Source: St Lawrence College
Promoted by St Lawrence College

St Lawrence College: What it means to study at the most nurturing co-educational independent school in Kent

There’s a vast difference between studying at a school that conveys information and learning and learning at a school that genuinely cares — just ask one of the 635 pupils currently enjoying a first-class education at St Lawrence College. Since 1879, this institution has been dedicated to delivering high-quality teaching and strong pastoral care.

This very combination has mentally, physically and spiritually empowered graduates to take their next academic step with confidence — and not just anywhere. Countless St Lawrence alumni happily represent their school at esteemed universities like the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, the University of Bath, King’s College London and University College London.

Outcomes like these made deciding to teaching at the college an easy choice for Head of College Barney Durrant, who has three children at the school.  One of the major key factors he considered was whether his children would thrive in the school and fundamentally whether they would be happy.

“This may seem like an interesting thing for a head to say, but it does not mean that I don’t value academia and nor does it mean that I am not expecting rigour within a school. Ultimately though, my children will thrive in a school when they are happy – but this does not happen by chance,” he says.

“For schools to genuinely develop positive wellbeing amongst their children, there needs to be a clearly thought-out programme of social and emotional learning, and it must run throughout the school.”

True enough, a strong sense of community, care and community permeates every corner of the safe, spacious campus 185 boarders currently call home. Boarding is one of St Lawrence’s greatest strengths, unique for fostering independence while maintaining a warm, familial atmosphere. This is why, despite students arriving annually from various parts of the world, cases of homesickness are rare — and if any, they are easily remedied.

24/7 supervision ensures their safety while guaranteeing no one goes to bed with a worry in mind. The school’s dedicated teams of Housemasters and Housemistresses believe each learner’s wellbeing plays a crucial role in keeping them engaged and successful as pupils.

Source: St Lawrence College

Source: St Lawrence College

New students are allocated a buddy who will not only serve as a first friend, but as a mentor too. All faculty members are trained to recognise and address signs of mental distress. The college also provides confidential counselling services for students who require professional help when facing mental health challenges.

This level of support does wonders in encouraging students to fully immerse themselves in the signature St Lawrence experience. Here, all offerings revolve around High Performance Learning; an understanding that intelligence is not fixed and that high performance in education is achievable by all.

As one of the first schools in the world to be granted the status of a World-Class High Performance Learning School, the college leverages an established teaching and learning framework to evolve students into individuals with the values, attitudes and attributes needed to navigate the challenges of adulthood. Classes are small, various globally-recognised curricula are offered and subject combinations are refreshed each year based on pupils’ preference.

Source: St Lawrence College

Source: St Lawrence College

How they choose to excel beyond classrooms is entirely up to them, too. To create well-rounded individuals, St Lawrence offers a range of extracurricular activities, such as sports, arts, and mindfulness programmes.

“Not only do these develop the essential soft skills vital in life, but they similarly have a direct correlation with academic achievement — with pupils engaging in self-development activities (including sport and physical activity) achieving 10-20% higher GCSEs,” explains Mr. Durrant.

These activities were not just set in place to help students advance their interests or discover new passions; they aim to boost relaxation, self-expression and personal growth while promoting the development of coping mechanisms and stress-management skills.

After all, a study by the Department for Education did demonstrate the effectiveness of such approaches. It found that pupils with positive emotional wellbeing in Year 2, had gained more than one additional term’s progress by the end of Year 6, when compared to those with neutral or negative wellbeing.

With all of this in mind, it’s easy to understand why St Lawrence College was recently shortlisted for Independent Schools of the Year in the Student Wellbeing category; or why it won the ‘Most Nurturing Co-educational Independent School in Kent’ award just last month.

Follow St Lawrence College on Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube.Follow St Lawrence College on Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube.