Tonbridge achieves excellent A-level results

Tonbridge School is celebrating another excellent set of A-level results, with 90 per cent of grades being A*, A, B or their Pre-U equivalent.

Nearly two thirds of all results were graded A*/A, and 15 of the school’s Upper Sixth Formers achieved a remarkable ‘clean sweep’ of A* or equivalent grades. The ‘average’ outcome for a Tonbridge leaver this year is AAA. 

The talented Upper Sixth cohort at Tonbridge will now be taking up places at many of the UK’s leading universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, London School of Economics, Edinburgh, Durham, Bath, Bristol, Manchester, York, Warwick, Leeds and Exeter. The large majority of leavers achieved their first-choice destination.

A significant number have also chosen to study abroad, particularly in the US, and will be attending prestigious universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Rice University and the United States Air Force Academy.

The school’s Headmaster, James Priory, said: “I offer my warmest congratulations to our students for working so hard and achieving such outstanding results. We are very proud of the contribution the boys have made to the intellectual, pastoral and co-curricular life of the school during their time here, and look forward now to following their progress at university and beyond.”

Pictured top right, and below: Seven of the Tonbridge School leavers who achieved a ‘clean sweep’ of top grades, celebrating with James Priory, Headmaster, on A-level results day (Thursday 15 August). 

Below, front row, from left: Thomas Andrews, Luke Moore, James Priory, Angus Crawford, Tim Hoving.

Back row, from left: Harry Dix Perkin, Matthew Barker, Magnus Sesodia.  

Upper Sixth success stories

Among those celebrating their A-level results are Seb Ricks, Andrew Ng, Jasper Driessen, Caesar Wongchotsathit, Jack Dalton and Julian O'Riordan. Their stories are below.

Seb Ricks

Linguist Seb is heading to the University of Oxford to study German and Spanish, and is excited at the prospect of starting his degree. “The Modern Languages course is very diverse, not only allowing me to explore German and Spanish literature of interest, but also offering the possibility of learning an additional language,” he says. 

“For me, German and Spanish literature has been a fascinating journey of discovery, during which I have consistently been supported by some truly inspirational teachers at Tonbridge.” 

Seb also has an eye on a career that has an international dimension and will allow him to make full use of his language skills. 

Looking back at his five years at Tonbridge, he says the best aspect has been the tremendous opportunities he’s enjoyed, both in and out of the classroom. “The school brought the best out of me both academically and in terms of sport. Perhaps the best aspect has been the house system, through which I have found a real sense of camaraderie and friendship. 

“Tonbridge encouraged me to push myself academically, while teaching perseverance and resilience when faced with challenging situations.” 

Andrew Ng

Andrew will be following in the footsteps of some famous names from the worlds of maths, science and philosophy when he takes up his place at the University of Cambridge later this year.

Andrew will read Mathematics at Trinity College – which numbers the likes of Sir Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein among its former students. 

He is excited, if slightly daunted by the prospect. A talented mathematician himself, his score in the recent British Maths Olympiad – a national test aimed at the top 1,000 Maths pupils across the country – placed him in the UK’s top 15. Alongside six other Tonbridge boys, Andrew was also awarded a distinction for his Maths Olympiad result.

“Trinity College has a reputation of one of the best places to study Maths, so it is a fantastic opportunity and of course I was delighted to be offered a place,” he said. “It’s even a scary prospect, given the college’s history and prestige, but it’s a challenge I am determined to rise to.” 

A keen member of the school’s Chess Club and Maths Society, Andrew was quick to pay tribute to the part Tonbridge has played in his success. “The school’s Maths Department has given me an enormous amount of help and support from day one. My teachers have always been there when I have needed something explained, or a problem answered, and I owe them a great deal. I will cherish my memories of the teaching I have received here.”

Jasper Driessen 

Jasper has been accepted on to a degree course at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College, London. This relatively new, but extremely interesting and innovative programme is highly competitive, with application rates of ten students vying for each individual place. 

“Imperial’s Design Engineering degree is unique: it looks like a fantastic course that you can’t find anywhere else in the world,” he says. “London, to me, is a very free place for a student to be, and I particularly like the part of the city that Imperial is situated in.”

Looking ahead to his future career, Jasper hopes to work within the field of motorsport. “I also hope to aid the climate in some way, as this is an issue I have always been interested in, and so designing a truly ‘green’ car is definitely one of my ambitions.”

Jasper says that winning the B&O competition for designing speakers is one of his Tonbridge highlights, recalling: “I spent so much time in DT that the department suggested I should get my own key, to let myself in! 

“I have grown substantially as a person over my time at the school. Tonbridge taught me to always follow my passion, and this is what I am now doing.”

Caesar Wongchotsathit

Caesar is heading to New York University, one of the USA’s most prestigious and selective institutions, to study Economics.

His career aspirations are to work in the world of business, possibly on the entertainment side, but for now he is focused on pursuing his degree in one of his favourite cities.

“I love the atmosphere of downtown New York, and the buzz of the big city. It ensures you're never bored and will always have something to do,” he says.

He looks back fondly on his time at Tonbridge. “It has been so good and I've enjoyed the company of friends that have become like brothers. Tonbridge taught me a lot about gaining maturity, self-respect and showing consideration for others. Above all, I learned to be comfortable just being myself.”

Kush Melwani

Kush is heading to the University of Cambridge to read English, and already has some literary ambitions of his own. “I would love to write in some capacity, be that as a novelist, a journalist or a screenwriter,” he says. “Working with language and stories has always been a dream of mine.” 

One of his highlights in his time at Tonbridge was winning the school’s E.M. Forster Prize for Fiction, for a story inspired by his grandmother, entitled ‘Nani’. “The judge that year, the writer Kevin Jackson, wrote that it was the only piece in that year’s competition that inspired him to write the word ‘beautiful’ in his notes,” Kush recalls.

“This played no small part in me really gaining confidence in my writing, and in making my application to (and being accepted in) the prestigious Iowa Young Writers’ Studio the following year.” 

He is looking forward to Cambridge, adding: “I cannot wait to start the next chapter of my life, putting everything I’ve learned here about my academic interests and myself as a person into use.” 

Kush is also quick to pay tribute to his teachers at Tonbridge. “Many have set aside substantial amounts of time to help me through both academic and extracurricular endeavours. I’ll look back on Tonbridge largely as a time of growth and change.” 

Jack Dalton

“Contributing in some way” to helping stop or reverse climate change is one of Jack’s career ambitions.

At university he aims to read Natural Sciences – “the course appeals to me as it has a broad approach to science, rather than specialising in one particular niche area” – and after this he would like to work in scientific research. Jack also has hopes of completing a PhD in Biophysics, possibly in the USA.

With plenty on his agenda, Jack says that one of the most important lessons he learned at Tonbridge was about time management. “This is the key to many things, and I also learned that you can’t get through life and achieve things alone.” 
One of his personal highlights was the CCF summer camping trip to Wales, and Jack lists “the sheer number of opportunities available to us as students” as among the school’s best aspects.  

“Every year I found something new to get involved with,” he says. “For instance, I was part of the school sailing team and represented Tonbridge at the RS Feva World Championships in Germany.

"I was in the junior play, I joined the Big Band, I took part in the RSC analytical chemistry competition and, of course, there was the CCF. Tonbridge has been brilliant, and it was these activities that made my time there so special.”

Julian O'Riordan

Julian can look back on many successes in his time at Tonbridge – national rackets champion, a first team player in cricket, football and hockey, and the first XI cricket captain for a Cowdrey Cup winning side.

He is currently planning to take a gap year, coaching rackets in Chicago, and then aims to study Philosophy at the highly prestigious Trinity College, Dublin. “The university has such a historic campus and is situated in the centre of an incredible city,” he says.

Julian describes his time at Tonbridge as ‘unforgettable’, adding: “I have been fortunate enough to encounter so many boys from different years and to have formed friendships with them in the house, on the sports field and in the classroom.

“I have been encouraged by the level of camaraderie shown, most evidently among sports teams of all levels. Tonbridge also teaches its boys to be gracious in both triumph and defeat, and not to allow minor set-backs to get the better of them.”

While undecided, as yet, on his career path, Julian aspires to one day be a leader in his chosen field. “I’ve had great opportunities to lead in different ways at Tonbridge, whether it be captaining sports teams or setting an example as a School Prae. I must thank Tonbridge for giving me the best five years one could hope for in preparing me for the future.”