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Tonbridge School

What says..

Long tradition of sporting excellence, but ethos of participation by all. Everyone has the chance to play in a team – sport is for life here, and for all to enjoy. Houses lie at the centre of pastoral care and close friendships are formed – ‘You don’t join as one of 800, you join as one of 12.’ ‘Superb’ matrons are ‘really on it with the boys’, parents say. School describes the typical Tonbridge parent as ‘understated and low-key’; parents themselves say that they are…

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What the school says...

Tonbridge is one of the leading boys’ boarding and day schools in the UK and is highly respected, both here and internationally, for providing a world-class education. It occupies an extensive site of 150 acres in Kent – just a 40-minute train journey from London Charing Cross. There are some 800 boys in seven Boarding Houses and five Day Houses. One of the key strengths of Tonbridge is that it blends tradition and innovation successfully, with high achieving boys wearing their gifts lightly.

The School is renowned for its excellent teaching and for academic achievement. Each year exam results at GCSE and A-level are outstanding, with boys progressing to leading universities including Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group institutions: the large majority securing their first-choice destination. Tonbridge leavers have also recently gained places (and scholarships) at top US institutions including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dartmouth, Northeastern and UC Berkeley and, worldwide, at universities in Austria, Australia, Canada, China and Hong Kong.

In the latest Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ league table, published in December 2022, Tonbridge was the 8th highest ranking independent school in the country, and the top boys boarding school.

Pastoral care is based around an outstanding House system. Strong and positive relationships between boys, staff and parents are central to its success, and the School strives to ensure that each pupil, whether a boarder or a day boy, feels fully at home and well supported. Tonbridge was the first school in the UK to put mindfulness on the curriculum for all Year 10 pupils. There is also a vibrant programme of Co-Curricular breadth and depth, with a wide range of societies covering everything from Beekeeping to Ultimate Frisbee. The School has a strong commitment to widening access and is striving towards doubling the number of boys who receive means-tested fee assistance to be 80 to 100 boys by 2028.

Tonbridge encourages its students to make connections – connections between academic subjects, between different sports and activities, between people, between cultures: with the aim of producing fine minds and good hearts. The School’s ethos is summed up in just two words: ‘Only Connect’.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2018, James Priory, previously head of Portsmouth Grammar School. Read English at Oxford before his first teaching post at Bradford Grammar School, moving on to PGS in 2000 as head of English, from where he climbed the ranks. Governor at various local prep schools. Three children. A very nice, unassuming, amusing man who puts one at ease. Talks with such passion and warmth about the poetry of Edward Thomas that we are inspired to read some of it for ourselves. We weren’t surprised to hear that he gives a cracking school assembly.

Parents told us that he’s ‘very approachable and not at all self-important’ ‘there for every event and always comes to say hello’. Spends Saturdays cycling round the pitches so that he can see a few minutes of every...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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Special Education Needs

Tonbridge School’s SEN: The Learning Support Department deals with relatively mild areas of learning difficulty and liaises with all the school staff, working directly with boys showing the greatest need. Younger boys are withdrawn from subject lessons for a maximum of one period a week; they are taught by teachers qualified to address specific learning difficulties. For sixth formers, help is available on a “drop in” basis. There is no extra cost for this tuition, nor for the extra teaching given to boys for whom English is an additional language. Parents of boys with problems, who are considering sending their sons to Tonbridge, are encouraged to contact the Learning Support Department to discuss the type of support available. The Department Head also makes regular visits to feeder prep schools, to meet boys and help ease the transition process.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Genetic Y
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health Y
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment Y
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability Y
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
VI - Visual Impairment Y

Who came from where

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