Benenden is very good, the people are very nice. We’re very happy here, it’s amazing’

Benenden is very good, the people are very nice. We're very happy here, it's amazing'

Four Ukrainian girls have joined Benenden School. A spokesperson for the former alma mater of Princess Anne announced the news last week and said that three of the students have joined as day pupils and are living with local families while the fourth pupil is boarding.

Benenden Headmistress Samantha Price said she was pleased the school had been able to provide full bursaries for these students, who are all aged between 14 and 16.

She added: “Obviously these young women have been through an unimaginable amount of upheaval in recent months so we are pleased that we have been able to provide them with a sense of normality and the chance to continue their education in a safe and welcoming environment.

“The girls are an absolute delight. They have settled in to Benenden really well and are quickly making friends here. They have learnt lots in a short period of time with us but equally we are learning a great deal from them as well.”

Mariia, aged 16 and from Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, is the most recent Ukrainian student to join Benenden, following a protracted visa process. She is boarding full-time in the Sixth Form and said: “Benenden is beautiful and peaceful. People are relaxed and nice.”

She said that it was ‘completely’ different to her old school in Ukraine, while 16-year-old Dasha, who has also joined the Sixth Form from Chernihiv in the north, added: “It’s like a big castle and a very modern school.”

Alisa and Liza have joined the Lower School after arriving in Kent from Kyiv.

Asked to describe Benenden, Alisa, 15, said: “A safe place after this stress. Everyone is happy and always smiling.”

Liza, 14, said: “Benenden is very good, the people are very nice. I’m very happy here, it’s amazing.”

Liza has twice featured on BBC South East Today since arriving in Kent due to her musical talent with the bandura, a Ukrainian plucked string folk instrument which she brought with her when her family left the country.

Liza’s first experience of Benenden was performing her bandura to the whole school. She said of that first concert: “It’s very special for me, very important and I’m very proud and happy I can play here.” She said her passions were theatre and music and that she had hoped to pursue a career in this field. 


Samantha Price, Headmistress of Benenden School, has been named as one of the UK’s best headteachers at the prestigious Tes School Awards.

Mrs Price’s nomination as Headteacher of the Year followed a particularly transformational year at Benenden, in which the school introduced day boarders for the first time, opened a dedicated boarding house for its youngest pupils, and has completed the most ambitious development in its history, a new School Hall and Music School.

In addition, Mrs Price has played a prominent role in the sector as 2021-22 President of the Girls’ Schools Association, during which she has been the figurehead for UK girls’ schools and a leading voice of support for the country’s young people.

Mrs Price said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been a Headteacher of the Year finalist. This accolade is a testament to the incredible efforts of everyone in the wonderful Benenden community. With such dedicated staff members and a truly inspiring student body, it is a joy to lead Benenden School.”

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter