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Schools (updated 15 June 2008)

Primary Schools
Hartley Primary School
Langafel CE Primary School
Our Lady of Hartley School
Steephill School
Fawkham CE Primary School

Secondary Schools
Axton Chase School, Longfield
Dartford Boys' Grammar
Dartford Girls' Grammar
Gravesend Boys' Grammar
Gravesend Girls' Grammar
Leigh City Technology College
Meopham School
St George's CofE Gravesend
Wilmington Boys' Grammar 

Ofsted (reports on local schools)

Hartley Primary School, Round Ash Way
Hartley County Primary School, Round Ash Way

Our Lady of Hartley RC school

Hartley Schoolhouse (right) in about 1910

Nursery Schools
Ofsted has produced reports on the following local schools with taxpayer funded places:

  • Roundash Pre-school, Hartley (87 pupils)
  • Steephill School, Fawkham (about 13 pre-school pupils)
  • Hickory House, Main Road, Longfield (numbers not given)
  • Molly's Pre-school, Main Road, Longfield (71 pupils)
  • New Ash Green Pre-school unit (57 pupils)
  • Greenash Pre-school (27 pupils) 

Primary Schools
According to the Kent County Council School Census (2004/5) there are 371 primary school age children in Hartley attending county schools.  56% attend Hartley Primary School, followed by Our Lady of Hartley RC (16%) and Langafel Church of England (15%), no other school was above 4%.  The leading local independent school is Steephill School, just outside Hartley in Fawkham parish.

Recently Kent County Council have reviewed primary school provision for the Dartford area.  There are 33 Dartford primary schools with capacity for 9,807 but only 8,622 pupils.  They have to justify any school with more than 25% surplus capacity to the Department of Education.  Locally the provision is:


Annual Intake

Net capacity

Total roll

Surplus/ Deficit

% Surplus

Hartley Primary






Our Lady of Hartley RC






Langafel CE






New Ash Green






Fawkham CE






KCC reckon that numbers will continue to fall at Langafel, but recognise that it would cause hardship to close the school and force pupils to travel elsewhere, due to its remoteness.  They therefore propose eliminating the surplus over time by reducing entry each year to 45.

Source: Proposals for the Reduction of Surplus Capacity in Primary Schools in Dartford District (KCC 8 May 2006)

In 2005/6
KCC spent £48,000 on new window frames and doors for Hartley Primary School, and £25,800 on Outside Early Years Areas at Hartley, Our Lady RC and Fawkham CE schools.

Secondary Schools
According to Kent County Council 385 children attended county secondary schools in 2004/5.  The most popular were Axton Chase, Longfield (26%), Gravesend Grammar School for Boys (12%), Dartford Grammar School for Boys (11%), Gravesend Grammar School for Girls (10%), Meopham School (9%), and Dartford Grammar School for Girls (7%).  A further 9% attend the Anglican and RC schools in Gravesend.  

Grammar School attendance is very high at 46% of all pupils from Hartley.

The figures for attendance at secondary schools show graphically the links Hartley has to the north.  Although we are in Sevenoaks Council Area, just 3.7% of secondary children attend schools there.

(NB. Leigh City Technology College is omitted because this is run by the government and not KCC, therefore KCC do not have figures)  

In addition there is the Milestone Special School in Hartley parish.  In 2005/6 KCC planned to spend £20,000 on replacement windows there.

Tertiary Education
According to the 2001 census, 222 people in the Hartley and Hodsoll Street council ward are students, suggesting just over half of pupils go on to university.

History of Education in Hartley
(a) Before 1812

We can get some idea of literacy from the marriage registers, when the couple and witnesses would have to sign the register.  The table below is an analysis of the registers for 1775-1812.  Spouses not of the parish of Hartley are excluded, but all witnesses are listed - some will not be from Hartley but there is no way of telling this.



Percent literate

Male - spouse



Female - spouse



Male - witness



Female - witness



The "spouse" figures are likely to be a better indicator of literacy, because there is some evidence that people known to be literate were chosen as witnesses - Francis Treadwell of Fairby Farm appears many times as a witness for example.
(b) Hartley Primary School

In 1818 there was no school in Hartley, but some children were sent by subscription to a neighbouring school (?Ash, which was founded in 1735). A Sunday School was started in 1829, and the same 1834 Parliamentary enquiry found Longfield had a Sunday School, Fawkham had 2 day schools for 32 and a Sunday School for 20, and Ash had 4 day schools and 2 Sunday schools (C of E and Baptist).

A school roll of 1831 lists 22 children at the school: William Martin, James Martin, Charles Day, William Day, Mary Martin, Eliza Longhurst, John Ware, William Ware, Anne Hayes, Thomas Packman, Charlotte Packman, Jane Longhurst, Richard Day, Mary Day, Hester Ware, Emma Ware, George Outred, Isaac Outred, Thomas Deane, William Mitchell, Henry Day and Henry Packman.  The winner of the annual prize was Thomas Deane who became a carpenter and wheelwright and lived at Bay Lodge, Ash Road. (Hartley Parish Magazine, March 1926).

But local people wanted a proper school, so Fawkham, Hartley and Longfield decided to club together to pay for a school for 70 children in 1841. The owner of Middle Farm (William Smith-Masters of Camer) sold them the land on the green for £2 and the school cost £135 to build. Part of the money came from local people and part from the Church of England National Society for Education, because then it was a church school. It doesn't sound very much money, but remember you could buy a loaf three times the size of today's sliced bread for 4p, and milk cost ½p a pint and the wage of a farm worker was 51 p a week.

Every 10 years a census is taken of everyone living in the country, and you will be recorded in the next one which is this year. From these records we can find out who the teachers were from 1841 to 1891:

1841 James Cox, aged 45
1851 Maria Jones, aged 42
1861 Maria Jones
1871 Fanny and Rebecca Drace, sisters
1881 Mary Nellingham, aged 24
1891 Emily J Hillyear, aged 40
1901 Florence A Cromar, aged 34

In those days most parents would have had to pay for their children to go to school -even for many years after it was made compulsory in 1870. The school was extended in 1876 and rebuilt in 1907.

A lady who went to school here in the 1850s remembered that on Sundays the children walked two by two from the school on the green to Hartley Church. In winter they were given red cloaks to wear as Sunday best, and in summer white calico capes with straw bonnets. There is another excellent description of the school from 1912 to 1917 in "West Kent Within Living Memory" (West Kent Federation of WIs, Maidstone, 1995).

As well as a school there was also a house next door for the teacher to live in.

In the last century two ladies were headmistress for a long time - Miss Fiddis from 1915 to 1944, and Miss Dorothy Barnes from 1944 to 1970.  Writing in the Hart of July 1970, Miss Barnes said when she came it was a "tiny, ill-equipped, only two teacher school" with lessons constantly interrupted by air raid sirens.  When the senior children were transferred in 1946, the numbers fell to 29, but in 1970 there were 427 enrolled with a staff of 11 teachers plus herself.  

When the school was built in 1841 only 199 people lived in Hartley, now many thousands live here. Numbers rose rapidly from the low of 1946, rolls topped 100 for the first time in 1959 (Hart May 1969).  So the old school became too small and a new one built in Round Ash Way (1965).  Infants continued to use the old building, until it was closed forever in December 1968. The old school was knocked down and replaced by the three new houses opposite the green.  Now the school has a capacity of 406.

(c) Other Schools
Our Lady of Hartley RC - founded in 1942 by evacuated sisters from Alderney.  The school was a weatherboarded wooden building in Woodland Avenue, but was replaced by the current school in Stack Lane in 1976.
Steephill School - founded in 1935 by Miss Eileen Bignold and now run by an Educational Trust.

(d) Former Schools
Old Downs - this was a cramming school for sons of the gentry, run by a Mr Stickland until about 1950.  One of the teachers here was to become the 1950s television personality, Gilbert Harding.

There were also schools in the 1930s at Bonsalls, Church Road; Fairby High School, The Stoep, Fairby Lane; and Merton House (now Amberley, Merton Avenue, run by the Mrs Cromar who used to be headmistress of Hartley Primary School)