Beauty and the Beast sets new EM Forster Theatre box office record as audiences show their generosity
Community outreach and engagement is central to a Tonbridge education. We aim to ensure that boys are connected in a meaningful way to the world, developing a strong sense of belonging to, and serving, their local and wider communities, and becoming well-rounded, outward-looking and compassionate young men.
Nurturing an idea of service and care for both the people around them and the world in which the boys live is a fundamental element of education at Tonbridge.
We have strong partnerships with ten local primary schools as well as secondary schools, special schools and charitable organisations and work with them throughout the school year, both by sharing our facilities here or our boys working off-sight and learning through working with others.
Our Tonbridge Community Action programme sees over 120 boys volunteering each week, helping with primary school classroom mentoring and after-school clubs in languages, art and sport. Boys also support local special schools, assisting autistic children with swimming and football, as well as other projects including supporting senior citizens or asylum seekers.
For over five years we have run a scheme for Kent County Council’s Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, who play football with Tonbridge boys, sharing conversational English and learning about respective cultures.
Working with RefugEase, boys have learned about the refugee crisis, collected and sorted aid and staged fundraisers.
Our Year 9 boys run a ‘book buddies’ scheme, working with pupils to develop a love of reading. Our Learning Strategies Department trains mentors who support children with SEND issues on a one-to-one basis on site at Tonbridge School. Our popular Science for Schools programme offers inspirational, hands-on experiments for children in our Science Centre and with visits out to schools.
The highlight of the Primary Schools partnerships is our annual Community Giving Day, when Tonbridge’s campus is filled with 1,000 visiting children enjoying over 28 different sport, artistic and academic activities, from rocketry to dance, maggot racing to performance poetry. Our Novi (Year 9s) are responsible for hosting the children, ensuring that they got to their activities on time and encouraging them to really have a go at all they were offered. The activities themselves are run by the Lower VI, and all boys really rise to the challenges of these roles resulting in a fantastic day which this year culminated with a Colour Run for all our guests.
As part of Community Giving Day boys also visit primary schools to complete projects on their sites. This year included creating gardens, ponds and raised beds, running sports festivals and helping to create costumes and sets for a school productions. Throughout the day, over 20 tonnes of wood chip, soil or compost were moved, hundreds of flowering plants and vegetables were planted, over 30 bird boxes were put up and 3 ponds were planted with native British pond plants.
In 2022 we were fortunate to be loaned a Scanning Electron Microscope from the Natural History Museum, which was used to run interactive online workshops, assisting 1,200 students in the UK to carry out advanced, independent research.
Partner schools can use our facilities for free, or for reduced rates, throughout the year and we host many school theatre performances, sports days and swimming lessons. Free and reduced price tickets are offered for many arts events over the year.
Our partnership with the Marsh Academy sees us sharing facilities for academic sessions, as well as sports coaching and the annual ‘Marshterchef’ cookery competition.
We partner with Senior Citizens groups for regular weekly visits, and stage an annual Community Concert for 150 local seniors.
The School community supports a range of charity partners throughout the year. Annually the whole School raises over £130,000 for local and international charities. with events such as Pink Day supporting Breast Cancer Kent as well as one-off campaigns and sponsored events.
A 10-year link with Porchlight has raised over £100,000, making us its largest individual donor. Each year First Years sleep ‘rough’ in the Quad, raising funds for the charity and engaging the boys in the causes of homelessness.
Our Shop and Share initiative, run with Sustain foodbank and Feast, includes monthly collections, cookery courses, a Christmas fresh fruit and veg market and an Easter lunch. We have also run a Christmas Toy Appeal since 2012 supporting over 500 children locally.
Most recently we held our first Ukrainian Welcome Evening in May, with 200 guests including host families, their guests and local services, and are continuing to hold weekly social evenings as well offering Sports centre use and discounted Holiday club place with Recre8.
Since 2016 we have partnered with Child Action Lanka who support the poorest and most vulnerable across Sri Lanka and, while trips have been impossible, we have maintained links via remote learning and ongoing fundraising such as the inaugural Colour Run which is a part of the Head Boy's charity day. More than 700 boys and 70 staff joined together in Tonbridge School’s inaugural event, running around the school’s sports fields, and raised a fantastic £4,500 for Child Action Lanka, the School’s partner charity in Sri Lanka.
‘Community’ is a watchword at Tonbridge, and community giving is massive and meaningful.
This year's inaugural Giving Day was massive, with every single pupil and teacher involved in a wealth of community initiatives both on and off-site.
Upper Sixth students support national drive to raise awareness of physical and mental wellbeing
School fundraising day highlights issues concerning all cancers and shows support for families affected