The Royal Hospital School (RHS) is a modern, forward-thinking HMC school (1997) anchored on 300 years of history and achievement. The School enjoys a stunning location in rural Suffolk and school life is enriched by a strong naval tradition. RHS (part of the Crown Charity, Greenwich Hospital) is an independent, co-educational boarding and day school whose purpose is to contribute to society through excellence in the teaching and learning of 11-18 year old boys and girls.


These are the aims of the Royal Hospital School:

  • to promote academic excellence and realise the full potential of every pupil
  • to foster creativity and imagination
  • to encourage leadership, adventure and self-discovery
  • to endorse the values of service, loyalty and commitment and uphold the School's unique and rich heritage
  • to cultivate a global outlook and environmental responsibility
  • to nurture pastoral excellence and a strong sense of community
  • to develop fitness, wellbeing and healthy competition.

School Structure

Lower School (Junior Houses)

Year 7 - Age 11+ - Key Stage 3

Year 8 - Age 12+ - Key Stage 3

Middle School (Senior Houses)

Year 9 - Age 13+ - Key Stage 3 (pre-GCSE foundation)

Year 10 - Age 14+ - Key Stage 4 (GCSE Year 1)

Year 11 - Age 15+ - Key Stage 4 (GCSE Year 2)

Sixth Form

Year 12 (Senior House) - Age 16+ - AS Course

Year 13 (Nelson House) - Age 17+ - A2 Course

The School Day

The School operates a six day teaching week although pupils in the Lower School (Years 7 and 8) have one morning and two afternoons of games per week. Pupils in the Middle School have two afternoons of games and one afternoon when they take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme or Combined Cadet Force. Saturday lessons end at 12noon followed by sport for everyone in the afternoon.

Day pupils can arrive between 7.30am and 8am in the morning and may leave at the end of their school commitments. Junior pupils may stay up until 6.15pm and day pupils in Raleigh can stay up until 7pm. Day Boarders in Years 9 to 13 may stay in the Boarding House to complete their prep until 9pm or 10pm depending on age.

The general pattern of the day is as follows but this may change subject to age group and personal commitments:

07.30 Breakfast for boarders

08.00 Day pupils arrive. House meeting

08.30 Assembly or Chapel

08.50 Lessons

10.40 Break

11.10 Lessons

13.00 Lunch

14.15 Lessons

16.10 Junior prep. Senior practice sessions and activities.

17.00 Junior activities

18.00 Day pupils depart. Supper for boarders.

19.00 House meeting followed by junior boarders activities or prep for Middle School and Sixth Form.

Day pupils and weekly boarders are free to depart after their sports commitments on Saturdays, which is normally around 3.30 to 4.00pm, depending on fixtures. On Saturday evenings there are always a number of different activities on offer, including discos, film nights, House entertainment and barbecues. Sundays tend to be quieter, but the Sports Hall is normally open for indoor games, as is the swimming pool for supervised free swims. There are also regular excursions on offer for boarders such as trips to the beach, roller-skating, ice-skating, sailing or dry skiing.

Heritage and Traditions

The Royal Hospital School has recently celebrated its tercentenary and to mark the occasion opened a Heritage Centre and Archive to display and store all the important documents and artefacts associated with its history.

The School was founded in 1712 as part of Greenwich Hospital, a 'charitable institution for the aged, infirm or young', and was established to provide boys from seafaring backgrounds with the rare privilege of learning arithmetic and navigation. It was at this time located in the spectacular buildings which now house the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.

As the School's reputation burgeoned, there were more applicants than places, resulting in a move to its current impressive campus in 200 acres of Suffolk countryside in 1933. Here the boys could benefit from space and fresh air as well as excellent purpose-built facilities.

The School is proud of its rich seafaring history and this maritime heritage lives on in the daily life of the school through a number of traditions, including:

Sailing All Year 7 pupils are given the opportunity to learn to sail, and talent in sailing is encouraged and developed throughout the School.

Flag Ceremony The daily raising and lowering of the School Ensign, referred to by pupils and staff as 'Flag'

Divisions All pupils are supplied with a naval uniform and taught the rudiments of marching for formal parades, called Divisions. These spectacular ceremonies, which generate tremendous pride in pupils and parents alike, are held on various dates during the year, five of which coincide with annual events: Harvest Festival (October), Remembrance Service (November), Confirmation Day (March), Founders' Day (May) and Sports Day (June).

Naval Commemorations We have a tradition of marking key naval events, such as celebrating victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Houses The School Houses are named after prominent naval figures.


The core values of the Royal Hospital School are based on the Christian faith. However, pupils come from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds and we respect all beliefs.

The Chapel is regarded as being at the spiritual hub of school life and all pupils are expected to regularly take part in the act of corporate worship. A Chapel Service occurs three mornings per week and on most Sundays. Families and friends are always very welcome to join the congregation on Sundays and major services are very well attended.

Board of Governors

Mr H Strutt Chairman of Governors. Chairman of the Finance and Strategy Sub Committee, Nominations Sub Committee and Remuneration Sub Committee. Financier with senior international experience.
Mr J Gamp Member of the Finance and Strategy Sub Committee, Property Sub Committee and Remuneration Sub Committee. Clerk in Charge and Deputy Director of Greenwich Hospital.
Mr H Player Member of the Nominations Sub Committee.
Mr J Agar
Brigadier K Beaton OBE QHP Vice President RHSA (alumni association) and former parent
Mrs V Bidwell Chair of the Education Sub Committee and member of the Finance and Strategy Sub Committee and Nominations Sub Committee. Former Headmistress and current Independent Schools' Inspector.
Mr T Hill, QC Member of the Property Sub Committee. Queen's Counsel.
Mr A Kerr Chair of Property Sub Committee and Member of the Finance and Strategy Sub Committee. Parent of current pupil.
Mr J Lynas Member of the Education Sub Committee. Nominated “Safeguarding†Governor. Consultant with Winckworth Sherwood, specialising in employment law.
Dr P Marshall Member of the Education Sub Committee and Property Sub Committee. Governor with responsibility for the pastoral support of pupils.
Mr P Smith Former Headmaster of Truro School.
Capt. A Tate Member of the Finance and Strategy Sub Committee and Nominations Sub Committee. Retired RN member.
Mrs L Todd Member of the Finance and Strategy Sub Committee and Nominations Sub Committee. Deputy District Judge and current parent.

Staff List

A full list of staff is available to download here.

Inspection Reports

2015 Standard Inspection Report (Download here)
2012 Interim Boarding Report (Download here)