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News > Community > A Message from James Priory - May 2020

A Message from James Priory - May 2020

The Headmaster updates the Old Tonbridgian Community on the plans for Tonbridge during these unprecedented times.
28 May 2020
Dear Old Tonbridgians, Parents and Friends, 

I do hope you and your families have been able to enjoy time together as the lockdown restrictions begin to ease in the UK and elsewhere.

Three weeks ago, we launched our new timetable as the Novi progressed into their GCSE classes and the Third Year began their A level programme. 
Showing no loss of intellectual appetite, our Upper Sixth have started Pre-University enrichment courses ranging from Ancient Chinese History to Advanced Computer-Aided Design; from Pleistocene Geology to the Philosophy of Aesthetics; and from Behavioural Ecology to Python Coding.  Almost every single Upper Sixth student has signed up, with boys typically choosing between three and four different courses from over forty options.  It has been great to see the creativity of our teaching staff matched by the boys’ enthusiasm and engagement.
Later this term, we will also be running a programme to help prepare the Upper Sixth for life after Tonbridge. We are running a series of webinars where they will hear from recent leavers who are currently at university, just finished or who have taken an alternative route. If you are interested to help with this programme, and left Tonbridge within the past 5 years, please contact our office at You could help provide invaluable information, giving pupils an inside track on university life, taking a gap year and alternative routes you may have taken. 

The boys have been superb in their engagement not only with online classes but also with the many other activities that have taken place over the last five weeks. They have taken part in running the CRAS albeit virtually, to raise funds for the mental health charity, West Kent Mind. The Novi Sleepout took place in people’s back gardens or on their front doorsteps in aid of the Kent-based charity Porchlight which supports those who are homeless.
As you know, we have also been supporting the NHS by accommodating a drive-through Assessment Centre on the site of the Tonbridge School Centre.  Over 120 volunteers from across the school community have supported a brilliant NHS staff team. This important project came to an end just before the half term break as the NHS locally moves into a new phase in its response to the pandemic. We continue to provide face masks for care homes and local primary schools and are also educating the children of key workers here on site in Tonbridge.
At this stage, our main focus is on working towards the full re-opening of the School, with appropriate social distancing and health and safety measures in place, so that we can resume school life, to the fullest extent possible, here in Tonbridge in September. We are continuing to work closely with HMC and also with the Boarding Schools Associations who are in regular dialogue with the UK Government about the re-opening of schools, including those like us with a residential setting. 
Please reach out to us via Tonbridge Connect if we can help you, if you can offer help to others, or if you have a story to share. We will do our utmost to facilitate connections and celebrate good news, to help us all through the days and weeks ahead.

With all good wishes,


James Priory

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