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The Novi Curriculum

Headmaster’s Welcome The experience that awaits boys who are about to join us can perhaps be summed up in a single word: opportunity. I believe that ‘a Tonbridge education’ offers an unrivalled breadth, depth and richness of experience: one which will, I hope, be full of the enjoyment of learning and the excitement of discovery. We pride ourselves on academic and teaching excellence, and it is very pleasing to see boys being rewarded for their hard work with excellent GCSE and A-level grades each year. The intellectual life of the school is about far more than public examination results, however, and I am always impressed when I see some of the amazing art, drama, musical performances, exhibitions and other creative work which adds such colour and character to each term. Co-curricular activities are one of our major strengths here at Tonbridge, and there are opportunities for everyone to be

involved with a wide range of clubs and societies, and to play a variety of sports. Alongside outstanding facilities, we have dedicated staff who are committed to their pupils’ learning and growth, within and beyond the classroom. Above all, we want learning here to be fun; for curiosity to be kindled, and for boys to be open to new activities and experiences. We believe in giving everyone the space, time and opportunity to enjoy their school lives as they begin their journey with us. James Priory

The Novi Curriculum Tonbridge School aims to provide a caring and enlightened environment in which the talents of each individual flourish. We encourage boys to be creative, tolerant and to strive for academic, sporting and cultural excellence. Respect for tradition and an openness to innovation are equally valued. Pupils arrive at Tonbridge School in Year 9 via a number of routes. The majority come from English prep schools, while a substantial minority will have taken our own Scholarship Examination. A smaller number come from overseas or from local state schools. On arrival, the boys are placed in one of seven forms, 1F1 to 1F7. Each form has a similar level of ability and will contain a mix of boys entering via the three different routes as described above. The Academic Scholars are spread between the seven forms. We also place boys from the larger feeder prep schools in each of the seven different forms, in order to encourage the formation of new friendship groups.

We also try to ensure that there are several boys from the same Boarding or Day House in each form. The boys spend just over half of their lesson time in their forms, which are used for these subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Divinity, Digital Creativity, Drama, Art, Music, Design Technology and PE.

developing ability suggests is appropriate. Moves are often made after the end of Michaelmas Term examinations, for instance.

English For English, the year group is split into two halves, with a top set in each half called EN1P1 and EN1Q1. The remaining sets are mixed ability and smaller in size. The top sets are chosen on performance in entrance examinations in English.

Classics In Classics, we find that the boys arrive with a wide range of prior experience. A substantial minority arrive having never studied Latin; this is not a problem as we have sets for beginners. Others arrive having studied Latin, and in a small number of cases Greek as well, for a number of years.

Parents should be reassured that all boys will be appropriately stretched and challenged in their Maths lessons, regardless of set.

Mathematics For Mathematics, the whole year group is taught in seven sets called Ma1M1 to Ma1M7. These are not based on the forms but, instead, on the boys’ performance in their entrance exams in Maths, with Ma1M1 being the fastest moving set and Ma1M7 the steadiest.

Consequently, for Classics, we place the boys in different groups from their other subjects. These groups depend on their prior experience. Some boys, whose Latin is very strong, are placed in one of two sets called LG1J1 or LG1K1; these boys study both Latin and Greek in their Classics lessons.

As all the boys have Maths lessons at the same time it is relatively straightforward to move boys between sets, at such times as their

The remaining boys are placed in Latin sets appropriate to their ability and prior experience.


The Novi Curriculum Modern Languages All boys in the Novi study two Modern Languages. We offer four languages: French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. One of these languages should be one which a boy has been studying already (his ‘continuation’ language) and the other can be started from scratch or continued if he has previously studied two languages. Boys are expected to take at least one of these languages through to GCSE. Parents can find out more about this, and make their choices, via the Admissions Portal.

French This is likely to be the most popular language, as many boys will have been studying it for a number of years, although it is not compulsory at Tonbridge. We do not offer French “from scratch” but boys will be placed in sets according to ability and experience if they opt for this language. Therefore we only offer continuation French. German This language is usually available “from scratch” only, as demand is normally insufficient for a continuation set. German is the mostspoken mother tongue in Europe with 120 million speakers; it is a common language for many parts of Eastern Europe and the language of one of the world’s largest economies.

The only curriculum choice that must be made prior to arrival is which two Modern Languages will be studied.


Spanish This is available either as a continuation language, if a boy has been learning it for two years by the time he arrives at Tonbridge, or “from scratch”. Like German, it is a phonetic language and is therefore relatively easy to pronounce, while its Latin roots and similarities to French enable rapid initial progress. Mandarin This will be offered in two sets. One set is for boys who already have experience of Mandarin or Cantonese. The other will be a set of boys starting the language from scratch. Mandarin is spoken by more people than any other language in the world.

The Novi Curriculum Subjects and timetable The Novi academic experience is based upon breadth, which means that boys study a large number of subjects across the two-week timetable. Our aim is that boys will be able to make an informed choice about their GCSE subjects as they progress during the Novi Year. The Tonbridge timetable works on a two-week cycle, including 72 forty-minute periods. Certain subjects will have a relatively small number of periods in the cycle. See table on page 6. Academic Scholars Academic Scholars have a programme of additional activities under the epithet Novi Athena, organised by the Tutor to the Academic Scholars, Mr Julian Dobson.

Music Award holders In order to provide sufficient practice time for Music Award holders, many of whom learn two or more instruments, parents are asked to consult their sons about which subject or pair of subjects they will opt out of. It is hoped that the boys can organise their individual instrumental lessons to coincide with some of these ‘free’ periods. The possible subjects that can be omitted are from the following list: 1. Second Modern Language (6 periods per fortnight, or ppf); 2. Latin (6 ppf); 3. Art and Drama (5 ppf); 4. Art and Technology (6 ppf); 5. Drama and Technology (5 ppf). Lower Master and PSHEE Josie McNeil is Lower Master and is responsible for the Novi and the Second Year. She oversees the PSHEE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) Programme, and the Wednesday Afternoon Activities Programme, for these two years. PSHEE, which is also delivered within assembly, allows House Novi groups to experience a varied programme of activities during the course of the year. In addition to other PSHEE topics, boys learn about conservation, orienteering, anti-bullying, the work of the School Counsellor and shelter building. They take part in a community project for part of the Lent Term (past projects have included reading with local primary school children), and in the Summer Term there is an introduction to the CCF (Combined Cadet Force).


The Novi Curriculum Learning Strategies The Learning Strategies Department is available to all pupils and helps ensure that Tonbridge is an educationally inclusive environment where the teaching and learning, achievements and well-being of every pupil matter. The Novi boys are given a bespoke programme called Learning to Learn, which takes place during some English lessons. This programme focuses on study skills and revision techniques. The Learning Strategies Department also provides support for all boys with a specified learning issue such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, and for those with other types of special education needs. It is located on the Lower Ground Floor of the Smythe Library and parents are welcome to get in touch or arrange a visit.

Subjects are allocated periods as follows:


English 8 Continuation Modern Language 6 Second Modern Language 6 Latin1 6 Geography 3 History 3 Divinity 3 Drama 2 PE 2


Mathematics 7 Physics 5 Chemistry 5 Biology 5 Technology2 3 Digital creativity3 3 Art 3 Music 2

1. Boys in the top Latin sets do Greek in some of their Latin lessons. 2. Technology is a composite course involving elements of Design Technology and Electronics. 3. Digital Creativity is a computing course but also involves use of our film and audio facilities.


The Novi Curriculum


Tonbridge School, High Street, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1JP 01732 304297 admissions@tonbridge-school.org /TonbridgeUK @TonbridgeUK tonbridge-school.co.uk Tonbridge School is a registered charity No. 1097977 The information contained in the brochure is accurate at the time of going to press.

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The Novi Curriculum  

The Novi Curriculum  

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