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Tonbridge School

Tonbridge School

High Street, Tonbridge, TN9 1JP, Kent

01732 304297



Tonbridge School
School type Boys' Day & Boarding Senior & Sixth Form
Founded 1553
Headmaster Mr James Priory
Date Appointed August 2018
Boys Age Range 13-18 years
Number of pupils 802
Day fees per annum £37,470 per annum
Boarding fees per annum £49,944 per annum
Average Class Size GCSE 18, A level 10
Teacher/Pupil ratio 1:8
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' Schools Guide, published in December 2023, Tonbridge was the 6th highest ranking independent school in the country, and the highest placed boarding school in the country. It is in fifth place in national A-level rankings, based on 2023 results, making it the top performing boys' school. Tonbridge is in second place in the south-east, the highest ranked boys' school in the regional table.

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.

In the US, the School's leavers have gained places in recent times at Princeton, Columbia, Chicago, Duke, New York University Abu Dhabi and the University of Southern California and, worldwide, at universities in Canada, the Netherlands 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 try something new. 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 aims to increase the number of boys on significant financial support to at least 100 by the time of its 475th anniversary in 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.

'Only Connect'

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'.