Tonbridge Grammar School is absolutely bursting with enrichment opportunities for students. There is something for everyone and students should be encouraged to try as many new activities as they can during their time at the school. Students who already have a strong interest in sport, music and so on will be able to represent a school with a rich tradition of excelling at the county and national level.
What many schools term ‘extra-curricular’ activities, for us at TGS forms the ‘Co-Curriculum’, an intrinsic and valued part of what we do educationally. We are committed to providing a first class education and our provision enables us to offer exciting co-curricular opportunities to our students at lunchtimes, after school, on Saturdays and some times in the holidays as well. Our co-curricular programme is designed to provide the breadth to the educational experience that enables us to develop the well-balanced young women and men of which we can all be rightly proud.
The core of TGS enrichment is called Action! Every week for one afternoon, external providers and motivational Sixth Form students work together to allow Year 7 and 8s to get involved in everything from cake decoration to special effects make-up to circus skills.
Beyond Wednesday afternoons, many teachers and older students run a wide range of lunchtime clubs. Some are linked to academic subjects for those students who particularly enjoy them and want to expand their knowledge, such as History Club. Others are extra-curricular giving the students a chance to learn about something new that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to, such as Ancient Greek Club and Japanese Club. Students with a strong interest in sustainability and the environment could join the Eco Monkey Club which works to make TGS a more environmentally friendly place.
Of course, alongside these more informal clubs are a wide range of sports teams and musical groups. The sheer range of these cater for all students: those who want to get have fun with something new all the way up to those who want to compete at the highest level.
Academically, students are enriched by teachers giving up their time to run clinics and Q&A sessions at lunchtimes to help entrench understanding. Especially appreciated by existing students are subject clinics (Maths and Science are very popular). As students move up the school there are many opportunities for them to give something back by helping younger students with mentoring and academic support.
An integral aspect of the Co-Curriculum at TGS is the range of educational visits that we offer, both at home and overseas. Our co-curricular programme has recently seen our students visit such diverse sites as London’s Science & Natural History museums and the Ypres WWI battlefields. Numerous trips take TGS students all over the world every year. Recent overseas visits have taken place to all corners of the world, including Iceland (Geography/ESS), Geneva (Languages), Holland (Mathematics), Germany (Music), Naples (Classics & Art) & Washington (Economics & History).
Some trips are run by departments, for example Art’s recent trip to the British Museum, English and Drama’s many visits to the Theatre, the Geography and ESS visit to Iceland and exchanges with European schools in France, Spain and Germany. Other trips link to the school’s ethos of service such as the annual expedition to help build up an impoverished community in Malawi. The many TGS students who are passionate about supporting charitable causes are able to make a difference through a student-led fund raising programme that rolls throughout the year and raises thousands of pounds for many international charities.
Many of the skills developed through co-curricular activities are directly transferable to the academic arena. These include problem-solving, working as a team and performing under pressure in front of an audience. The necessary self-discipline and commitment to practice that are fundamental to success in these areas are also mirrored in the classroom.
Without a doubt there are so many enrichment opportunities available for TGS students that they could keep trying new things and keep developing existing interests every day of their school life. We encourage all students to be active and to get involved. New skills, new friends, new knowledge and fun are all available every day.