Dear Parents and Carers
It has been lovely to see so many of you at the recent curriculum evenings for each year group. Once again, thank you for giving up your time to attend; we hope you found them helpful! We look forward to seeing our Year 8 and 9 parents after half-term.
As always, we return from the summer break with an absolute bang. It was gratifying to see such a pleasing set of examination results with some standout individual performances. All of the Year 13 students who wished to go to university have done so. This is particularly pertinent for a year group that had not had the opportunity to sit formal exams until this point.
Year 7 have settled really well and are now fully immersed in the rhythm of school life. The mounds of lost property are retreating but now is a timely reminder for all families to please check and rename/label PE kit and uniform as required.
The autumn term is busy with open mornings and our annual open evening for prospective students. We estimate around 3,500 individuals have been to look around the sites since the end of June. We would like to thank our Year 8, 12 and 13 students, who have done an incredible job showing people around on tours and proudly talking about their school.
There have also been a number of trips and team-building days this term. These are a crucial part of our rich curriculum offer. On a more formal note, we will shortly be undertaking a full curriculum review and would welcome your feedback. More information will come out next term, along with our biannual stakeholder survey.
As the clocks change and the dark nights and mornings descend, please remind your child about road safety and the importance of being seen. Many young people have a tendency to see a gap in the traffic and run – this is even more dangerous when it is dark. Thank you for your support with this.
The students and staff are definitely ready for a break. Next term is very busy in the run up to Christmas. So please take that breath if you have that chance as a family and we hope to see you at the Christmas concert!
It has been yet again a really positive start to the year though. A huge number reaching 25+ house points already.
The three students who are first to reach the 100+ boundary are as follows:
What an amazing achievement after only six and a half weeks!
So far this year 43,823 Positive house points have been issued across the school. Compare that with last year's figures below:
42 students Vs
Total House Points
30,326 (this time last yr) Vs
43,823 (so far)
That's an increase of 13,497 house points compared with this time last year!
This shows a great improvement of students exemplifying our values of Respect, Excellence and Determination. Thank you all and keep up the good work!
Mr Lewis, Assistant Headteacher
TWGSB held its annual Open Evening on Thursday 5th October; the event was as fun and buzzing as ever. Our speakers, Head Boy and Head Girl, Arthur and Molly, did brilliantly well, as did our amazingly confident and funny Year 7, Tom C-C, who amused and entranced the audience with his public speaking skills. We thank them all so much for representing the school, as well as all our other student volunteers who helped so much that evening and without whom the event could not happen – you made the school very proud.
The staff in each department pulled out the stops to show their passion for their subject, and made a fantastic effort with their interesting displays – the feedback from the public has been excellent. Thank you to all the departments for doing us proud and for all their hard work. Science, DT and Food & Nutrition especially had amazing things going on in their departments which wowed our guests. Thank you also to the non-teaching staff who worked tirelessly to pull it all together and make it run smoothly. We had a great turnout and enjoyed meeting all our visitors and potential new students.
Year 12 students enjoyed their annual induction day, the Golden Bucket Challenge, which despite the very hot hall, produced some fantastic results! During this fun day the cohort get to work together as teams, meeting their new fellow Sixth Formers and welcoming all our new starters. Congratulations to the winners of the day, 12E!
Mrs Calvert, Head of Year 12
It has been incredibly heart-warming to see the school community's generosity over the last few weeks during the Nourish Foodbank campaign. Nourish now only makes 25% of its food from donations, down from 75% before COVID. With winter approaching, we believed we should contribute towards making a difference as a school.
The senior prefect team are so grateful to all of you who have got involved through your kind donations, which has led to one of the most plentiful donation efforts we have seen during our time at the school.
Donations were dropped off at the Foodbank centre on Tuesday 17th October with an incredible total of 300.30 kg. We are sure this will make a massive difference to many in our local area. We are so lucky to have such a fantastic school community and cannot wait to run more fundraising events throughout the academic year.
Please once again accept our thanks and best wishes.
Arthur Ledger, Head Student
Molly McCormick, Head Student
David Wells, Deputy Head Student
The Senior Prefect Team
In mid-September, Year 12 enjoyed the sunshine and the challenges at Bewl Water Outdoor Centre for their team building day. Students took part in various team-building and problem-solving activities, forging new friendships and learning to work together as a unit.
All of the activities were tailored to improve communication and to encourage the whole group to interact, which is essential when starting Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys Sixth Form. A great fun day out!
The new Year 7 students took part in a day at Arena Pursuits in September. Students competed in various challenges to test their team work, agility and thinking skills and we were very proud of how the students worked in their teams to complete tasks. We were also lucky with the weather so there was not too much mud at the end of each day! Full album on our website here.
We were delighted to welcome our brand new Year 7 cohort at the beginning of term. The induction day was a busy one, with students undertaking team-building activities within their forms. The highlight of the day was 'The Egg Drop Challenge', a hard-fought competition in which only two of the ten forms managed to keep their eggs intact!
Mr Wild, Head of Year 7
Tuesday 10th October was World Mental Health Day, and we were lucky enough to be one of the schools selected to take part in the Big Mental Health Conversation held at the Kent Showground in Detling and hosted by KCC. This event brought together students from schools all across the Kent and Medway County. We began our day by taking part in a Mental Health Consortium before moving into workshops, which included meeting alpacas, advice on improving sleep, mindfulness, cricket and walking with pat dogs. There were stalls and information from a wide range of charities and associations that work towards supporting young people and their mental health, as well as information about autism, LGBTQ, domestic support and young carers. Feedback from the students involved was very positive. They were, as usual, a credit to the school, and I really enjoyed getting to hear their thoughts and opinions on the workshops and the well-being support they receive in school.
One particularly useful take-away for me was finding out how much support there is out there for our young people. The standout for me was information about Ellie's Angels, a charity that has developed an app called better u, with young people, for young people, to support them with their mental health and well-being. I am planning on trialling this with my own children but if you would like any information then please follow the link. It is completely free – there are no advertisements and no in-app purchases: better u (elliesangels.org)
Mrs Rose, Assistant Headteacher
Year 13 students visited Wakehurst Place and Kew Millenium Seed Bank in September, where they took part in a lab workshop in the research centre and used some cutting-edge molecular biology techniques to supplement one of their core modules on Genetic Engineering. They learned how to digest DNA into fragments and, using a gel electrophoresis separation technique, were able to identify a non-UK based plant which could have become an invasive species.
The day was finished off with a lovely tour of Wakehurst to show them examples of indigenous plant species from across the world.
One student said, 'It was really interesting to learn how important the seed bank is, storing over two million seeds, with some species already extinct in the wild.' It was a fantastic opportunity and day out.
Miss Mawn, Lead Practitioner Science (Biology)
At the beginning of October Year 11 geography students took part in their second field trip of the course, having already been to Greenwich in Year 10 to study urban sustainability. This time it was the turn of the physical component so we took them to Pett Level at Winchelsea Beach in East Sussex to answer the question ‘Does the coast need to be managed?’ It takes a bit more effort to get to this beach but it was chosen because it has more natural elements, such as an active cliff, than most beaches in the area that are more heavily managed. We obviously chose well as there was another school there who had travelled down from Hackney. They had a five-hour round trip for just two hours on the beach, which made us feel better about our journey.
The students measured the beach profile, sediment size and roundness at three locations. The first was the smallest and most natural beach near Cliff End in the west. We then moved up ten beach sections, delimited by the groynes, measured again and then moved along another ten. This demonstrated how the beach grows in size and is able to preserve more beach features, such as spring tide berms and even plants where it is most stable. The beach sediment is also sorted as it is moved by long shore drift, becoming smaller and more rounded. We also surveyed the type of beach material compared with the most obvious input which is the sandstone cliffs. We discovered that the beach that protects the coast was made of flint while the cliff provides only sand. It was concluded that there is no ready supply of flint, as it is trapped by the defences at Hastings. Therefore the beach will migrate eastwards towards Rye over time and not be replaced. We concluded that, without constant management the beach would slowly disappear in the west, putting the embankment in danger of being breached in extreme conditions.
In addition to the main work of the day the students showed an interest in the geology near Cliff End. In the mudstones on the beach we found evidence of fossil lake beds and bivalves from the tropical monsoon conditions of the Cretaceous. Some even fancied that they could identify footprints in the deposits but these required some imagination, although they are there in places.
The students gained a good insight into the management of our coastlines by hard engineering (Paper 1) as well as being prepared for the requirements of the skills and fieldwork element of Paper 3.
Mr Ash, Head of Geography
On the Friday morning of the trip, we hit the road before the sun managed to glimpse over the horizon. By the time it began to peek its way through the clouded day, we were in Belgium, far from home and sufficiently rested.
Firstly we attended a memorial museum of the 1815 Battle of Waterloo. The museum is impressive and contains an interactive tour and 4D video, which captures the battle as it would have happened.
The museum is adjacent to a 360º panorama painting of the battle, rendered in amazing detail. A quick trip up the Lion’s Mound allowed us both a breath of cool air, and a look over the flat Belgium landscape which rolls on and on and on. We took a walk around the battlefield and had a look at Hougoumont Farm, the British stronghold of the battle. The importance of Hougoumont is impressed on to us – it was a deciding factor in the battle and the British troops defending it, fought tooth and claw to defend it. We returned to the coach and made our way to the town of Waterloo, Wellington’s base during the Battle.
The second day we fast forward 100 years to look at the Western Front of World War I. The day was full of sobering thoughts and once war-torn fields, which now seem rather peaceful, excluding the shrapnel the guide finds and shows us. Shrapnel between cabbages is probably good for giving it an iron-like taste, but I think I prefer it without, if at all!
One of the main events of the day was a visit to Tyne Cot, the largest commonwealth memorial in Belgium. Headstones run out in long rows, white and polished, their upkeep is a priority not to be dismissed. As much as the entire trip had a solemn air to parts of it, Tyne Cot was a distinct reminder of the cost wrought during World War 1. The day ended with the Last Post at the Menin Gate in Ypres. Ypres has now held the ceremony for nearly 100 years, and the city falls quiet as the music plays out.
On day three, we went to a tank museum in Cambrai. The hollow shell of the tank stands in the middle of the room and, despite its wrecked state, strikes an impressive figure. The tank is named Deborah, for those interested. We hit the road one final time and made our way home, stopping only to lay wreaths at the headstone of a relative of a student. It was a kindly moment, organised by the teachers and guides. We crossed border control, any possible difficulties being smoothed over with patience and understanding. And as soon as it can be thought we are back in England. The coach parks and our parents pick us up, as we travel off to bed, in search of a good night's sleep.
Noah W (Year 13)
As part of the GCSE History course, we took students to visit the historic environment of Whitechapel in the east end of London to explore aspects of how this part of London was impacted by poverty, crime and immigration in the late 19th century, as well as how policing developed to respond to the needs of the population.
Students visited a number of sites including an old Jewish soup kitchen, a Jewish synagogue near Artillery Passage and some of the sites of the Whitechapel murders from 1888. The students were able to immerse themselves in the environment as it is today and get a sense of how aspects have changed over time.
Some student comments included that it helped them 'envisage what life was like in Whitechapel and where people lived' as well as 'the guides gave a lot of knowledge, interesting ideas and covered sources'. Lunch was enjoyed in the hustle and bustle of Spitalfields Market and gave the students an opportunity to see London as it is today – thriving, multi-cultural and with a rich history!
Mr Pratt, Head of History and Government/Politics
We were lucky enough to welcome Chris Dennis to the school to promote languages and explain to students in Years 9, 10 and 11 how they can play a key role in the media and in journalism. Chris Dennis is a multilingual journalist with over 20 years’ experience in sports broadcasting, who travels the world covering major sporting events as a commentator, reporter and announcer on television, radio and online.
During his aptly named talk, 'They All Speak English Don't They?', he related the importance of languages in broadcast journalism and how by speaking another language you are more likely to be granted an interview and can help build better relationships with people and get to the heart of a story. Some of his most impactful interviews include Arsène Wenger, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal as well as Kodjovi Obilale, the Togo goalkeeper who survived a terrorist attack.
It was a wonderful talk and the students were very interested and impressed – many even returned to ask further questions afterwards.
Ms Blenkin, Modern Foreign Languages
Congratulations to the Year 7s whose cake baking for the European Day of Languages raised £345.01. All proceeds have gone to the British Red Cross specifically to help with rescue and first aid in Libya and to support Moroccans who have lost loved ones and homes in the recent earthquake. We were able to run the sale over two days and the cakes and biscuits were enjoyed by staff and students alike. Thank you to parents and carers who may have facilitated the baking! Full album of Year 7s with their bakes can be found here.
Mrs Gray, MFL Lead for French
In the first few weeks of term we invited our previous Year 13 students who received A* and A to share their revision tips with the current cohort of Year 13’s. This was a fantastic day where students were able to see all the brilliant work the previous cohort completed! Some feedback from the current cohort was:
‘They gave a lot of information particularly how to structure a 16 marker’ Joe B Yr 13
‘We were able to relate to their experience and use it so we can prepared for our upcoming exams’ Fran G Yr 13
‘It was helpful to get insight into the various different ways we can revise’ Maddie V Yr 13
Miss Stockdale, Head of Sociology & Psychology
On Wednesday 11th October the GCSE Art students in both Year 10 and 11 visited Tonbridge School’s Old Big School Gallery to see the Karl Blossfeldt: Art Forms in Nature exhibition. While we were there the gallery’s artist educator gave the students a tour and a guided talk about the work before the students worked independently to record imagery and ideas. The students had a very successful afternoon gathering research for their projects in the form of notes, drawings and photographs.
Ms Kublik, Head of Art and Design
It's been a busy term in the Food and Nutrition room. The Year 11 GCSE students have been busy working on their first piece of coursework. They have chosen to investigate the functional and chemical properties of biscuit ingredients with some surprising results.
Sixth Form students have been preparing healthy pot noodles as part of a well-being course. Their dishes were cheaper, healthy and tastier than the shop-bought variety.
Year 7 students have been visiting Asia this term making delicious stir-fries. This dish really showed off their chopping skills and knowledge of healthy eating. Arthur in 7C even grew his own garlic and pak choi!
Mrs Smith, Head of Food and Nutrition
It has been a very enjoyable term of football. The teams have been entered in 26 cup competitions, Kent and ESFA National at A and B team levels.
Very well done to all students involved in fixtures. Football practices have taken place after school for Years 7 to 11, five days per week at both sites. We look forward to another busy term of football in Term 2.
Mr Menzies, Head of Football
Rugby in Term 1 has got off to a successful start. Our students have shown incredible dedication and skill, resulting in some remarkable victories and some exciting moments. Here's a recap of our recent matches:
Thank you to our parents for your continued support of our school's rugby programme. We are excited to see how the U15 squad gets on in Term 2 and are looking forward to playing more matches across all age groups.
Mr Woods, Head of PE
This term we are delighted to have seen a rise in the attendees of our Debate Club. We have heard brilliant arguments for both sides on topics such as ‘Who was responsible for starting World War I?’ and ‘Are there places humans should not go?’ as well as, ‘Is the age of religion over?' Debate club takes place at the Tunbridge Wells site, every Friday at Break 2 in Room 44 at. Everyone welcome!
Mr Stuart, History and Politics
In mid-September, Year 10 students took part in the assessed expedition section of their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award. It was a fantastic, challenging and sunny weekend. We look forward to the cohort completing their DofE Bronze Award soon.
Mr Hamilton, Assistant Headteacher
Our long-awaited update on (Year 12) Mac Johnston's amazing feat of endurance with his team mates has arrived! They featured in the Kent & Sussex Courier recently with a brilliant article informing us about their intrepid adventure, the challenges they faced, the jellyfish and the reward of seeing a lone dolphin on the way home celebrating their epic achievement.
More people manage to climb Mount Everest than swim across the world's busiest shipping lane! It took them 11 hours, taking it in turns to swim hour-long legs to France.
They have raised an increadible amount of £10,258 for two charities – Level Water which provides specialist swimming lessons to disabled children, and Brains Matter Charity which provides invaluable support services to those with traumatic brain injuries.
If you would like to express your congratulations, they will be so grateful if you could view their fundraising page and make a donation here.
On 8th October, Alex A (Yr 13) ran his first half marathon to raise money for the Royal Parks charity. He tells us about his briliant achiement: 'The run went well, and it was a nice day out for it. It got tough near the last few miles but the large crowds of people kept me motivated. I ended up getting 2h and 3min which beat my target of below a 6min/km pace.
'The event itself was quite amazing and there was around 16,000 runners in total competing. I'm definitely planning on running in other races in the future and hopefully plan to enter the London Marathon one year.'
Alex would be grateful if anyone would like to sponsor him here.
Charlie Stoney, who left TWGSB Year 13 last term, received his letter from the Duke of Edinburgh congratulating him on acheiving his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. The Gold level is quite a feat of endurance and commitment and we are all thrilled for him.
Charlie says, 'the expedition was a massive challenge in adverse conditions and the practice not much easier!' Charlie is currently studying at Liverpool University and hopes to go to Buckingham Palace in May. We will update the Alumni socials and TWGSB Connect with that news story then. Well done Charlie!
Ben McKay in Year 12 has qualified for the Diploma in Sporting Excellence sponsored by Table Tennis England. This is an 18-month programme aimed at young athletes at the top of their sport at junior level, to help them improve further and hopefully achieve their ambition of playing for England. The diploma focuses on all aspects of the game including fitness, technique, nutrition and psychology. It will no doubt take a lot of commitment but we want to congratulate Ben on being selected and wish him all the best!
The TWGSB Inclusion Team and staff held a Macmillan Coffee Morning on 28th September. Thanks to the generous donations of cakes and goodies the staff brought in, we raised nearly £160 for the fantastic charity. Thank you everyone for your support!
Following our Open Evening, Staff INSET training took place. There were several focuses, one of which was for 12 staff to update and revisit our first aid training. The day covered first aid at work including cuts, burns, choking and CPR. They were lively sessions with an excellent trainer; staff felt very well informed, and enjoyed the opportunity to be a student instead of a teacher. Congratulations to all who took part and achieved their certificates!
Mrs H Burns (SENCo/Specialisty Assessor)
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