The school was founded in Folkestone in 1886 by the Kent WM Schools Association for training girls 'for home and business life, and for further study at university based on broad religious principles'. Among its headmistresses were Christine E. Brunyate (1899-1918), who left to become Principal at Southlands College and Frances Hargreaves, the first headmistress of Hunmanby Hall. A government inspection in 1933 resulted in the school's staying open in the afternoons. It moved to its present site at Pembury in 1939 and was taken over by the Board of Management in 1942. A sustained building programme beginning in the 1950s led to increased numbers and improved academic standards under Grace Tilley (1949-1966) and Margaret James (1966-1983), who had taught at Hunmanby Hall and as a missionary in India. From 1983 to 1990 the school was under a headmaster, Dr. John Barrett. In 2007 there were 548 boarding and day girls from nursery age to 18.