10.11.22)
Mr James Shaw-Hamilton (Tenax Appointed Governor –1.9.17 – 31.8.20)
Mrs Joanna Langton (Tenax Appointed Governor – 06.12.18 – 05.12.21)
Mr Peter Town (Staff Governor – 19.9.16 – 18.9.19)
Mrs Brenda Holden (Parent Governor – 21.12.18 – 20.12.21)
Mr Ben Turner-Moore (Parent Governor – 21.12.18 – 20.12.21)
All Governors are appointed by Tenax Schools Trust, with the exception of the two parent governors who were elected by parents and the staff governor who was elected by staff.
Our local governing body includes the headteacher, Mr Jon Sparke.
Our Clerk to the Governors is Mrs Hilary Sutton.
The roles and responsibilities of the Local Governing Body are:
• Standards and Safeguarding
• Ethos, Character and Local Traditions
• Working with Parents and the Local Community
Individual governors also take on specific responsibilities as “link governors” for areas of the curriculum and aspects of the school’s life. These are shown in the documents at the bottom of the page.
The Chair of Governors, Mr Simon Curtis, can be contacted in writing via the Clerk to the Governing Body, Mrs Hilary Sutton, either by post using the school postal address, or by email [email protected]
We are glad to have a dedicated board of governors who actively discharge their role through regular visits and careful scrutiny of the school’s work.
What is a Church School? The former Archbishop of Canterbury explains :
“A Christian school is one in which the atmosphere has that kind of openness about it, that sense that people are worth spending time with, that people need time to grow, need loving attention. The Christian Gospel says that every person has a unique task to do, with God, and for God, whether they know it or not. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone involved has to share the same theology or philosophy. It doesn’t mean that everyone knows that they have this relationship with God, and is consciously working at it. But a Christian school is one in which the entire atmosphere is pervaded by a conviction that there is something mysterious, and potentially wonderful, in everybody.”
The key reference points that shape our narrative as a Church of England school are based on the words of Christ: I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness. John 10:10
The Church of England’s Vision for Education. July 2016
“Education in schools… that allows children and young people to flourish in the widest sense.”
The Fruit of the Spirit. A Church of England Discussion Paper on Character Education. October 2015.
Valuing All God’s Children Guidance for Church of England schools on challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. Second Edition Autumn 2017.
The Church of England Education Office’s framework for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS)
At Bennett we believe that each and every one of our students was created by God for a special purpose. We believe that every child has uncapped potential for both achievement and personal development. Our distinctive approach to education seeks to enable every student to fulfil this unique potential, achieving their utmost both academically and in terms of character. In terms of our Christian values we are committed to the belief that Bennett students must be enabled to live their lives in the fullest way possible. The education students have at Bennett should be better and fuller than they would experience anywhere else. We are committed to supporting and challenging our students so that they genuinely flourish. Our approach to education is therefore, both deeply Christian and serves the common good.
Our curriculum is a traditional one with rigorous expectations that all students can succeed in their study of high value subjects, leading to qualifications with real currency.
Woven into this curriculum and around it are experiences in sport, creative arts, drama, debating, music and worship, which both enrich and complement it. We mean for all our students to grow in appreciation, resilience, spirituality, humility, kindness, confidence and, above all, hope.
Our mission is contained in our motto and the three areas in which it applies. This tripartite vision is inspired by the Trinity: that Christian belief that God Himself is a relationship of dynamic love and has made us all for relationship. In His image, humans bear special value but also special resemblance to his threefold nature: they are body, mind and spirit. We therefore seek to develop the whole person, fostering most crucially that tenacity that never gives up, because God never gives up on us:
Excellence, character, service
Semper Tenax: Ever holding fast to what is just, wise and right.
Excellence: we persist in the belief that there is no ceiling to what can be achieved and that the whole community should strive to do their best in their studies and all their endeavours. In being ambitious for ourselves and one another we seek that everyone should flourish.
Character: it is understood that we should always hope. Since all are made in God’s image and valued by him, we seek to develop love for one another and the accompanying virtues that enable this to be effective for our lives and for others.
Service: drawing on compassion, with love, kindness and humility we serve and offer hospitality to all. Jesus’ example inspires and renews us as we do so.
The School Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we give thanks to God for our founders,
Bishop Christopher Chavasse and Lady Elena Bennett, for all who have taught and learned here, for all who needed encouragement and all who have supported them. We commend our School into your hands, we commit ourselves to seek your truth, to live in your way, and to serve your world. May the life and work of this
community be to your praise and glory, through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen
Last reviewed: November 2020
Bennett Memorial Diocesan School was founded on 17th October 1951 by Lady Elena Bennett and Bishop Christopher Chavasse of Rochester. You can see the foundation stone laid by Lady Bennett at the end of the corridor outside the small hall. Lady Bennett’s picture hangs above the school office in the Mansion Building.
Lady Bennett donated the money for the school which was named after her husband, Sir Thomas Bennett, who had recently died. The school’s Royal Charter, which is now in the reception area, was granted, and Lady Bennett herself designed the school’s coat of arms. The badger was chosen by Lady Bennett, because her maiden name was Brooke-Jones (which reminded her of brock, a name for a badger). She also chose the school’s motto, Semper Tenax, because she believed the school would always hold on to the Christian values she had founded it to teach.
The school opened, originally for girls, in January 1953. In 1960 the foundation stone for the chapel was laid by Bishop Chavasse. This is still outside the main hall at the chapel end. In 1967 Lady Bennett died, and her coffin was placed in the chapel for the students to visit. The third headteacher was Ann Scott, after whom the Ann Scott Wing is named. In 1992 the school admitted its first boys. The guilds, or tutor groups, are all named after bishops of Rochester.
Every year at Founders’ Day we hand on the values of Bennett to the next generation and we thank God for the great gift of this school.
Bennett School Prayer
Heavenly Father, we give thanks to God for our founders, Bishop Christopher Chavasse and Lady Elena Bennett, for all who have taught and learned here, for all who needed encouragement and all who have supported them. We commend our School into your hands, we commit ourselves to seek your truth, to live in your way, and to serve your world. May the life and work of this community be to your praise and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Welcome to our website. Bennett is a School with rare qualities. We are a Church of England School, academically highly successful, and we also set great store by the development of character and values.
We expect commitment and high standards both in lessons and beyond lessons, where students benefit from a vast range of wider opportunities, especially in music and sport.
At Bennett, Christian values run through all we do. We are a happy, tolerant, and inclusive school, yet unshakeably clear about our distinctive character and ethos.
On this website we set out to capture something of the spirit of the school in a few words and pictures. There is more information in our prospectus, and you are warmly invited to visit us to form your own impressions.
We hope you will want to find out more about our school.
Mr Jon Sparke, Headteacher