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Tonbridge School


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.”


Rosslyn Park National Sevens Vase - The HSBC Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens has evolved into the world's largest school rugby tournament with some 7,000 boys and girls aged 13 - 18 competing annually. The Tonbridge School team defeated a highly rated Bedford side 26-10 with a magnificent display in the final.  The win followed a sensational semi-final performance in which Tonbridge beat a strong Berkhamsted team 38-0.


Drinks Can Satellite - A satellite built by Tonbridge students has been taken into the stratosphere by a high altitude balloon.  The ‘CANSAT’, created by Mihir Melwani, Kian Patel and Walter Tso, won a European Space Agency competition to build a satellite in a drinks can.  The satellite’s balloon ride to the edge of space was part of their winning prize.

Accompanied by teachers Adam Cooke and David Faithfull, the boys travelled to Bicester, Oxfordshire, for the launch, overseen by high altitude balloon expert Chris Hillcox.  The payload, complete with CANSAT and camera, was sent aloft on a 3m helium weather balloon.  The device reached a height of about 30,000m.  Over two hours later, following a chase around the M25, the payload was recovered, fully intact, from the roof of a nursery greenhouse just east of Welwyn Garden City. The camera had taken some spectacular photographs and videos, and the CANSAT transmitted its data to the ground until the balloon was well over a kilometre up – well above the range the team expected.


Tonbridge School Community Concert - Over 200 local senior citizens braved the cold weather to venture out for the Tonbridge School Community Concert, a popular annual event run by the School’s Community Action team.

The guests were collected by a fleet of minibuses and cars, driven by volunteer staff and parents of the School, from local care homes, sheltered accommodation or directly from their houses.  On arrival at the School they were met by 120 boys who volunteer regularly in the community, who sat with the guests and looked after them for the evening.

The concert was expertly compered by Sixth Former Adam Long (SH), as boys entertained with a range of music from across the eras.  The first half was predominantly classical and included the haunting ‘Meditation’ by Massenet, with Curtis Lam (MH) on the violin, some wonderful piano playing from Anson Chung (JH) and Max Chester (SC) and Gus de Tommaso (WH) highlighted the delight of Italian opera arias.  The second half saw the Big Band perform music from the movies, disco classics and some music hall sing-alongs.

The Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Cllr Sasha Luck, drew tickets for the popular interval raffle and even awarded special prizes for guests with the closest birthday and the audience member born furthest from Tonbridge – a gentleman from Chile was deemed the winner!

Tonbridge School’s community co-ordinator Juliet Burnett said:  “A fantastic night was had by everyone and a number of guests expressed that, without the provision of transport, they simply would not have been able to attend.  One lady explained that she hadn’t had a night out in two years and would remember this fantastic concert for a very long time.”


Young Engineers impress BAE Systems - Engineers from leading aerospace firm BAE Systems were so impressed with a control stick for flying helicopters developed by Tonbridge students they may take forward elements of the design commercially.

The boys were taking part in the Engineering Education Scheme, a project where four students work on a real engineering or scientific problem, the solution to which is of interest to a local company. Their brief was to redesign and present a concept model for an ergonomic ‘helicopter collective’.  A helicopter collective is a control stick used to change the angle of attack on the main rotor blades, either collectively or individually.

The students, Oliver Brown (JH), Max Medhurst (WW), Kian Patel (WH) and Sam Siggers (PH), had to consider factors such as cost, human interface and manufacturability. The boys presented the project in the main conference room at BAE Systems’ Rochester base, where the audience included senior engineers and the company’s ‘head of sticks’ for aircraft.

Teacher and Tonbridge’s Head of Electronics David Faithfull said:  “The response from the engineers was extraordinary. They expressed surprise at how much the boys had achieved and how well they had done it.  They said some extremely complimentary things about the boys and their presentation and about their design.  Several of them sat in the chair and tried it out, and all said it was a really good solution to the problem and one they had not met before.”



The Chadwick Building opened - Tonbridge School celebrated the opening of The Chadwick Building, which will become the new home of the Divinity Department. The building has been named after Reverend Professor Owen Chadwick, one of the School’s most distinguished former students, an influential religious historian, a past Master of Selwyn College, and previously Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Chancellor of the University of East Anglia.

Revd. Professor Chadwick has written books on the Reformation, the Church of England and the secularisation of Europe.  He received three blues for rugby and played at international level for the British and Irish Lions and the Barbarians.  He was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1982, and is a member of the Order of Merit – a group of distinguished individuals from the armed forces, science, literature and the arts - a personal gift of the sovereign and limited to 24 living participants.

Revd. Professor Chadwick joined School House in 1929, leaving in 1935.  Now 98, he was unable to attend the event but the building was opened by his daughter, Andre Chadwick.



Gifts to Moldova - 'Love in a Box' the charity of choice for Tonbridge School’s Park House this Christmas.

Building on last year’s successful initiative, the boys collected sufficient gifts to pack 48 decorated shoe boxes. These boxes are destined for the disadvantaged children of Moldova via Eastbourne-based charity, Mustard Seed. Specifically the Park House boxes are for 12 – 15 year old boys as, sadly, the charity has a great deal of difficulty obtaining gift boxes for this age group. Gifts donated by the boys ranged from the normal 'fun things' like toys and games to more essential items such as hats, gloves and scarves to help them through the cold Moldovan winter.