Kat Portman-Smith, Tonbridge School’s Director of Community Engagement, takes a look at some of the initiatives and partnerships that form part of their students’ all-round education

At Tonbridge we ensure our students are connected to the wider world: an important part of the education we provide is for boys to develop a strong sense of belonging to, and serving, their communities.

Our aim is that boys leave us as well-rounded individuals who are grounded, socially aware and compassionate, and who will make a positive contribution in many walks of life. Our many partnerships with schools and community groups are key to this. We have strong partnerships with ten local primary schools as well as secondary schools, SEN schools and charitable organisations.

A long-standing partnership is with The Marsh Academy. We share facilities for academic sessions, as well as combining for study and revision days, sports coaching and the annual ‘Marshterchef’ cookery competition. We also help advise with Marsh’s Oxbridge applications – this year its first place at Cambridge, for a student to read Classics, was confirmed.

Our Tonbridge Community Action programme sees more than 120 boys volunteering each week, assisting with primary school mentoring and after-school clubs covering languages, art and sport. Boys also help out at SEN schools, supporting autistic children with swimming and football.

For more than five years we have run a scheme for KCC’s Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, who play football and cricket with Tonbridge boys, sharing conversational English and learning about respective cultures. Working with the charity RefugEase, boys have sorted donated goods and staged fundraisers, while learning more about the global refugee crisis.

The highlight of the primary schools partnerships is our annual Giving Day, when hundreds of visiting children enjoying a huge variety of different sporting, artistic and academic activities here. Meanwhile our Second and Third Years spend the day at primary schools – this year creating gardens, running sports festivals and helping to create costumes and sets for school productions. Others headed to Haysden Country Park to tackle bank erosion.

Our Science for Schools programme sees local children visiting our laboratories over a three-week period: our students organise and supervise hands-on, fun activities, presenting pupils with new, exciting ways of learning. These sessions also help our boys to gain leadership skills.

You can find out more in the Community section of our website. tonbridge-school.co.uk

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