May 23, 2012
Sutton Valence Prep School, Chart Sutton, Kent
Venturing out of London first thing Monday morning we learned all about traffic. We had hired a car the day before and thankfully decided that we should get up around 5am and aim to leave from Maida Vale by 6.30am at the latest. We were on our way to Sutton Valence Prep School just outside of Maidstone in Kent. Apparently a 90 minute drive. Things were going well – including my navigation, until we arrived at the Blackwell Tunnel where the traffic ground to a halt and we were informed that there was a breakdown waiting to be cleared. We sat for about 20 minutes and I was hoping the whole time that we wouldn’t be late. I hate being late and we were due at the school at 9.00am. Fortunately the road cleared and we were on our way. London traffic makes Sydney look tame I have to say.
We found the senior campus and asked a young lad there if he could direct us to the Junior School – which he did. Unfortunately it was the primary school across the road that was completely unrelated. I assume the lad had started in secondary school and possibly knew nothing of Sutton Valence Prep, which we finally located down a long windy lane in the prettiest of rural settings. We arrived dead on 9.00am – so not late but not early as I always prefer.
I talked to the Year 3 and 4 students first and then to the Year 5 and 6’s. Attentive, smart and great fun, I have to say that the children and staff seemed a very happy and contented bunch.
The school is well resourced with a gym, various specialist teaching spaces including for Science, Music and Languages and there is a small but perfectly formed library. The grounds are quintessentially everything I imagined an English prep school to be – with an adventure playground and fields – and the most tremendous view over lush rolling pastures.