National Financial Journalist Competition - Students at Skinners' Kent Academy entered a competition run by the London Institute of Banking and Finance. The task was to write an article in less than 1,000 words - ‘How will financial education help me to meet the financial challenges I will face throughout my life’. Shortlisted entries were judged by BBC Business Presenter Steph McGovern who had to choose one winner from each of the age groups and one for the most original idea. Rosalind Carvell, Year 11 student and Head Girl at The Skinners’ Kent Academy was the winner with the most original idea, and was presented with a certificate and £50 prize by the Managing Director of Financial Capability, Alison Pask. Rosalind is aiming for an A* grade in her GCSE Personal Finance and intends to complete the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme in the Sixth Form at the Academy. Ultimately she aims to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at university and with early achievements such as winning the National Financial Journalist Competition, she is well on her way to a successful career.
Marsh Academy takes on Duke of Edinburgh Award - Marsh Academy students began the Expedition section of their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award with a training weekend involving a day of practical skills, a night of camping followed by a day of hiking in the Kent countryside. Students learnt about locations, safe distances and the best ways to put up a tent in inclement weather - for some this was their first time camping outdoors! Next followed sessions taught by DofE Leaders demonstrating how to map read and navigate, cook outside on trangias, what to eat during hiking, first aid and route planning. After the evening meal they spent time with other students from Shepway schools participating in the training weekend. The following morning students split into their DofE groups and started a 10km hike which put to use the skills they had learnt the day before. They took it in turns to read the map, use a compass to navigate and make sure the countryside code was being followed. During spot tests they were reminded of how to cope in various first aid situations. Both teams had a great weekend in the sun and were exhausted by the end of it, deciding that next time they would need more food!
Skinners’ School Junior Chess Triumph - The Skinners’ School Junior Chess Team, having only recently taken up competitive chess, was thrilled to perform so strongly in the ECF Schools Junior Team challenge finals, held at Hertford College, Oxford. They won their regional heat and joined 12 other schools in the final - 7 state and 6 independent schools. Ben Barton (Team Captain), Efe Shimwell, Giovanni Currah, Lorcan Pritchard and Karam Al-Robaie came third overall, behind KCS Wimbledon and St Paul's School. One of the remarkable features of this team is that Efe Shimwell is effectively blind but plays through touch with astonishing pace and accuracy. The team were treated to a tour of Hertford College and the Sheldonian by recent Skinners' School leaver Fred von Kaufmann, who is reading English at Hertford.
Leading Role at ASCL Conference - The Executive Principal of The Skinners’ Kent Academy, Sian Carr, was President of ASCL this year. Students from all Skinners’ secondary schools took part in the Annual Conference in Birmingham. Sam Wheeler and Emily Raj, Sixth Formers at The Skinners’ Kent Academy, co-hosted the conference introducing speakers such as The Right Honourable Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief inspector of Schools and Baroness Sue Campbell CBE, Chair of the Youth Sport Trust. Sam and Emily also hosted a panel interview session with Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
Mark Forkgen, Director of Music at Tonbridge School, coordinated groups from all Skinners’ secondary schools who performed in different venues around the conference during the day, before coming together in a combined performance on the main stage in front of all delegates. "Tin Pan Alley" was composed by James Maxim from The Marsh Academy, written for a new musical to be performed at the Academy. The piece was arranged for this collaborative performance by Hywel Davies, Composer in Residence at Tonbridge School.
New Sports Fields and 3G Rugby Pitch - The Judd School opened their new sports fields at Vizards, a 26 acre site adjacent to Haysden Country Park, less than half a mile away from Judd. The 3G rugby pitch will also be used by Tonbridge Juddians on weekday evenings and Sundays during the rugby season, as well as by other community sports groups. The playing fields have been purchased and developed through the kind generosity of parents, Old Juddians and friends, who support the school’s Development Fund, as well as Kent County Council. Judd have vacated their former playing fields at Yeomans to facilitate the relocation of Ridge View School into purpose-built accommodation ready for September 2017.
Headmaster, Robert Masters, thanked everyone who had given invaluable input into the long process of purchasing and converting the former farmland, saying that “The Judd School has always had a strong reputation in the sports arena and I am delighted that our students now have such a fantastic facility in which to train and play. I am also pleased that we have been able to help Ridge View School find a new site, as they had been looking for suitable land for some time”.
Opening The Ashton Building at Judd - One present and two former Chairmen of Governors presided over the opening of the new Ashton Building at The Judd School. The Master and present Chairman of Governors, James Leahy, welcomed Hubert Ashton under whose chairmanship much of the fundraising and development work had taken place. The Ashton Building houses a new dining hall and biology department above. Hubert Ashton's predecessor as chairman, Professor Colin Seymour-Ure, was also present standing next to Beadle Mervyn Bassett. The retiring Headmaster, Robert Masters and Annabelle Baird (ex-Judd Governor and Master elect) complete the line up in the photograph.
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.
Destinations on course for Sixth Form - The Skinners’ Academy Sixth Form opened in 2015 and now has over fifty students in each of Years 12 and 13. Sixth formers have superb facilities and a choice of around 20 A Level courses and a couple of vocational BTec courses.
Con and Esin, two current sixth formers who have played an active role in the life of Skinners' Academy and achieved excellent GCSE results, applied to university and write of their experiences.
"I knew it would be tough when applying for a degree in Mechanical Engineering - not due to the entry requirements but because of the fact that the ratio of males to females on Engineering courses is 85:15. I am pleased to say that I have received several conditional offers from top Universities in this field including Bath, Loughborough, Sheffield and Sussex. I am excited at the prospect of taking part in a five-year master’s programme with a built in industrial placement year, so I will make sure that I work hard in the run up to my A-Level exams so I can make my dream a reality." Connacht Sheffield
"After two very tough interviews and just as I was preparing myself to have my University application rejected I received a conditional offer to read History at Oxford University. I am incredibly grateful to the sixth form team at Skinners’ Academy who have offered me unlimited support as well as Professor Mark Wickham-Jones from the University of Bristol and the Education Office at Skinners’ Company, who both helped me prepare for the interviews. It would be an honour to represent Skinners’ Academy and Hackney at such a respected institution. So, from now until July I just have to make sure I get the grades to go there." Esin Akdogan
Lanzarote Cross Country - Judd School senior cross country runners departed for Lanzarote on 16 December for a week of running and multisport. The team ran over 50 miles during the week, and played badminton, squash, table tennis, football, tennis, crazy golf and pool tournaments. The Judd boys represented the school superbly and trained in the sun alongside the Czech Republic decathlon squad and the German U23 athletics and speed skating squads. The Judd boys put their training to good use with a strong performance in January’s Senior Knole Run, coming second behind favourites Shrewsbury School and ahead of St Albans and Harrow.
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.