Hadlow College

Hadlow College
Hadlow - colour.jpg
TypeFurther education, higher education
Established1968 (1968)
Tonbridge Road
, , ,
TN11 0AL

51°13′31″N 0°19′44″E / 51.22523°N 0.32888°E / 51.22523; 0.32888Coordinates: 51°13′31″N 0°19′44″E / 51.22523°N 0.32888°E / 51.22523; 0.32888

Hadlow College further and higher education college in Hadlow, Kent with satellite sites in Canterbury and London. The curriculum primarily covers land-based subjects including Forestry & Arboriculture, Agriculture, Conservation and Wildlife Management, Animal Management, Fisheries Management, Equine Studies, Outdoor Pursuits, Floristry, Horticulture, Garden Design, Landscape Management and sustainability. Additionally, intermediate and advanced apprenticeships are offered in Agriculture, Horticulture and Land-based Engineering.

On 17 May 2019 Hadlow College become the first into the country to go into educational administration.[1]

Origins and history[edit]

In 1919, a scheme of Agricultural Education for the County, which included the provision of a Farm Institute, was approved at a meeting of the Kent Education Committee. Borden Grammar School at Sittingbourne agreed to sell their property to this committee as soon as a new grammar school was built, but it was not until 1929 that Borden Grammar was occupied and its building adapted for Farm Institute purposes. Grove End Farm, Tunstall Farm was purchased in July 1919 to be run as the Institute Farm.

After the Second World War, the Kent Education Committee bought the Swanley property together with 60 acres (24 ha) of land. Until 1949 the Horticulture Institute was used as a training centre in horticulture for ex-service personnel under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture. In September 1949, the Education Committee took possession and the Horticulture Institute was developed and run in parallel with the Farm Institute.

In 1958, the two institutes were merged to form the Kent Farm and Horticulture Institute. Although the two departments were 30 miles (48 km) apart, this was the first step in bringing the two together. In the spring of 1960, 600 acres (240 ha) of land was purchased from Bourne Grange Estate, Hadlow, for the establishment of a combined Institute. The Agricultural Department moved from Sittingbourne to the new site in the summer of 1966, and the Horticultural Department in the summer of 1967. The Institute was then renamed Hadlow College of Agriculture and Horticulture. On 22 March 1968, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the college.

Garrad House, the original Bourne Grange Estate house - now the college's main building

In June 2010, the college was graded "outstanding" by Ofsted. It also received an "outstanding" grade for its residential care provision at its most recent Ofsted social care inspection.[2]

Hadlow College Group also runs Ashford College and West Kent College as of 1 August 2014. These were formerly part of K College.


Set on a 630-acre (250 ha) estate, Hadlow College enjoys many facilities. Its equine centre is listed within the London 2012 Training Guide and its animal management building, which opened in spring 2009, is amongst the best in the country.

Additional facilities on the estate include a fully functioning farm with a dairy herd and milking parlour, breeding sheep and arable crops, commercial dog grooming parlour and exotic species, variety of habitats for woodland and countryside management, stock ponds, hatchery, cross country equine courses together with international size arenas, 3.2 acres (13,000 m2) glasshouse complex and a landscape training centre.

Broadview Gardens, the on-site visitor attraction, also plays an important role in College life. These 10 acres (4.0 ha) of landscaped gardens provide an inspiration to the horticulture and garden design students, as well as being a useful area for them to practise their skills. It is also home to Sandell Lake. These gardens are constantly being updated and added to. For example, Hadlow College's garden, Full Frontal, which won Gold at the 2007 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and the VTB Capital Garden – Spirit of Cornwall, designed by former student Stuart Charles Towner, which won Silver Gilt at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, were both re-created within the grounds.

In October 2009, Princess Christian's Farm came underneath the umbrella of the college. Run in partnership with Kent County Council Social Services for the benefit of adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, the overall aim of the partnership is for individuals to learn new skills and develop opportunities to move into employment.

National Centre for Reptile Welfare (NCRW)[edit]

The College is home to the National Centre for Reptile Welfare (NCRW), which opened in 2018, and is the first such centre of its type in the UK, bringing education, charity and the pet industry together. Run with The Pet Charity and developed in partnership with the Reptile & Exotic Pet Trade Association, it provides refuge and care for unwanted and vulnerable reptiles and amphibians, rehoming them through a national network of retailers and wholesalers. The centre also provides undergraduate students with practical husbandry, care and non-invasive behavioural and husbandry research opportunities on a wide range of captive species, as well as access to recognised animal welfare and husbandry experts.

The College's Animal Management Unit

Betteshanger Sustainable Parks[edit]

In 2009 Hadlow College was approached by Dover District Council and Kent County Council to develop the site of the former Betteshanger Colliery. The resultant scheme – Betteshanger Sustainable Parks – is the outcome of four years of partnership working.

Designed to transform the site into a 21st-century global laboratory which brings together business, education and green technologies, it aimed to create over 1,000 jobs for the local area and generate £29m private sector investment. The scheme was to include a national eco-tourism visitor destination to showcase mining heritage and sustainable energy production, as well as a bespoke green technologies enterprise complex and world-class research and development supported through the Betteshanger Sustainable Education Centre.

The scheme was launched on 6 November 2013[3] at the House of Commons with work commencing on site in 2014.

Royal Borough of Greenwich Equestrian Centre[edit]

Formally opened in December 2013 by The Princess Royal,[4] the Royal Borough of Greenwich Equestrian Centre offers full-time further and higher education, as well as part-time courses, in horse care and equine therapy.

Designed to create a lasting legacy for the Royal Borough of Greenwich from the London 2012 Olympic Games, this £5m centre of excellence aims to benefit the residents of the borough by providing access to first class training and educational facilities.

Current courses include: Preparation for British Horse Society Stage 1 Award, Level 3 qualifications in Horse Management, Foundation Degree in Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation and a full BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation. Facilities include: stables for 20 horses, a hydrotherapy pool, water treadmill, spa, indoor arena and outdoor arena as well as a paddocks and a horse-walker.

Hadlow Rural Community School[edit]

In September 2013, a mixed free school was opened on the Hadlow campus. The first school in Kent to offer a farm-based secondary education for students aged 11 to 16, it began with 80 pupils, and has a maximum capacity of 330.[5]

Charlton Athletic Football Academy[edit]

On 28 May 2014, the college announced that they would begin running a post-16 football academy programme, in partnership with Charlton Athletic, from September at their main campus near Tonbridge, Kent. The college's football academy programme was previously run in partnership with Tonbridge Angels and trials are held at various times every year to be able to field a squad to represent the college in regular competitions.[6]

Notable Alumni[edit]

Notable Former Staff[edit]


  1. ^ "College first in country to go into administration". Kent Online. 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  2. ^ "Ofsted Care Standards Inspection 2017" (PDF). Ofsted. 20 December 2017.
  3. ^ "New look for old Betteshanger Colliery site". Kent Messenger. 6 November 2013.
  4. ^ "The Princess Royal opens Greenwich Horticulture and Equestrian Skills Centre". News Shopper. 6 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Hadlow free school welcomes first set of pupils'". Kent and Sussex Courier. 11 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Hadlow College Partners with Charlton Athletic". Hadlow College. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  7. ^ "A day of special celebration". Royal Horticultural Society. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  8. ^ "The Salutation - Meet The Gardeners". The Salutation. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  9. ^ "The Telegraph - Chelsea Flower Show 2016: Best in Show and the medal winners in pictures". The Telegraph. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016.

External links[edit]