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Ethos, Aims and Strategy

Tonbridge School aims to provide a caring and enlightened environment in which the talents of each individual flourish. We encourage boys to be creative, tolerant and to strive for academic, sporting and cultural excellence.

Respect for tradition and an openness to innovation are equally valued.

A well-established house system at the heart of the school fosters a strong sense of belonging. Tonbridge seeks to celebrate its distinctive mixture of boarders and day boys; this helps to create a unique broadening and deepening of opportunity.

We want boys to enjoy their time here, but also to be made aware of their social and moral responsibilities. Tonbridgians should enter into the adult world with the knowledge and self-belief to fulfil their own potential and, in many cases, to become leaders in their chosen field. Equally, we hope to foster a life-long empathy for the needs and views of others: in the words of the great novelist and Old Tonbridgian, E.M. Forster: ‘Only Connect’.

Tonbridge School aims to provide an unsurpassed education of excellence and breadth; we focus our efforts and resources on achieving this by:

Continuing to strive for Academic Excellence, with our boys achieving the highest possible academic standards, routinely exceeding initial expectations when they join the school. Tonbridge takes advantage of its independence, innovating in curricular matters as appropriate; the academic programme is designed to support, engage, stretch and challenge all boys (including the most able), equipping them for later life.

Offering Co-Curricular Breadth and Depth, with a vibrant and balanced programme encompassing sport, music, art, drama and many other activities to underpin a culture of creativity, innovation and excellence, but also to provide opportunities for service to others, self-reliance and leadership.

Providing Pastoral Excellence, with the house system at the heart of pastoral care, generating the small group identity that strengthens a sense of security, belonging and well-being, and allowing boys to contribute meaningfully to house as well as school activities. This system also aims to focus on each boy’s progress and ambitions (encouraging all to contribute to the school and house communities) and to foster mutual tolerance and respect through appropriate rewards and sanctions.

Encouraging a heightened sense of Individual and Collective Social Responsibility so that, along with the privileges and advantages of a Tonbridge education, there is also a strong sense of social responsibility across the entire school community, among staff as well as boys, based on self-knowledge, carefully fostered spiritual and moral values, and a grounded, outward-looking awareness of others.

The school aims to recruit, retain and develop the best and most committed teaching and support staff to ensure that it is able to achieve its aims. We ensure that all our staffing, communication, recruitment, admissions, development and financial activities support the school’s aims, and that, through the Tonbridge Society, the wider Tonbridge community (including parents, Old Tonbridgians, Tonbridge School Foundation, the Parents’ Arts Society and the Skinners’ Company) also helps us achieve them as well as feeling the benefits of them. In addition, through our experience, we have adopted a number of operational principles that underpin the achievement of our aims, and these are regularly reviewed to confirm their continued importance.

In summary, Tonbridge School aims to provide an excellent and broad education, to ensure that each boy fulfils his potential and is able to make a significant contribution in his chosen field(s) both at school and in the adult world, where many will become leaders.