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Tonbridge School

School rating 4 / 5 by

High Street Tonbridge Kent TN9 1JP United Kingdom
6th to 12th
6th to 12th
Boys only


Tonbridge School review by .

The school provides GCSE education from form 3 to 5 where all students are expected to complete, on average, 10 GCSEs. Of the 10 subjects, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, English Lit. and a modern language (eg. French, Spanish or German) are compulsory. Up to a further 5 subjects may be chosen depending on the individual. Following GCSEs are AS-Levels and A2-Levels. A minimum of 4 subjects are required for AS-Levels and may be chosen from any of the arts or sciences. In the following year, during A2-Levels, the student must continue on their chosen AS-Levels but may drop one of their subjects should they wish to do so. Often the work load is relatively high, but is very much doable with proper time management. This time management skill is taught early on with roughly 3 hours of compulsory prep-time every week night for the first 3 years. Arguably, the school is an "exam factory", simply because the school trains the students to handle exams very well. However, in my experience, all of the teachers are enthusiastic and passionate about their job, and frequently, we were taught material which wasn't on the syllabus. This is also reflected in the school's wide range of extra-curricular clubs and activities. Something which many students also found invaluable was the free extra tutoring provided by the school. Twice a week, on Monday and Friday after lunch, there is a 45 minute "Pursuits" period in which students are encouraged to go to their subject teachers for extra lessons or help. Also, because of the tight knit nature of the school, all of the teachers can be easily reached by email or telephone in the evenings if help is urgently needed for a project or coursework. In the evenings, there were also some extra classes in various subjects for the students. They started out as a means to provide extra tutoring for Oxbridge candidates, but often others would attend purely out of interest.

College Counseling

Tonbridge's higher education counselling services were invaluable to me. The first albeit subtle guide they....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

Tonbridge definitely favours well-rounded individuals. However, they would not turn away anyone who particularly excelled....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

The boarding houses at Tonbridge are of the highest quality with many having just been renovated in recent years and many still being renovated. Every student has sufficient space and privacy. The food provided, although not of the standard expected in a gourmet restaurant, is certainly edible and provides a balanced diet. Having said this, however, the local delicacies still remain popular. These include the Chinese takeaway, the local kebab shop, the Indian takeaway, and the chip shop. The campus sits on a large piece of land several acres in size. Whilst the majority of the grounds are occupied by....

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