Headteacher's End of Term Newsletter - December 2019
What a term we have had – one of sporting success, building works and musical delights. I will start with an update on the expansion build. If you have been on site, you will have seen that work is very much underway. The deadline for handover is 10th October 2020. The constructors, Baxall, are working hard to move that date forward. In the New Year, the architects will hopefully share a digital 3D model that will show us what the buildings will look like inside. Needless to say, we are all very excited.
The consultation on a proposed satellite annex at Sevenoaks has now closed. The local authority received 451 responses, 89% of which were in favour of the annex. Discussions are ongoing and we will keep you informed as and when there is information to share.
The final note on buildings is on our Today, Tomorrow, Together campaign for a new sixth form centre. We are making fantastic progress; the board are in the process of instructing architects and planning specialists. This would not have been possible without the generous support of parents and governors donating. Please do not underestimate the educational legacy that your kind gifts will have. We are extremely grateful. Thank you.
Underlining the need for fit for purpose study facilities is the fantastic news that 14 of our sixth form students have recently been invited to interviews at Oxford and Cambridge. This is an incredible achievement and testament to their hard work, drive and determination. We wish them well in their interview endeavours and look forward to hearing the outcomes in the New Year. Indeed many of our students have been invited to interviews at other prestigious universities, and for a wide range of courses, and we are delighted with their successes at every stage of the UCAS process.
The vast array of student talent has most definitely been on show this term with a plethora of sporting success from table tennis to Rugby and Athletics. Congratulations to all involved. We are so proud of you!
Once again, the PTA Christmas fair was really well supported by staff, students and parents alike and a huge success. Thank you to all the volunteers and especially the core PTA team that make this happen. I was slightly alarmed at just how much sugar Year 8 boys can consume in a very short space of time!
We have had lovely feedback regarding the Christmas concert. It was an uplifting evening and clearly enjoyed by all. There was an array of musical talent on show. Standing up there on stage takes a lot of courage, so a huge well done to all the students involved and thank you to the music team for making this happen.
Finally, on behalf of the staff and governors we would like to wish you and your family a very peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year. Your support is greatly valued.
Sixth Form Centre Project
I am delighted to inform you that our new Sixth Form Centre campaign ends the year with a fantastic achievement.
The TODAY. TOMORROW. TOGETHER. campaign has reached the interim target of £400,000 by the end of the December term and we are incredibly grateful to our generous parent and governor donors for their contribution.
With other funding that has been sourced, we have now raised £1.15m of our total £1.5m project target for Phase 1 of the building.
We will be holding more receptions in the early New Year, for Year 7 parents and those who haven’t been able to attend so far, where we will be introducing our plans to provide our ambitious students with the an environment that matches their considerable talents. The receptions are a great way to meet other parents, ask Headteacher, Amanda Simpson, about the project and to hear the most up-to-date plans.
UKMT Senior Maths Challenge – 7th November 2019
On Thursday 7th November 2019, Year 12 and Year 13 Mathematicians took part in the Senior Maths Challenge, a nationwide competition organised by the UK Mathematics Trust, which offers an opportunity to solve interesting and stimulating Maths problems using core GCSE knowledge.
Many congratulations to Tim W. in Year 13, and Reuben M. in Year 12, for achieving the “Best in year” results in our school.
Year 9 Rugby Squad win the Kent shield
We are delighted to report that the Year 9 Rugby team won the Kent Shield last night against St Dunstan's College 29:19. It was very cold and there was much hanging around but the boys were outstanding. Congratulations to all.
The U’19 2nd XI has reached the Quarter-Final of the Kent Cup. The team won 3–0 away at Dane Court GS in Broadstairs on Wednesday 13th November. The Quarter-Final will be at home against Harvey GS on Wednesday 15th January.
The Year 11 U’16 team performed very well to reach the Semi-Final of the Kent Cup. 59 teams entered the competition. The team recorded a fine 3–2 victory in the Quarter-Final against Ravens Wood on Saturday 23rd November. The Semi-Final was played on Saturday 14th December, which was a 5–2 defeat against a strong Wilmington GS team.
The Year 10 U’15 team won 4–0 against Bexleyheath Academy before losing 2–1 in Round 3 of the Kent Cup away against Charles Darwin School in Biggin Hill.
The Year 9 U’14 team has performed very well to reach Round 5 Quarter-Final of the Kent Cup (80 teams entered). The team won 4–1 against Fulston Manor and then recorded a fine 4–1 victory away against Maidstone GS. The Quarter-Final will be away against Simon Langton GS in Canterbury on Saturday 11th January.
The Year 8 U’13 team reached Round 3 of the Kent Cup before losing 4–2 against Maidstone GS.
The Year 7 U’12 team reached Round 2 of the Kent Cup before losing 7–5 after extra time against Valley Park.
A significant number of PE fixtures this term!
MFL Trip to the Cervantes Theatre in London
Pupils from Year 12 and 13 who are studying Spanish went to see The House of the Spirits play on 27th November in the Cervantes theatre in London. The play is based on the book of the same name written by the Chilean author Isabel Allende.
The play is about three generations of the Trueba del Valle family and it uses magical realism to show aspects of Latin American society. The book has even been compared with One Hundred years of Solitude written by Gabriel García Márquez
Sixth Form Media Studies Students at the Media Magazine Conference, BFI Southbank
On Tuesday 10th December, the Media Department and 30 students attended the annual Media Magazine Conference. This event, organised by the English and Media Centre publication, was held at the BFI Southbank. Speakers ranged from academics discussing issues of regulation and the government White Paper Online Harms, to issues of representation and diversity in film, TV and music videos. Once settled in our red velvet cinema chairs, students were treated to a Q& A discussion between Sir Lenny Henry and Dr Anamik Saha, Goldsmiths University. Sir Lenny considered his early career, and how representations of the black community have changed hugely. It was powerful for our students to hear first-hand accounts of the discrimination faced by previous generations of ethnic minorities, and provided some interesting ideas about how the media can change with their input. Students also heard from industry specialists Juliette Larthe, music video producer and co-founder of Pretty Bird productions, and editor Mdhamiri Á Nkemi. It was fantastic to share the exciting possibilities in the creative industries with our Sixth Form students, and a wonderful day was had by all – despite the rain!
UCAS – another highly successful University application season has come to an end with 13 Oxbridge interviews and one Medic interview and a very high percentage of offers from High Tariff Universities, including Imperial, Exeter, Leeds, Bath and Bristol. Many students have all five offers and Admissions Tutor feedback tells us the applications are confident and carefully crafted with very high-quality references. Student voice feedback tells us all students feel well supported in planning their next steps whether it be University, Apprenticeships, GAP Year or employment. Many thanks to the KS5 leadership Team and their dedicated Year 13 Tutor team. We are all very proud of our Year 13 students who are ambitious and aspirational in this final phase of Secondary Education. We wish them all the best for their Mock Examinations in January and their final examinations in May; it's been an absolute pleasure to work with them.
Sixth Form Well Being Day
Year 12 and 13 enjoyed following an "All Round Excellence " PSHE workshop Day. The focus was on physical and emotional well-being with opportunities to learn about: Mindfulness, Positive Thinking, Creative Writing, Screen Printing, Sport for Health, Yoga and meditation, well-being at University, healthy relationships. Challenging discussion about the concept of Consent led to some reflection and deep thought. Thanks to all external speakers and to our own talented in-house staff.
A large Group of Year 12 students volunteered to be trained as Well-Being Ambassadors who will now follow on the excellent work of current Year 13 in supporting students through difficult times.
The Year 7 teambuilding day
The Year 7 teambuilding day was a great success! Despite the rain and the mud, and the mud and the rain, the boys threw themselves into the activities with gusto and loved every minute! Flintstone car building, minefields, obstacle courses, Hanoi towers, raft construction and land skiing all assured that they finished the day wet, cold, filthy but exhilarated (and full of hot chocolate that was kindly provided by the centre!) It was gratifying to see how, throughout the day, each individual’s focus improved, their ability to follow instructions was honed, and their consideration and support towards each other developed. A wonderful and worthwhile way to spend an autumn day.
Year 9 History Trip to the Ypres Salient
Over the course of two weekends the history department took 120 Year 9s on a visit to the Ypres Salient. The boys got a chance to experience a restored trench system at Bayernwald, manage to contemplate how the dead of WWI are remembered by visits to the British and Commonwealth cemetery at Tynecot and the contrasting German cemetery at Langemark. The highlight of the trip was the moving last post ceremony at the Menin Gate in the middle of Ypres. Many of the boys left in thoughtful mood. Some of the boys took the opportunity to research and find their relatives while on the trip and we hope that this helped make the trip more personal.
Christmas Carol performance review by Noah Sanders
Recently, Year 10 were treated to a performance of A Christmas Carol by a visiting theatre company. Personally, I enjoyed it as there were only three actors onstage so it was interesting to see their teamwork and use of quick changes to play the vivd cast created by Dickens. My favourite part of the play was when Scrooge visited Bob Cratchitt’s house as the actors made it comical by wearing excessive wigs and exaggerating the Cratchitt children and their personalities. Overall, the performance was enjoyable and it was interesting to see the interpretations made in this performance compared to other medias (for example a film). Also, the performance kept close to the original novel which made it useful for our ongoing studies of the text and understanding of Dickens’ work.
Wednesday 11th December saw another fantastic Christmas concert. A host of talented musicians took part, performing in solos, duets, trios, rock bands and larger ensembles. Highlights included a highly energetic performance from Mr R’s Grammar School For Noise and a rendition of Happy by the Soul Band. Technical support from the likes of Paul Cameron (Head of Sound) and Ethan Turrell (Head of Lighting) ensured a smooth delivery and brilliant visuals. We should also mention the debut hosting performance of Joseph Romans and Jacob Bottley, who rose to the challenge of filling rather large boots. On Thursday 12th December, a number of primary school children and a few elderly residents joined the whole of Year 7 for a re-run of the concert, with immense success. The show was received extremely well, with engaging audience interaction provided by Joseph and the entire crowd singing along to Happy at the end. Finally, we were able to raise some funds for the charity Porchlight, whose aim is to battle homelessness in Kent.
Thank you Refugease Collection
It is with great pleasure that we were able to organise a collection of warm clothing and shelter for refugees who are currently suffering the freezing conditions of winter over in Europe. Boys in 7D and students in Year 12 are grateful for all your wonderful donations, which will undoubtedly make a difference to many individuals as the weather becomes even colder. It is wonderful to see our pupils so enthused and empathetic in keeping with the joyous season.
We have had a number of parents who have asked if it is still possible to contribute, given that they were not able to meet the deadline here at school. The charity Refugease has a drop off point at DW Audio, 78 Camden Rd, Tunbridge Wells, and they would be delighted to receive any further warm clothing or walking boots for young male adults, blankets, ground sheets or tents. Once again, thank you so much for your generosity. Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas!
Nourish Food Donations
Many thanks to all the Year 12s who donated to the local Food Bank, the boxes were delivered and gratefully received on Wednesday 4th December.
Table Tennis News
Sam Arnott, Ben McKay, Indigo Morris and Harry Mitchell were delighted to represent the School at the Kent Schools Table Tennis Championships today. They started the day in a group with Skinners School B, St Johns School and Brompton School. They started well with a 6–2 win over Skinners B, followed this with a 7–1 win against St Johns and finished with an 8–0 win against Brompton as they really started to find their feet!
Skinners A came through as winners in the other group lining up an exciting final. The teams were very well matched although TWGSB were leading 3–1 at the half way point. A couple of wins for Skinners brought them back into contention but eventually TWGSB came through to win the match 5–3.
The boys were delighted to be crowned Kent School champions and now go on to represent Kent in the next round at Morpeth School in London in January. The boys were all a great credit to the school.
Cross Country Running
We are happy to share with you all that the boys did do us all proud on Saturday in Oxford and represented Kent extremely well.
The 'U15 boys' ran a 4 km cross country race which was relatively hilly and very soggy underfoot! There were 80 boys in the race, the top runners from all South Eastern counties, so as you can imagine the competition was fierce.
21st Isaac Arnott 14.10 mins
27th Angus Currie 14.15 mins
28th Jamie Macdonald 14.16 mins
31st Jamie Witz 14.19 mins
An impressive and solid team performance from TWGSB.
At this time of year we celebrate the Year 7 students' artistic and culinary talents. Below are some photos for you. When you click on a student, his head is revealed.
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