School History

Beechwood is a Catholic School, founded in 1915 by the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

The society was founded by Madeleine Sophie Barat in 1800 whose insights and vision have inspired the goals of Sacred Heart education. Beechwood shares these goals with other Sacred Heart Schools in the UK and internationally.

The Goals of Sacred Heart Education

Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to:

  • Goal I:  a personal and active faith in God
  • Goal II: a deep respect for intellectual values
  • Goal III: a social awareness which impels to action
  • Goal IV: the building of community as a Christian value
  • Goal V: personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom

We benefit from close links with the local parish of St Augustine’s. All the major feasts in the Christian calendar are marked by sharing in the celebration of Mass in the School’s Chapel, and each Year group has an opportunity to prepare and participate in a Liturgy of its own during each academic year.

We are proud of the tradition set by the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart – a tradition which can be summed up beautifully in our school prayer:

Let us pray that our school may be

Where Christ is at the heart of the community

Where every member of the community is valued

Where every pupil is known and loved

Where compassion, forbearance and forgiveness are practised

Where co-operation and consideration are preferred to competition

Where success is shared

Where there is prayer

Where the presence of Christ is celebrated


Beechwood History

Calm Amidst the Waves, written by local author and journalist, Jane Bakowski, traces the story of Beechwood Sacred Heart School from its opening in 1915.

The Centenary Edition of the School History was launched at the Former Pupils Centenary Day. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the latest edition, please contact the Head of Marketing Department at for further details.

The school, originally a convent run by nuns from the Sacred Heart order, has been an independent lay school since 1973. ‘I set out to tell the story through the words of those who lived and worked there through the 20th century,’ said Jane. She added: ‘However I also wanted to tap into the rich strand of social history which an institution like Beechwood represents, from early pupils’ descriptions of  ‘hailstones the size of walnuts’ smashing hundreds of windows during the great Tunbridge Wells storm of 1922 to later reports of girls sneaking out to try and phone The Beatles at a Paris hotel.’

Libby Purves, a pupil during the 1960s, describes Beechwood as,

‘A homely, kind, sensible institution where the only real deprivation was not being allowed records by the Rolling Stones because the lyrics were thought rather rude.’

Libby PurvesFormer Pupil, 1960’s


Aims and Ethos
Sacred Heart Network