Dear Parents and Carers
I finished last term's newsletter with an optimistic ‘spring is on its way’. I write this having just been battered by the wind and rain on lunch duty. Again, this has been a short and very busy term. Preparations for external examinations continue, Year 11 and 13 students are working exceptionally hard. It is great to see that they are engaging in every opportunity for exam support. Many are now very focused on revision which of course we would encourage. They do, however, need a balance, and some downtime to relax and reset will also be very much needed.
You will see from the contents of the newsletter that the curriculum continues to be greatly enriched by outside speakers, visiting performance companies and a range of trips/events. If you were lucky enough to attend Battle of the Bands then you will appreciate what an amazing array of talent there is at TWGSB and in other local schools. It is always a real privilege to see students who have the confidence to stand on stage and perform. All the schools that took part contributed to an incredible showcase of musical talent.
Dropping into lessons across both campuses it has been lovely to see the students so engaged and producing high-quality work. Their level of questioning and the depth of their answers is at times something to behold, what a privilege to observe. This does not happen by accident and a huge thank you to the very talented team of staff who work tirelessly on behalf of the students.
Please do read/watch the interview with TWGSB alumnus Will Marshall, who is making such a positive impact in the world of science and space. This is the first time TWGSB has entered the CanSat competition and we are grateful for the top tips from Will.
So, we will remain optimistic regarding the arrival of spring; I’m sure those on the school ski trip are wishing for blue sky and powder slopes. Whatever the weather, I do hope you all find time to relax, eat some chocolate (perhaps) and enjoy being with family.
As always, your support is very much appreciated. Have a lovely Easter.
Well done to all the students for the continued hard work and efforts with their house points! Two students have reached the platinum boundary, which is a great achievement.
We held our first celebratory breakfast yesterday with members of the Senior Leadership Team, Heads of Year and pastoral support staff for those students who have achieved 150+ house points this academic year – such a great way to celebrate with these students and to recognise their endeavours.
Mr Lewis (Assistant Headteacher)
We are delighted to introduce our first KS4 Prefect Team; they have already done a great job as role models and ambassadors for KS4 at the Year 9 Options Evening and are currently working on helping to plan Class of 2023 Celebrations for Year 11!
An annual competition, CanSat is an initiative of the European Space Agency, which challenges students from all over Europe to build and launch a mini satellite the size of a soda can. TWGSB students are taking part later in the year. The challenge for the students is to fit all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors and a communication system, into the volume and shape of a soft drinks can.
We were very honoured to be given an exclusive interview with our eminent TWGSB alumnus and ground-breaking space scientist, Will Marshall, who was part of the team that found water on the moon while working for NASA and went on to co-found a company called Planet.
The company has created a fleet of roughly 500 satellites which have been launched into space to capture daily imagery of the Earth’s entire land mass. This makes global change visible in real time so organisations can apply the data being sent back to improve climate monitoring, agricultural crop yield prediction, urban planning and disaster response.
Will took the time to answer some questions from our science students to help and advise them on the aspects to consider when building their CanSat project later this year.
Please read the article or watch the fascinating interview he gave us here on our alumni community website, 'TWGSB Connect':
On Wednesday 8th March, Alfred Hawkins from the Tower of London visited the History department and spoke to students. Alfred delivered a talk to Year 10 History GCSE students on careers in history and heritage, which also linked to their Anglo-Saxon and Norman England unit, focusing on the history of the Tower of London and its changing use and importance within the Norman Conquest and the years that followed. Sixth Form students later attended a careers talk by Alfred, which addressed key projects that Alfred has undertaken in his work at the Tower, and the application of undergraduate degrees and training in the field of heritage. Students have fed back that the talk broadened their view on the different ways that egrees can be used, the various paths that careers in heritage can take, and that continued academic study and work is not always a mapped out or inflexible path.
Since 2018, Alfred has been Assistant Curator of historic buildings for Historic Royal Palaces and the charity that manages the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, the Banqueting House Whitehall and Hillsborough Castle in northern Ireland. In his role based at the Tower of London and Banqueting House Whitehall, Alfred helps to preserve and protect the buildings and archaeological deposits across these Royal Palaces.
Mr Pratt (Head of History)
On Tuesday 14th March, students in Year 10 studying Spanish watched a superbly funny play about teenage identity entirely in Spanish. This is the second year that we welcomed Onatti to our school. Onatti produces and performs plays in Modern Foreign Languages. It was a big hit with students and they thoroughly enjoyed the interactive aspect.
Miss Allen (Head of MFL)
On Friday 24th February the GCSE Art students in both Years 10 and 11 visited the Tate Modern Gallery in London to gather research for their projects. The students worked independently around the galleries using task sheets as starting points. As well as the permanent collections, they visited the Cezanne exhibit. They had a busy day producing drawings, making notes and taking photographs. Overall, it was a very successful day; the students saw a wide variety of artwork and took home lots of ideas and inspiration for their own work.
Write up below by Adam A (Year 10G):
‘On the 24th of February, the Art department of TWGSB visited the Tate Modern in London, to both gather inspiration and to gain a wider range of references for our GCSE portfolio. The Tate Modern is the epicentre of London’s contemporary art scene, with the greatest variety and quality of modern art in the UK.
The main event for the day was the Paul Cezanne exhibition, which is described as being “one-in-a-generation” mainly because of Cezanne’s status as having been one of the most pivotal modern artists in the world. Cezanne explored diverse types of paintings but his most common were still life paintings such as The Three Skulls and Still Life with Apples, and landscape paintings namely Château Noir and Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley. Other Important pieces in the Tate Modern include The Snail by Henri Matisse, No Woman, No Cry by Chris Ofili and Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso.
Overall, the Tate Modern Trip greatly influenced not only my artwork but my view of art as a whole; it opened my eyes to new methods artists use and how the perception of art differs from person to person.’
On Thursday 9th March, TWGSB hosted another Battle of the Bands. The event was well attended with 200+ guests and the atmosphere was phenomenal. With creatively decorated tables, the PTA selling their wares at the back of the hall and mood lighting, the scene was set for a fantastic night. Twelve bands competed for a number of prizes, including the all-important top scoop of £200.
Highlights included Axel Wadsworth’s group, The Act, with its highly polished performance and female vocalist; brilliant performances from younger bands, including those from the Sevenoaks campus; and an inspirational, highly assertive, performance on the drums from one of the Weald of Kent girls.
In addition to music that really got the pulse going, there was some incredible outfits that outwardly showed the inner commitment that was clearly present in each act. Although some participants were visibly nervous prior to going on stage, they all showed admirable determination in turning this energy into superb performances. Afterwards, as they made their exit, their elated expressions displayed their sheer delight at having entertained a sizeable crowd of friends and family.
The acts then made their way back into the hall to receive feedback from a panel of five musical judges, who shared their thoughts in a supportive, sometimes gently challenging, manner. At the end of the evening, a public vote was held for the audience’s favourite act, prior to all participants lining up in front of the stage for the final award ceremony.
With judges up on stage, winners were announced and asked to join them to collect their gift bags. Finally, runner-up and best in show were declared, taking home a two-hour recording session and the £200 top prize respectively.
TWGSB's Music department wishes to thank all who made the event possible, including the PTA, the sound technicians (Year 12 Music Tech students) and the lighting technicians (Lucas Thraves and Will Dennis), Jason Fiveash, Mrs Wadsworth and Abbey Music, MusicStation, King AardvarK's Big Band and JAM Joe's Academy of Music for their sponsorship and support of this event!
We look forward to welcoming you to our next event, the summer Festival of Arts, on 20th and 22nd June.
Mr Joris (Head of Music)
Earlier this month our Year 9 students had a wonderful opportunity to see a production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre, London.
The production itself was a fantastic retelling of the story, with outstanding performances from an accomplished cast, which included Matthew Modine as Atticus (Stranger Things – WOW!), and Jason Hughes as the antagonist Bob Ewell (Midsomer Murders), among others.
The modern adaptation of the show helped to bring the story to life and reminded us of why the issues that it raises are still relevant today. It maintained Harper Lee’s important moral messages, while providing plenty of moments of humour.
It was important for the students to experience live theatre in preparation for the study of their GCSE modern play An Inspector Calls next year. Their behaviour was exemplary and they really relished the chance to see how this seminal story was adapted for a contemporary audience.
Miss Steane (Head of English)
The Drama and Theatre Studies department are delighted to invite you to our school production of Treasure Island. Students in Years 7–9 at the Tunbridge Wells campus have been hard at work rehearsing since December and are looking forward to sharing their efforts with the school community.
Tickets cost £3.50 each and are available to purchase from Friday 31st March in the usual way via the shop/trolley icon in the ‘Payments’ section of the MyEd app.
Show dates are Tuesday 25th April and Wednesday 26th April in the Main Hall at 18:30 (doors will open at 18:00).
Details of the Sevenoaks campus production will follow in due course.
Miss E Turner (Head of Drama & Theatre Studies)
Sarah Humphrey, currently at TWGSB, and former student George Jeal were lucky enough to audition for and get parts in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, shown at Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, over the February half-term. The pair completed four live shows – Sarah was a drag queen and ensemble; George played Dean and a drag queen. It was a fantastic show to be a part of and they learnt much about acting, performing and being part of a professional cast. Rehearsals for the show started in November working with the stage director and choreographer.
Trinity Theatre run weekly drama clubs for Years 7–13 and backstage workshops. There is an opportunity for students to audition for upcoming shows like Chicago, Frozen, Les Misérables to name a few over the coming year. They also have an active orchestra so our young musicians can also take part! www.trinityyouththeatre.co.uk
Ms Smith set her Year 10 GCSE Food and Nutrition class an interesting challenge last week: ‘To plate a Tunnock's teacake dessert attractively and professionally’.
The students were given a range of materials and let their artistic imaginations run free. They certainly rose to the challenge, some producing some restaurant-worthy dessert plates. It was hard to choose the best one and Mrs Smith asked our Deputy Headteacher Mr Jackson to help out. The top three were desserts by Fergus G, Lewis G and Sonny L. Fergus made sweet sushi and yes there is a Tunnock's teacake in there!
Well done Year 10s.
The Year 7s at the Sevenoaks campus have been showing their creative side this term with Mrs Geer. It was very hard for Mr Smith and Mrs Geer to judge this year's cakes as there were so many great cakes to choose from. However after much deliberation, this year's winners are:
7H – Wilf G
7I – Joss C
7J – Oscar B-W
Happy Easter all!
Mrs Smith (Head of Food & Nutrition)
The Year 8 U13A team has had an outstanding season. The team reached the quarter-final of the ESFA Elite National Cup before losing to an exceptional Shenfield High School team from Essex, which had nine pro club academy players. Our team recovered very well to win the Kent Cup, winning 5-1 in the final against Wrotham. This was played at the Maidstone United FC stadium. Our team won all the previous rounds comfortably with the exception of the semi-final, which was a very close 2-1 win against a strong Eden Park team. Winning the Kent Cup is an excellent achievement as 74 schools entered from all over Kent. Very well done boys!
The Year 7 U12 B team has also performed brilliantly to reach the semi-final of the ESFA National Cup. The team plays Shenfield High School away in Essex on Saturday 1st April. The winners will play the National Cup Final at the West Bromwich Albion FC stadium in May. Our team won 6-0 away against Hampton School in the last 16 and then won 5-1 at home in the quarter-final against Ivybridge from Plymouth in Devon. We wish the boys the best of luck for the National Cup semi-final.
The U18 2nd XI and the U16 B teams both performed very well to reach the last 16 of their ESFA National Cups before losing close games (3-1 and 2-1 respectively) against very strong opposition. Both opponents have gone on to reach the National Cup Final.
After-school training sessions have been very well attended throughout the academic year. These have been for Years 7 to 11 inclusive. Training has been held in Tunbridge Wells on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in Sevenoaks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. These have taken place on our two 3G pitches. Over 170 students have attended training each week from Years 7 to 11 throughout the harsh winter weather from the start of January until the end of March.
It has been an excellent and very enjoyable season. We thank all these students for all their efforts!
Mr Menzies (Head of Football)
The 2023 Spring Inter-house tournament kicked off on a typical wet damp spring morning. Over 800 students across four school years took part in the event over a two-week period, which included football, table tennis, basketball and rugby.
On the football pitch the players quickly organised their own warm-ups and were given bonus points for a well-organised warm-up with further points awarded for correct kit. On the 3G the rugby teachers made the rules clear and the students practised their moves brilliantly.
In the shiny new sports hall the sport was basketball; and in the Studio table tennis. Mr (Table Tennis) Menzies gave everyone an explanation of their roles. The games across all sports were exciting, fast and furious and no quarter was given.
After an incredible 90 games of competitive sports the final results were in. Congratulations to overall winners – Ightham.
Well done everyone for taking part! A breakdown of the results can be found here.
Oscar B-D (Yr 7) (editor), Derek A-W (Yr 7) (reporter), Brorhie E (Yr 7) (photographer), Shaan T (Yr 7) (main writer)
English Schools Cross Country Championships
Four of our TWGSB boys took part in the English Schools Cross Country Championships at Wollaton Park, Nottingham, on the 18th March. TWGSB sponsored them to take part in the event (covering their kit, transport and accommodation for the event) and the runners were Henry C (Yr 9), Ewan P (Yr 9), Connor P (Yr 10) and Angus C (Yr 13).
Kent did extremely well amongst the 45 County Teams taking part. The Boys teams finished second in all three age categories, meaning Kent retained the Overall Boys Team Trophy for a fourth consecutive year. Special mention to Henry C who was in the top 20 for his race – an incredible achievement! Well done boys, you are a credit to the school!
The second TWGSB Inter-house Cross Country event was held in the first week back of the Spring term and proved to be a fantastic success with over 800 students participating in the event. Each student’s efforts were rewarded with a place that went towards the overall score for their house. There were some outstanding performances with many of our National Champions taking part in the event.
The cross country competition is now firmly established in the TWGSB calendar and is an annual opportunity for students to experience this mass participation event and hopefully encourage a lifelong commitment to running and exercise.
(Great photos of our Sevenoaks campus thanks to Mr Wilson and his drone!)
The day began at 08:00 as we boarded the coach and headed towards Queens' College Cambridge. We arrived around 10:00 and were guided towards the college; we were in awe at the beautiful historic buildings across the town. Finally, we were seated in one of the many halls and began listening to a postgraduate at Cambridge, exploring the administrative process of applying for an Oxbridge college.
The primary focus of the talk was advice about the construction of an ideal personal statement, one that focused on supra-extracurricular activities and highlights the applicant's passion for their chosen course. During this time students were able to ask questions such as the differences between the many colleges in Cambridge. This specific question was answered in a PowerPoint exploring the differences. However, the general advice was to look at your desired course and apply for the college that offers the best course for you.
Following the talk, we were split into three groups for a tour of the college. The additional tour leaders were two undergraduate students, who were able to describe their first hand experience as a student. One of the many stand out aspects of the college was its stunning chapel, home of the grand organ. We then took a break for lunch with the main meal being a roast; we were delighted by the beautiful Refectory. The final activity of the day was our free time around the town, taking in the academic atmosphere of the gothic buildings. The day concluded when we said our final goodbyes to our main guide and headed back on the coach towards school.
Overall, the experience was extremely informative providing the students with clear advice on not only the process to enrol in Cambridge but also what life is like studying and researching at a university.
(David W, Year 12)
TWGSB staff took some students to Knockhatch Ski Centre in preparation for the school skiing trip to Italy in the Easter holidays. It was their first experience of skiing and they all did brilliantly, progressing quickly up the hill and starting to make turns. Next stop Sauze d’Oulx!
On Tuesday 28th February TWGSB held its second inter-school chess competition with TWGGS after our first successful event with Skinners’ and Bennett last year. In the battle for grammar school chess supremacy, TWGSB was valiantly represented by Josh (10E), Stephen (10H), Ishaan (8C), Aditya (8G), Shivesh (8G), Sankirth (8G) and Fletcher (8G) with special congratulations going to Josh who won the individual competition.
A great time was had by all and special thanks to Mrs Calvert, Mrs Hawkes and Mrs Fedrick who all helped to supervise.
(Tom A, Year 13)
Over 150 students from Kent schools were invited to learn about the youth work across the county in conjunction with multiple agencies, which is being done to eradicate knife and offensive weapon crime and criminal behaviour. Eight of our Year 12 and Year 13 students attended the event at the Ashford International Hotel.
There was a drama re-enactment of the impact that a fatal stabbing has on all people connected to that young person. The schools were split into groups to work on a presentation on a subject, which may contribute to a situation where young people resort to anti-social behaviours. Our students worked on the subject of ‘Poverty’.
The successful presentation brought with it a £5,000 prize fund to go towards enabling their idea. Unfortunately we didn’t win but thanks to the students for their clear message, impeccable manners and engagement across the day.
Thanks also to Mr Lewis for taking the day out to drive us there.
Mrs Spain (Pastoral Support KS5)
Page Turners Book Club, 2023 Theme – Bravery
On Thursday 23rd March, Kent College hosted TWGSB and 14 other local schools for a fantastic book awards evening. Our 20 boys and three staff had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. In a change from other years, we had contributions from six authors rather than just two. The authors who took part were Robin Talley, Jaco Jacobs, A. M Dassu and Tom Palmer. They provided bespoke video talks about their books. Two authors spoke live to the audience via MSTeams – Susin Neilson from Canada and Neil Grant from Australia.
Both live authors gave very interesting talks about writing and the inspiration behind their storytelling. Susin’s book No Fixed Address concerned the bravery of boy living in a camper van with his mother, dealing with all the associated problems that such a lifestyle would create, and having to deal with how different he feels to his friends at school.
Neil Grant’s The Honeyman and the Hunter featured a teenage boy’s bravery growing up in a mixed-race home. Most young adult fiction we read tends to be Eurocentric, maybe reaching across into the US. So this book was quite an unusual and therefore enlightening read because it was set between two continents with which we are less familiar in writing – that of Australia and India. Our students had a plethora of questions for Neil, which he answered in a thorough and engaging manner.
The favourite book from the shortlist of ten is awarded on the night. This year the award went to Susin Neilson, the judges being the students from the participating schools.
The students purchased a lot of books from the bookseller and eagerly devoured their katsu curry and brownies during the interval.
There were various competitions during the evening. Three of our students were in the running for a prize, William V (Year 8) for his book review of When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson, Mohid J (Year 7) who entered three book reviews, one of which was for A Good Day to Climb Tees by Jaco Jacobs and Sankith A ( Year 8) who wrote a phenomenal 18-page book review plus PowerPoint presentation of When Stars are Scattered.
Part of the event is to dress the stage with props relating to the shortlisted books. TWGSB provided homemade honey bee lanterns; bees being a feature of The Honeyman and the Hunter.
The aim of the book club is to enable young people to pick up and read a book that they wouldn’t otherwise read. This introduces them to new genres and new experiences to broaden their horizons. The students had attended weekly book club meetings and read some current fiction as well as old favourites such as The Hobbit.
Mrs Musselwhite Steel (Library Manager)
We have been lucky enough to enjoy regular visits from our new friend, Bill the Harris Hawk, who has been employed (via Safeguard) and with his handler, Ross, to re-enact the ancient art of falconry in order to clear and deter problem seagulls visiting our playgrounds. Bill is specifically trained for this role and is an effective, eco-friendly and natural solution. Bill is often selected for this role over other species of birds of prey due to the Harris Hawk’s manoeuvrabilityn which helps the company to access wherever the problem birds are, while their easy-going nature means they adapt well to flying in busy environments, too.
Non-uniform day on Friday 17th March was held to raise money for the Head Students chosen charities: Tunbridge Wells Welcomes Refugees and Sevenoaks Welcomes Refugees. The total amount raised was £2,419.00. Well done all!
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