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Posted on: 20/07/2022

Headteacher's Newsletter July 2022

Dear Parents, Carers and Students

As we sizzle our way to the end of the academic year it is always an opportunity to reflect on the endeavours of our school community over the past 12 months. Time moves at such a pace in schools we often forget the milestones that are achieved. 

The past academic year has been no different; it is only when we stop that we fully realise the challenges, changes and achievements that have occurred. We started the academic year welcoming a cohort of 90 students into our new campus at Sevenoaks. The building was completed in January and the students are very much enjoying the use of the full facilities. 

Another building milestone is that of our Sixth Form study centre, which is very much there due to the amazing commitment and generosity of our school community. It is so lovely to see our Sixth Form students enjoying this study space. The legacy of this building will be felt by generations to come. Once again, a huge thank you to everyone involved in making that dream happen! 

OFSTED visited and we were thrilled that they could see the journey travelled thus far, how incredible our students and staff are and just how supportive you as our community are. We will continue to push forward on our mission for All Round Excellence.

TWGSB has once again demonstrated its strength and breadth in its sporting prowess, winning cups at county and national level in a number of different sports and age ranges. A huge thank you to the PE department who work tirelessly running clubs and teams. Although the students were battling the heat, it was great to see them enjoying Sports Day and battling for the house win. Congratulations to Igtham House. 

External exams have returned this year at both GCSE and A Level and clearly this has been a big moment for all the students involved. They were exemplary in their attitude and approach to the exam season and we wish them well for their results in August. 

It has been an absolute pleasure to attend a number of events held this term. The Arts Festival and the Awards Evenings really were highlights. What incredible young people we have here: watching them grow in all aspects of their development is such a privilege. Congratulations to all the students involved and thank you to the families for supporting them.   

The PTA has done a wonderful job in supporting the school purchase extra resources that we simply would not be able to afford otherwise. Their presence and contribution at events is always welcomed and as a school we would just like to say thank you and we are exceptionally grateful for your support. 

Finally, you will be aware that Michael Crow, Deputy Head, leaves us to take up the post of Headteacher at Hayesbrook Academy in September. Oliver Jackson joins us in September in that role. It has been a real pleasure working with Michael and his contribution to the school has been immense. Hayesbrook is very lucky to have him and on behalf of the staff and governing body we wish him well.  

Thank you all for your continued support. It makes the world of difference to us as a school. Wishing you all a wonderful summer break and we look forward to seeing you all in September. 

Yours faithfully 

Amanda Simpson 

 

Positive Pathways

As we reach the end of the second year of our House Points 'Positive Pathway' scheme, we celebrate achievements for all students when they work their hardest and demonstrate the school values. With points awarded for great work in lessons, homework, all round excellence and behaviour reflecting our school values, it is incredibly gratifying to report that over 12,000 positive points have been awarded this year.   

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The number of students achieving the boundaries of the pathway is a wonderful illustration of how hard the students work and the commitment they show to their school. We are very proud of them all. 

This term also saw the return of our school's annual RED prize-giving awards evenings. Four hundred awards were received by students across all year groups; those students were invited to attend a ceremony where they were presented with the award, celebrated by parents and staff. The evenings were very enjoyable and very hot!!

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All subject areas across the school nominated a student for the categories of Respect, Excellence and Determination within their department. It was a difficult decision for teachers with so many making the short list. Huge congratulations to the students who received these awardsMr Lewis

Well-being

Our new team of Student Well-being Ambassadors is now in place and they delivered a presentation to key members of staff at the beginning of July. Following completion of their training, their plans for 2022–2023 are:

  • To implement a well-being structure, into which students can be appointed in future years
  • Raise recognition of the importance of Well-being Ambassadors in younger years
  • Raise awareness of the importance of good mental health and well-being
  • To deliver education on bullying (stop, support, report)

In order to achieve this they plan to:

  • Rebrand the well-being team in school (including new logo)
  • Run competitions (e.g. to design posters and badges)
  • To hold an assembly/PHSE lesson take-over
  • Establish an email support account
  • Submit articles in newsletter
  • Organise events and fundraising activities

Sixth Form

On Tuesday 21st June, ten of our Year 12 students attended the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme training day at Walthamstow Hall, in Sevenoaks. At an event where a number of schools from a wide area came together to be trained, our students were a credit to both themselves and the school. They were unified as a team, engaged and extremely eloquent, drawing worthy notice from another group of younger students: ‘...students from TWGSB were amazing and gave so many ideas when asked for feedback...they seemed really confident and looked very smart and gave the most answers out of any school!’

The team networked with other young students to exchange ideas, share good practice and develop their schools’ Anti-Bullying work. They returned with certificates to acknowledge their valuable contributions and enthusiasm to implement plans in school. 

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Thank you to all the families who have generously donated to our most recent Nourish Food Bank campaign. Our students were very concerned about food poverty particularly over the long summer holidays. We were able to send six very large boxes of requested provisions to the food bank, which is in danger of running out of stock.

We are now collecting toiletries for Ukranian refugees living in our area. Donations will be gratefully received from September. 

Many thanks to the 18 Year 12 students who volunteered, on a Sunday, to act as marshalls for the prestigious Hever Enudurance Event. They were all great ambassadors for our school, working an 8-hour shift to raise money for our Charities. Mrs Corp

Our Year 12 students have entered an exciting time where they have begun exploring UCAS, university, apprenticeship and employment options and we are doing all we can to support their aspirations for future pathways. This term parents attended a UCAS Information Evening, which included a talk from the Sussex University about student finance. 

The Year 12 EPQ students visited Sussex University library on 7th July as part of their research for their projects. They were taught how to use an academic library and locate relevant books. This was then followed by a couple of hours of study time, which will no doubt aid them no end in their projects and the students really appreciated the opportunity. Following the trip a number of students have been investigating the chance to visit other university libraries during the summer holidays to continue their research. Mr Hammond

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Subject News

Arts Festival

On 6th July, Expressions: A Festival of the Arts, took place. This collaboration between Music, Drama, Art and Media Studies resulted in a display of various talents, with musical performances, drama sketches, coursework videos and an art exhibition. One of the highlights was a massed Year 7 choir singing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley. A crowd of around 200 family members were seated at decorated tables and Mr Fiveash had created a fantastic opening video that kicked off the show in style.

Our thanks to the PTA for providing refreshments, Mr Podesta for coordinating and compering the event and the technical crew headed by Alex Bentley. Mr Joris

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As well as the exhibition's display of artwork from Years 7 to 13 pictured below, our students' GCSE and A Level work was displayed for exam moderators this term. Their fabulous art can be seen on the gallery pages of our website.

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Earlier in the year, the Art Department ran a competition for Year 7 to create their own interpretation of a key piece of art. There was a phenomenal response and it was exceedingly hard to pick a winner. The full range of entries can be enjoyed in our showcase galleryMs Kublik

English

Having studied To Kill A Mockingbird earlier in the year, students from Year 9 were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the theatre in the West End to see the highly acclaimed production, starring Rafe Spall as Atticus Finch and Gwyneth Keyworth as Scout. 

After a lovely relaxing picnic in St James' Park we made our way to the theatre and settled down to watch the three hour performance. 

The students really appreciated how the adaption of the novel was centred around the trial and how the team behind the production and the cast had worked hard to bring a 21st-century cultural relevance to the narrative. It was also a chance to see in action much of what they have learnt in drama, which will set them up nicely for the study of play texts over the GCSE English Literature course they will be starting next September.

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After an unfortunate interlude to our theatre visits over the past three years, it was a privilege to be able to accompany Year 9 students on such a valuable experience, and I would like to congratulate them on their exemplary behaviour and attitude on their day out. They were a credit to the school. Mrs Lovera

Geography & Geology

The Year 10 Geology students went to two locations in June to study the Cretaceous Geology of the South-East. The first day was spent recording the rocks, fossils and structures at Pett Level near Winchelsea. Here we could see the Ashdown Beds, which were laid down in a tropical deltaic river environment. We found evidence of the cyclical monsoon climate in the alternating fine and course sandstones. The structures in the cliff showed us the deposition of the many moving streams and rivers that existed. We found examples of plants, bivalves, armoured fish and even dinosaur footprints. We could conclude that the area was a tropical delta with sharks, turtles, armoured fish, horsetails, cycads and palm trees in a landscape looking much like the Everglades of Florida.

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The second day trip was spent at Cow Gap near Eastbourne. Here we were able to observe the younger rocks that were laid down in a sea environment after the earlier riverine sandstones. At Cow Gap we saw the lowest Gault Clay layer which makes the cliffs here so unstable (and allows us access to the beach here, unlike Beachy Head). Overlaying this was the deep water Greensand, followed by the Marly Chalk which is the first layer of chalk, mixed with muds and is much richer in fossils that the whiter Middle Chalk which is more well known. We found many burrows and sea sponges in the Greensand and evidence of ammonites, oysters and sea urchins (echinoids) in the Lower Chalk.

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The students made observations and measurements at both sites in their Geology field note books and have analysed the data on return to write a report on the changing environment of the Cretaceous. We enjoyed great weather on both trips and an ice cream at the end of the day to reward our endeavours! Thanks go to Mrs Fedrick for doing the administration and to Ms Buckland for accompanying both trips. Mr Ash

MFL

Le 14 Juillet is Bastille Day in France. Some students in Year 7 and 8 learnt about the day and were able to draw the Eiffel Tower along with fireworks and armed forces displays. Mme Gray and Mme Moreau

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As part of food topic, Year 8E pupils had the chance to prepare a traditional Peruvian dish at home or create an new logo for a Peruvian restaurant called ‘Al Toque Pez’. Here are some examples of their work. Well done! Señora Mason

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Music

On Thursday 30th June, eight students were selected to take part in a massed orchestral performance at Trinity School in Sevenoaks involving over 100 Year 7s to 13s. Playing a variety of instruments, the students joined in with determination, reading, rehearsing and performing music they had never seen before. This hard work culminated in a public performance that was well received. The inter-school collaboration was supported by Kent Music and we look forward to future events so as to be able to share our talent and benefit from strength in numbers.

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On Monday 11th July, 75 Year 7–9 students went to Bennett Memorial school to attend a Kidenza workshop. This small orchestra consisting of professional musicians aims to bring classical music to life for young audiences, providing introductions to each instrument in an entertaining manner. The students represented the school’s values very well and enjoyed the occasion. Mr Joris

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PE

CRICKET – Mr Boddy

The Year 8 cricket team made it to the quarter-final of the Thomas Kent Cup and came up against a strong Dartford Grammar School, who bowled tight lines and scored quickly when batting. In the end, we were unable to chase the runs down in time. It was an excellent run of games and the team played so well together, using a range of bowlers in different matches and will look to go a step further next year.

The Year 7 team progressed from their quarter-final tie against Simon Langton and were one match away from making the final as they played an experienced Judd team at home in the semi-final. Judd scored an impressive 199 runs from their 25 overs and then bowled accurately and fielded well, taking some sharp catches. In their first season together, the players should be excited to see how far they can go next season. Well done to all involved. 

FOOTBALL – Mr Menzies

Following on from our team successes earlier in the year, this term has been packed with sporting activity and we are proud to report continued achievement at a national level. 

Year 7 U12 B team won the Kent Cup Final against Hurstmere from Sidcup at Maidstone United FC’s Gallagher Stadium. Forty teams entered and this was the last Final of the Kent Schools FA season. Both teams performed brilliantly to bring down the curtain on the season in style with TWGSB winning 3-2. This was the perfect way to finish the football season at TWGSB.

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We would like to thank the following local companies who have each sponsored a set of 16 football shirts. These will be worn in matches from the start of the 2022–23 season onwards, for five years and be worn in Kent Cups and ESFA National Cups.

We are very grateful to them and would also like to send a big 'THANK YOU' to the PTA who provided a new set of rugby kit this year. 

If your company is interested in sponsoring a set of sports shirts, please email Mr Menzies to discuss further. 

TENNIS – Mr Boddy 

The U13 and U15 tennis teams continued their fine form from Term 5 and played their last remaining fixtures of the West Kent league, qualifying for the Kent finals. The U15 team qualified by topping their division and U13s qualified by finishing second. The finals were played in a doubles format on the clay courts at Canterbury Lawn Tennis Club with no singles played on the day.

Both teams played some excellent tennis throughout the tournament, competing against five other schools in their age group. In the end, both the U13s and U15s finished the Finals tournament in fourth spot, which is a very respectable finish, against some tough opposition.

Well done to all players. The Year 9s who played up into the U15 team will look to improve on that position next year and we are looking forward to seeing some new players play for the U13 team.

SPORTING COMPETITION

The last hot weeks of term were busy with both inter-house tournaments and school Sports Days. Photos are available on the school website, Gallery section.

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Sports Day
Dan H, our Year 12 House Captain, gives a round-up below:

On Wednesday 13th July, Year 7 students from Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells took part in their annual sports day. It was a hot day, with students doing very well to compete to a high level in these conditions. It was Ightham who won the event, beating Scotney to the trophy by 1 point. The morning consisted of field events (long jump, javelin and shot put) as well as the 1500m, and the track events followed in the afternoon.

On Friday 15th July, it was the turn of Years 8 and 9 to have their sports day. Again, temperatures were high with students doing superbly well to compete to the levels they did in the heat. It was Knole who won in Year 8, with Ightham winning in Year 9.

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Well done to all of the athletes who took part over both days and a special thank you to all the staff and students who supported the event. The final overall positions were:

Pe sports day july 2022 overall winners

Inter-house Tournaments 

What a fantastic sporting year it has been at TWGSB. Let us sweep aside the obvious 'C' difficulties and focus on the new sporting village that combines field sports, a fantastic new 3G surface and the crowning glory of a new sports centre (including a truly amazing five badminton court indoor hall, large sports and dance studio, and state-of-the-art sports science classrooms).

The staff and students have taken every opportunity provided by the new facilities to increase both the quality and quantity of participation. Perhaps this is best exemplified by the inter-house tournaments that take place every term. Every student in KS3 participates in a sport's team of their choice, while older students officiate and help organise the event. That's 600+ students taking part and competing for their house across a range of sports including Ultimate frisbee, handball, football, cricket, basketball, dodge ball and table tennis. This inter-house event is supplementary to the more traditional sports day where students continue to compete in athletics events. In both competitions the emphasis is on fun competition, everybody is encouraged to take part, but all have an eye on the glory of winning and performing at their best. The net result is a display of a wealth of sporting talent!

Summer term inter-house results across all years (Key Stage 3) were;

Interhouse july 2022 results table

Congratulations to the following students who were named RED stars and recognised for their performance in the summer tournaments. 

Inter house july 2022 red stars

While for the school year 2021–22 as a whole, we are pleased to announce Ightham House as winners, with overall year results below.

Full year interhouse results table july 2022

Well done to everyone who took part and supported the events this year. Mr Scott 

Philosophy

The TWGSB Religion and Philosophy department are very proud of our Year 12 Philosophy students for their efforts and participation in the online Philosophy Day hosted by Warwick University. This was a successful and insightful day exploring key questions relating to the A Level course such as: 

  • The Problem with the Problem of Evil 
  • Free Will and Moral Responsibility 
  • Truth and Post-Truth 
  • Studying Philosophy at University 

Our students particularity appreciated the key speakers provided by the university who are very influential in the world of Philosophy and the introduction into topics they will also be covering in Year 13. The university also offered ‘insider tips’ on what makes a good personal statement and key information in preparing them for studying philosophy at university. 

The department would also like to commend Tom A, one of our phenomenal Year 12 Philosophy students, who has made it to the finals of the New College of Humanities University Essay Competition entitled: 

‘How should we (including social media companies and governments) respond to the fact that misinformation (e.g. about coronavirus) can be harmful (and even cost lives) while recognising the value of free expression (including online)?’  

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Due to his amazing efforts he has been selected from 6,000 other entries and invited to attend the award ceremony in the summer. Well done Tom! Mrs Hawkes

 

Co-curricular news

ARE (All Round Excellence) Week

TWGSB values personal development in tandem with academic excellence, and ARE Week is a way for students to participate in experiences within and outside the curriculum that allow them to explore, grow and develop as a person. This year, students from Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 participated in a range of activities including theatre trips and English workshops, outward bound activities, life skills development, and workshops in DT, IT, Art, MFL and Music. Let us not forget a good old fun day out at Chessington, as a reward for students who have consistently demonstrated our values of Respect, Excellence and Determination! 

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More visit photos are/will soon be shared in the school website Gallery, to give a flavour of the experience. Mrs Rose

Author Visit

Years 7 and 8 thoroughly enjoyed a talk by author Matt Dickinson on the 30th June. Matt is a well-known writer of young adult literature as well as being a film maker and mountaineer. He enthralled the boys with his tales of derring-do on the slopes of Mount Everest, which he successfully climbed and lived to tell many tales, describing the thrills and dangers of the ascent and showing many videos and photographs of the dramatic landscape.

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Matt entreated the boys to be adventurous readers, reading all sorts of books for pleasure to develop their knowledge and experience. He related how it was a book on his grandfather’s shelves about the ascent of Everest that sparked his imagination as a young boy.

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Matt signed copies of his books after the talks on both campuses, to long queues of inspired young men. Mrs Musselwhite Steel

Carnegie shadowing activity

I lost count of the amount of times during the pandemic that our students asked me if we were going to be running Carnegie Shadowing. So it was wonderful to be once more taking up the reigns to organise it. All four participating schools (SKA, Skinners’, TWGGS, TWGSB) felt exhilarated to be taking part again after the two-year break.

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The scheme is a national event, which fosters reading and is all about discussion of the books in a fun, challenging and coeducational environment.

Participating boys spent 11 weeks reading eight shortlisted books, then engaged in a balloon debate. The winning debate team comprised students from all four schools and included impressive public speaking from TWGSB students Gabriel R 8D, Ben C 7F and Freddie M 7D, supported by Huw W 9D and David C of 9.

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The book winning the Carnegie medal was October, October by Katya Balen, a tale of wild nature and family secrets. It also scooped the 'Shadowers’ Choice' vote, which means it was voted number one by school children around the country.

As usual, the TWGSB students’ behaviour and enthusiasm was impeccable and our students were impressive on the day, for instance:

  • Oliver R (8G) won the overall best book review competition
  • Adam A (9F) impressed the judges with a word that none of them knew!
  • Will P (9E) and Jonathan B (8F) were enthusiastic team leaders

TWGSB has its own Carnegie Cup for the student who has shown excellence in teamwork, public speaking, critical analysis of the shortlisted literature and who has of course read at least six of the books. This year the award went to Freddie M (7D). Freddie narrowly beat Adam G (7I) and Jacob B (9F), both noteworthy participants. 

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Carnegie Shadowing attracts two different types of student – those who love reading and those who love taking part in a collaborative debate experience. Boys who openly tell me that they don’t like reading join in for the debate side of things and then declare that it has spurned a new love of reading in them. Mrs Musselwhite Steel

Careers Day for Year 10

On 23rd June, the Education Business Partnership ran a Careers Day for Year 10 students, where students learned and developed employability skills through a series of workshops and activities. Topics included interview skills, Health & Safety in the Workplace, CV and job application skills and jobs of the future.

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Many of Year 10 also participated in a work experience week in July and we are grateful to the local employers and parents who facilitated these placements. 

Chess

On Monday 13th June, TWGSB hosted its first Inter-School Chess Competition with students competing from Bennett, Skinners' and TWGSB.  It was a Swiss-style tournament, with every competitor playing five games and points awarded for a win, draw and loss. Skinners' School won the competition overall and there were four lower school winners with 3.5 points each – three Skinners' students and Josh Daplyn from TWGSB. The two winners of the Sixth Form competition were from Skinners'.

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We commend all players for their valiant efforts and say well done to Sankirth, Aditya and Shivesh, who were placed 5th, 6th and 7th respectively, and Sixth Form entrant, Max, who finished 6th. Thank you for representing the school superbly. Tom A, Year 12

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Duke of Edinburgh

A large proportion of our Year 10 cohort took part in their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice weekend on the weekend of 18–19th June. Despite storms, torrential rain and runaway cows(!), they boldly carried on and completed the weekend without complaint.  Unfortunately, the final expedition had to be cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions, this time heat! It has been rescheduled for September. Mrs Fedrick

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PE

We are very much looking forward to the next academic year regarding our co-curricular sport opportunities for the students. The majority of our sports practices will continue to take place after school and will start the week beginning Monday 12th September. These are open to all students in the year group. Full timings detail will be available on the school website next term under Clubs & Clinics.

Football – We have entered 27 football cups for the 2022–23 season, 11 Kent Cups and 16 ESFA National Cups, at A and B team levels.
Rugby – We have entered the 1st XV in the U18 National Vase. We have also entered the U15 team in the National Vase. We have entered the U15 and the U14 teams in the Kent Shield competitions.
Badminton and table tennis practices will take place at the Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks site.
Basketball practices and matches will start up in Term 2. Mr Menzies

Scholars

CAMBRIDGE VISIT

A group of Year 10 and Year 12 had an excellent day out at Queens' College Cambridge. We were met by the Schools Liaison Officer, Sian Bex, who took us immediately to meet our undergraduate guides, one of whom left our school two years ago. We toured the college and enjoyed the ancient and modern buildings. We particularly enjoyed the ancient Chapel and Library but best of all, the tour of a typical set of student rooms! We enjoyed a generous lunch in the spectacular refectory.  Everybody was friendly and welcoming, especially another ex-student Ollie who just happened to find us.

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We then had a walking tour of the town and peeped into as many colleges as we could, all busily clearing away marquees from their end of year balls and festivities.

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It was a lovely, enlightening experience and, as one young student commented, it 'was really awe-inspiring'.  Our students were a credit to the school, asking interesting and intelligent questions throughout. Mrs Corp

UNDERSTANDING POLITICS

The Year 10 Scholars and Year 12 Government and Politics class combined for two events this term. To gain insight into the workings of government at the local and national level, a range of politicians were invited in to speak with the students. Hugo Pound, Justine Rutland and Peter Lidstone came to school and talked about their roles and answered questions. Greg Clark was invited, but was unable to come as he was promoted to a Cabinet post the day before!

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To follow up on the political discourse, the groups combined to tour the Houses of Parliament, listening to a Commons Debate and watching the Speaker’s Procession. After a picnic beside the Thames, they watched a case being argued before the Supreme Court. Everyone was impressed by the standard of speaking and presentation in these important buildings. Ms Stevens

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Summer activities

Playwriting Competition

The Wateryard Group has launched a new playwriting competition for amateur writers young and old. There are categories for writers aged 8–12 and also for 13–17. The aim is to perform the winning plays in the Spring of 2023. We hope our students would like to enter and full details can be found here

Trinity Theatre Auditions

Trinity Theatre is staging William Shakespeare’s classic tale in one week and will be running August auditions for students to take part – no previous experience required!  Read more here.

General News

Governor Update

With the appointment of a number of new Governors and Associate Members, the website has been updated and Dr Philip Drew, Chair of Governors, has provided a summary of activities for this year. 

PTA Update

At the end of this academic year, our PTA Chair, Treasurer and Secretary are stepping down and we are encouraging new members to join the committee in these vital roles. Please contact the team to find out more and support the school. 

Staff Fundraising

Mr Pratt is running the London Marathon on Sunday 2nd October raising money for the Big Issue Foundation, whose vision is to create opportunities that will end poverty and exclusion for Big Issue vendors and whose mission is to connect vendors to the vital support and specialist services that enable them to rebuild their lives and determine their own pathways to a better future. 

As a keen runner with the Tunbridge Wells Harriers, he is looking forward to the challenge of running 26.2 miles knowing that the money raised will help many people have a better future.  Anyone interested in donating, however big or small, to this brilliant charity, please access this link. Thank you