More than 160 First Years spend night in cardboard shelters for Porchlight
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.
In a normal year, 24,000 hours of volunteering time is given by pupils and staff through long-established links with primary, secondary and special schools and community groups.
Boys often say that community projects have been among their most valuable experiences at the school, and we see an increasing number considering careers in the voluntary sector.
Student-led activities saw £113,000 raised for national and international charities last year, including £69,000 for Child Action Lanka, our partner charity supporting street children in Sri Lanka. We helped to equip a new Child Development Centre in Batticaloa, shipping two 40-foot containers of educational resources, to help transform educational provision in the region. Our cancer awareness day has now grown to a town-wide initiative, ‘Turning Tonbridge Pink’.
Hundreds of primary school children are welcomed to our site and are inspired by projects led by our boys, including ‘Science for Schools’, learning support mentoring and many sports. Year 9 students all read one-to-one with 450 local children in a new ‘Book Buddies’ scheme.
For three 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.
Annually, students, staff and parents host a senior citizens’ concert, a Community Day attended by a thousand primary school children, a Christmas Toy Appeal, a three-day public Environmental Festival and science events.
Tonbridge’s strong links with our community meant we were quick to answer the NHS’ call for help as Covid-19 took hold in March 2020. Within days we set up a Primary Care Treatment Centre in our sports centre and car park, working alongside the Tonbridge Primary Care Network.
Our DT Department was among the first UK schools to manufacture protective visors using innovative laser-cutting technology. The team of staff and pupil volunteers rapidly produced more than 3,700 visors, distributed to frontline workers in organisations including hospitals and care homes.
'Community Outreach' nomination: Independent Schools of the Year 2020
Tonbridge has been shortlisted as best school for ‘Community Outreach’ in the Independent Schools of the Year 2020 Awards. This category looks at the various ways in which schools have worked with their local communities over the past year and assesses the impact of activities on the overall student experience.
James Priory, Headmaster, said: “This is a reflection not only of the school’s response to the needs of our local community during the current pandemic, but also of the boys’ superb efforts in supporting our educational and charitable partnerships through fundraising and volunteering, including our extensive programme of weekly mentoring to support the learning of children in local primary schools.”
More than 700 boys and 70 staff joined together in Tonbridge School’s inaugural Colour Run around the school’s sports fields.
The event, part of the Head Boy’s charity day, raised a fantastic £4,500 for Child Action Lanka, the school’s partner charity in Sri Lanka.
More than 130 devices donated to local primary and secondary pupils
Activities include Toy Appeal and donations of Town Team vouchers