Space is made in the regular weekly curriculum for activities and clubs to flourish on a Wednesday afternoon. A set programme of events in the first year introduces new Tonbridgians to the wealth of opportunities that exist in the school. Older boys opt for activities which cater for all tastes.
In their second year boys may choose to join the Royal Navy, Army or RAF sections of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), or an outward bound activity known as 'New Terriers'. If they are Art or Music Award holders they may instead concentrate on Art or Music.
In the Sixth Form many boys continue with the CCF and become leaders and mentors to the younger recruits. Others may show their commitment to service through the strong Tonbridge Community Action group (TCA) or our Conservation unit, which includes beekeeping, looking after the school orchards, hedge laying or rearing the school pigs, among other 'green' initiatives.
Other activities include: Life Drawing, Music, Debating, Formula 1 Design, Upcycling, The Tonbridgian (school magazine), Film Studies, Investors Club, Archives, Model United Nations, Rackets, Tennis, Game Design, Cookery, History of Art, Hoghead Theatre productions, Technical Theatre, Film Production, Bridge, and Chess. Almost all of the activities listed above can be used for a component of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
I feel that the CCF has played a great part in developing me into a more confident and able person.
Our aims are laid out in the Cadet Manual. We train cadets in leadership by promoting self-reliance, a sense of responsibility, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance. Each of the three service sections pursues these aims in its own way, but the common thread of all our CCF training is leadership. We hope that all boys will gain a taste of leadership, and understand how to develop their own powers in this area, even if they only remain in the CCF for a year.
Most Novi (first years) will participate in the summer term taster course which aims to show them what they can expect if they choose to join the CCF. New recruits in the Lower Sixth will learn the basics through a wide variety of activities run by their chosen section. In the Upper Sixth all cadets participate in leadership courses: Army cadets through the Cadet Training Team's "Method of Instruction" course, RN and RAF cadets through a home-grown course run by the Contingent Commander. Cadets begin to exercise leadership in practice by planning and running activities and exercises and by training junior members.
Every boy who completes their time in the CCF should find that they are better able to take charge of people and to take control of situations; that they can think on their feet; plan and organise; that they understand how much more effective individuals can be when organised into a team, and how that team should be led.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is offered to all boys in the third year, and above, as part of their voluntary and leisure time activities, both at school and at home. The school is an independent authority, directly licensed to offer and make awards.
About a quarter of our boys enrol for the Silver Award, and many of these continue towards the Gold Award in the Sixth Form. Others may choose just to pursue Gold when they are in the Sixth Form. Each boy chooses to follow his own programme from the wide range of sports and activities available within the school, locally in the town or further afield for his skill, volunteering and physical activity sections. Expedition training, practices and assessed ventures take place on an annual basis.
More time is required than is available during the activities afternoons, but with suitable use of their leisure and voluntary time in the evenings, weekends and holidays, many boys succeed in achieving their award and at the same time, helping others and developing their own character and team skills. The volunteering section often helps to create and maintain important links between the school and the local community.