Tonbridge has consolidated its position as one of the country’s leading schools following the publication of the latest Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ Schools Guide.
In tables released on Friday 1 December, Tonbridge is ranked as the sixth best independent school nationally. This position means it is the highest placed boarding school in the country.
The Parent Power Schools Guide 2024 ranks the School in fifth place in the national A-level rankings, based on 2023 results, making it the top performing boys’ school in this table. Tonbridge is ranked joint 13th nationally for its GCSE performance in 2023.
In the south-east rankings, Tonbridge is now in second place overall (a climb of one place from a year ago), and is the highest ranked boys’ school.
The 31st edition of the highly influential Parent Power guide – now available online, and published as a special supplement in the Sunday Times on 3 December – identifies the UK’s highest-achieving schools in both the independent and state sectors.
James Priory, Tonbridge’s Headmaster, said: “We are delighted to once more be placed among the very best schools in the country and to be recognised as the leading boarding school. These results are also an affirmation of Tonbridge as a highly successful boys’ school.
“Last year we were ranked in the top ten nationally, and to further improve our status 12 months later is a reflection of the quality of all we provide here, academically and pastorally.
“It’s very pleasing that our top six position also takes into account the exciting co-curricular programme, our strong community ethos and all the other activities that make up School life.
“However, while our Parent Power position is something for all at Tonbridge to be proud of, I believe that what counts most is the outstanding, all-round education we provide, which extends boys’ learning experiences far beyond the classroom.”
In this year’s A-levels, 43 per cent of all grades awarded to the School’s Upper Sixth were at the highest grade of A*. In total, 80 per cent of all grades awarded were A* or A, while 97 per cent were either A*, A or B.
A record year for GCSEs at Tonbridge saw a total of 48 per cent of grades at 9, the highest possible achievement, and more than three quarters (77 per cent) at 9 and 8 (with both grades the equivalent of A*).
As well as analysing schools’ academic performances, this year’s Parent Power includes, for the first time, details of the wider education on offer, marking out top schools in terms of co-curricular activities, standards of pastoral care and wellbeing, commitment to bursaries and scholarships and even quality of food.
The Sunday Times reports on Tonbridge: “In modern languages, for example, boys have performed French drama, receiving awards, and won a national debating contest in Spanish. Pupils are also involved with the Combined Cadet Force and join clubs covering interests from conservation to rocketry and robotics. Outreach activities include the weekly Community Action programme, in which 120 boys volunteer in other schools.”
On the School’s pastoral excellence, it finds: “The House system generates a sense of ‘small group identity’ that strengthens feelings of security, belonging and wellbeing. Pupils help to deliver pastoral education and are taught a Life Skills programme in the Sixth Form … In the most recent ISI inspection, pastoral provision was praised in high terms.”
Helen Davies, Editor of Parent Power, said: “The educational landscape continues to be challenging across both the state and independent sectors, and this is the first true assessment of post-pandemic exam results. We believe these rankings – and all the additional information on offer in Parent Power – provide parents with a more reliable guide to academic achievement in schools today.”
The Sunday Times Parent Power Schools Guide 2024:
Summary of Tonbridge’s performance
National ranking: 6
National Boarding School ranking: 1
A-level 2023 national ranking: 5
A-level 2023 national ranking (Boys’ schools): 1
GCSE 2023 national ranking: 13=
South-east ranking: 2
South-east ranking (Boys’ schools): 1