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Mock Trial Competition - Tonbridge School’s aspiring lawyers made the final of the inaugural Independent Schools Mock Trial Competition 2018.

A team of eleven Tonbridge boys took part in the contest, organised by the Citizenship Foundation and held at London’s Wood Green Crown Court on Saturday 3 February. The boys were narrowly beaten by St Paul’s Girls’ School in the final, described by the Crown Court judges as “at a level equivalent to mooting by post-graduates at the Inns of Court, and at a level of members of the Bar who appear in criminal trials”.

The event gave students from various schools the opportunity to take part in a ‘criminal trial’, working together in teams as crown prosecutors and defence barristers in front of real judges and in a realistic setting. Presented with cases specially prepared by professionals in the legal profession, students had to display skills in teamwork, public speaking and verbal reasoning.

Lindsay McDonald, Oxbridge Coordinator, and Sarah Pinto, Head of Debating, organised the Tonbridge team, with the invaluable help of Steven Gee QC (PH 66-71) and volunteer James Sutherland, a criminal barrister.

Lindsay said:

“The judges praised the boys’ efforts, so they clearly made a good impression. The boys themselves felt the mock trial was an excellent way to learn more about the legal profession and the workings of the justice system, and they had great fun along the way.”


New Headmaster announced - James Priory, Headmaster of The Portsmouth Grammar School, has been appointed as the new Headmaster of Tonbridge School.  He will take up the post in September 2018, following the retirement of current Tonbridge Headmaster Tim Haynes. Mr Priory was appointed Head of English at The Portsmouth Grammar School in 2000 and has served as its Headmaster for almost a decade. He graduated from Oxford University with a First in English Language and Literature and went on to teach English at Bradford Grammar School for six years. Mr Priory has held leading roles within the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) and chairs the Portsmouth Festivities, an annual city-wide arts festival.


Royal unveils new Smythe Library - Tonbridge School’s transformed Smythe Library was officially unveiled by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra on 22nd November 2016, over 50 years after she opened the original building. The library, constructed in 1962, has been extended and refurbished, adding a new mezzanine level, spaces for the Careers and University and Learning Strategies departments, the Chan Café, and new well-equipped teaching areas, as well as more room for the School’s collection of almost 23,000 books.

Following an official welcome from Headmaster Tim Haynes and Chairman of Governors Jonathan Cohen QC, Princess Alexandra unveiled a commemorative plaque outside the building, and was reunited with some of the Old Tonbridgians who met her in 1962, including Peter Canney, (Head Boy 1962), Mike de St Croix (Deputy Head of School 1962), Richard Malins and Colin Heathcote (1962 tour guides). Her Royal Highness also met with staff, governors, architects, representatives from the Skinners’ Company and local dignitaries, as she was shown around the new building by the School’s current Head Boy Oscar Pullen and Deputy Head Boy Finn Kinsler-O'Sullivan. Princess Alexandra was then presented with a posy by six-year-old Lucie van Wensveen and given commemorative programmes of both her 1962 and current visit by Mr Cohen. An honour guard of boys from the Tonbridge Combined Cadet Force served as the School’s farewell to the princess.


Tonbridge boy wins a BAFTA award - Charlie Thurston won the 2016 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition in association with Nominet Trust, for his computer game ‘Apocalypse Alpha’. Charlie won the Game Making Award for a game made using computer software in the 10 to 14 year-old category. As part of his prize, Charlie will spend time at the offices of some leading digital technology companies over the next year.

In a message to all the young finalists, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, President of BAFTA, said

“The games industry continues to be one of the most successful, creative and fastest growing in the country and I am pleased to see so many young people taking advantage of this exciting opportunity – one which could well launch their careers as the next big thing in British games.”