High Street, Tonbridge, TN9 1JP, Kent
Boys' Day & Boarding Senior & Sixth Form
|Headmaster||Mr James Priory|
|Date Appointed||August 2018|
|Boys Age Range||13-18 years|
|Number of pupils||795|
|Day fees per annum||£35,067 per annum|
|Boarding fees per annum||£46,740 per annum|
|Average Class Size||GCSE 18, A level 10|
|Associations||HMC, AGBIS, BSA, ISC|
Tonbridge School was founded in 1553. It occupies an extensive site of 150 acres in North Tonbridge, Kent - just a 40-minute train ride 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.
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.
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.
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.
More than 20 sports are on offer, and boys of all abilities are encouraged to take part and to enjoy themselves. Tonbridge manages to do 'sporting excellence' and 'mass participation' equally well.
Plays, musicals and drama workshops take place in the School's own EM Forster Theatre. Music also plays an important part in Tonbridge life: nearly half of boys learn an instrument, and about a third learn more than one. There are regular performances and concerts across all genres.
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.
Boys at Tonbridge develop a strong sense of belonging to, and serving, both local and wider communities. More than 24,000 hours of volunteering time are given by pupils and staff in a typical year. The annual 'Sleepout' by First Years, for example, supports Porchlight, the homelessness charity. Child Action Lanka is Tonbridge's overseas partner charity: following fundraising activities, the School has been able to provide a new computer suite in the Child Action Lanka base in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.
The question for any family considering a school like ours should be, 'What makes any one school different from another?' The easy answer is the readily visible - the manicured cricket square, the pristine swimming pool, the timeless chapel, the world-class Barton Science Centre.
But what really makes the difference between one school and another is the people. The pupils of all kinds, the staff of all kinds, the parents of all kinds.
For sure, at Tonbridge we have some of the finest, most beautiful facilities and grounds in the country, and yet it is our people who make us stand out. Our latest Good Schools Guide report states: "Tonbridge is a brilliant school that somehow remains totally unsnobby. Boys make the most of world-class opportunities to learn and have fun, but that is not the best bit - Tonbridge's modern, proactive approach to social responsibility and bursary funding ensures that they stay firmly grounded whilst doing so."
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'.