Mitchener Hall packed for Miss Barbara Mitchener’s Thanksgiving

Over 70 alumni, including former staff, students and governors were joined by current staff and members of Mitchener House to celebrate the life of Miss Mitchener and her service to the School. 

Miss Mitchener, who sadly passed away on 26 August 2018, was Headmistress at Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls (now Tonbridge Grammar School) from 1974-1990. 

Tributes were made by Jane Dawson, who was Deputy Head from 1986-1992, and former pupils Sarah White (Wakefield), Fiona Williams (Brown), Emma Watson (Batchelor) and Jane Bishop a former pupil and currently Assistant Head Teacher at Tonbridge Grammar School (TGS). 

Their reminiscences painted a picture of a woman who had the highest aspirations for her students and gave them the skills and confidence to do whatever they wanted to in life and taught them that there were no barriers.   

Hymns were accompanied by the rousing sound of the TGS Brass Ensemble and guests listened to moving music performed by the Chamber Ensemble and Harp Soloist Isabel Samuel. 

Following the service, attendees enjoyed looking at photographs and memorabilia, and sharing their memories of Miss Mitchener.  

Rosemary Joyce, Head Teacher at TGS, commented “The fact that so many alumni joined us in our thanksgiving is testament to how warmly people thought of Barbara.  I was privileged to know her through her continued engagement with the School long after her retirement. Her leadership was marked by a genuine commitment to promote the highest aspiration for the students in her care to be successful and make their mark on the world. I am proud that these principles remain very much part of everyday life at Tonbridge Grammar School”.  

Many past students have shared their memories of Miss Mitchener: 

“Thank you for creating a wonderful, safe, aspirational school, for giving me some of the happiest years of my life and for instilling in all of us the importance of our school motto ‘courage and honour’ as we went out into the world” 

“A wonderful head teacher, who inspired a generation of young women to believe in themselves, raise standards and lead others in the same. Thank you”. 

“I remember Miss Mitchener as a strict but fair head teacher. She had high standards & expectations of her students, which we didn't appreciate at the time!”. 

“I was always struck by the care and attention she gave to the students and staff”.