Pastoral Care and Welfare

The House System

The House provides pastoral care and support for both boarding and day pupils during their time at the School. A Housemaster or Housemistress takes overall responsibility for the House, assisted on a day-to-day basis by the Matron, as well as resident and non-resident House staff. Each House is a thriving community with its own distinct identity. There are superb communal areas for relaxing and socialising, as well as quiet rooms for reading, music practice or study.

Drake and Blake These are co-educational Junior Houses for boarding and day pupils in Years 7 and 8. Pupils are also part of a House Team (Shackleton, Francis Chichester or MacArthur) for competitive events and some School and social activities. Pupils are accommodated in six- or eight-bedded rooms. Day pupils are welcome to stay overnight on an ad hoc basis in a dedicated flexi-boarding room.

Raleigh This a co-educational Senior Day House for pupils in Years 9-12. Facilities include social areas, changing and storage facilities and study rooms with Wi-Fi access.

Anson, Hood and Howe These are Senior Girls' Houses for boarders and day boarders in Years 9-12. Pupils are accommodated in four-bedded, double or single study bedrooms, depending on their age. Most rooms have en-suite facilities.

Collingwood, Hawke and St Vincent These are Senior Boys' Houses for boarders and day boarders in Years 9-12. Pupils are accommodated in four-bedded, double or single study bedrooms, depending on their age. Most rooms have en-suite facilities.

Nelson This is a co-educational boarding and day House for Year 13. Boarders are accommodated in single rooms and encouraged to be more independent in preparation for life beyond school.

Pastoral Care

Buddy System
Pupils are well prepared for the arrival of the new intake of pupils with a Buddy Training Workshop. In small groups, they are encouraged to talk about how they felt during their first few weeks of school and how they may be able to help new pupils settle in. On arrival, each new pupil is assigned his or her own Buddy.

Peer Support Mentors
We take a zero tolerance attitude to bullying, whether it is of a physical or psychological nature. There is a clear structure in place to make everyone in the School alert to possible bullying issues, ensuring that they are dealt with immediately. We have a network of Peer Support Mentors in each House, and older pupils are trained to identify and deal with potential situations around the School. They wear badges that distinguish them and everybody, therefore, knows who the Mentors are. If there is a situation that they cannot deal with they will, of course, pass it on to a member of staff. However, frequently matters are resolved at this level and potential difficulties are nipped in the bud. We would naturally ask parents who are concerned, or hear reports of any bullying incidents at the School from pupils, to let us know at once.

We operate a prefectorial system within the School, which gives older pupils the opportunity to be responsible for younger pupils. This is an important part of the process of growing up and it adds to the sense of community that is so strong within the Royal Hospital School.

House prefects are trained and appointed within each boarding House at the age of 15 or 16, once their Housemaster or Housemistress believes that they are ready for such responsibility. Their performance is closely monitored at all times and it is our general experience that they provide an important contact between the formal structure of the House and the activities of the pupils within what is their term-time home.

While prefects may reprimand pupils in their charge, the punishments are relatively minor, usually practical (for example vacuuming a carpet or cleaning a window) and must be entered into a formal punishment book. This book is checked by the Housemaster/Housemistress on a daily basis and any boy or girl who is unhappy with any aspect of a prefect's activity can appeal directly to the Head of House (a member of the Lower Sixth) or to the Housemaster/Housemistress.

All Year 13 pupils are invited to apply to be School Prefects. Through a process of consultation, interview and assessment, the Headmaster, Senior House Staff and Tutors will select approximately 20 suitable candidates, including a Head Boy, Head Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl. As well as carrying out their duties around the School, these Prefects represent the School at events and Open Days.

Good work in the classroom is recognised through the departmental reward systems. For outstanding work there are formal Distinction presentations made by the Headmaster; pupils who gain four or more in an academic year are rewarded. In the House there are rewards offered for a variety of activities, ranging from achievements on the sports field to those who have done particularly well in the half-termly assessments.

For misdemeanours in the classroom there is a detention system. In the first instance, the subject department will attempt to deal with the matter internally. However, if this fails, there are two weekday one-hour work detentions on a Wednesday and Friday afternoon. For serious breaches of School discipline, there is a two-hour detention on a Saturday evening.

Download our Child Protection Policy guide
Download our Boarding Principles and Practice guide

Health and Wellbeing

Medical Matters
You will be sent medical forms to complete and return for your son or daughter on acceptance of an offer of a place at the School.

If your son or daughter feels unwell they can go and see the House Matron at one of her regular daily surgeries. She can dispense non-prescription medication and, if appropriate, refer them to the School Health Centre. (Download our Medical Matters Guide here).

At our large, fully-equipped Health Centre there is a qualified nurse on duty at all times. Physiotherapy and counselling services are also available. All boarding pupils are registered with the School Doctor who holds regular surgeries, and there is access to both male and female doctors.

Pupils who are unwell will stay in the Health Centre and the staff there will let their parents know if it's anything other than a minor ailment. If your son or daughter needs to go to hospital, perhaps for an out-patient appointment, we have staff who act as escorts and school transport to take them.

Day pupils should remain registered with their own family GPs. In the case of illness, they will be cared for in our Health Centre until collected by their parents.

Dental Treatment
We also have a fully-equipped dental surgery, offering a full range of dental care, including orthodontics. A high standard of dental care is provided by Mr David Buchanan, BDS, LCS, RCS, Eng 1985 (GDC No 55492) and Miss Karen Vale, RDN, AInstLM (GDC No 123587). This service is available to both day and boarding pupils, and most parents find appointments during school time extremely convenient, particularly if orthodontic work is in progress.

Great emphasis is placed on preventative dentistry and regular dental inspections are provided to ensure early diagnosis of problems. Most routine orthodontic work can also be carried out, but we may seek the advice of the local hospital orthodontic consultant for complex cases.

General preventative treatment is carried out under the National Health Service and orthodontic treatment can also be offered under the National Health Service, providing your son or daughter meets the relevant criteria. Private treatment and Denplan schemes are also available on request.

To register your son or daughter (boarding or day) for our dental service, please contact the Dental Surgery, telephone 01473 326231, email

For further information, please visit


The whole school eats in the dining hall in the main school building. A self-service system operates, with pupils choosing from a wide range of different foods at each meal. Breakfast is between 7.30am and 8.20am, lunch from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and supper from 6.00pm to 6.40pm.

Catering is provided by Chartwells, a leading food service provider for independent schools. Throughout their 25-year partnership with us, they have managed and developed the School's catering, ensuring that pupils benefit from first-class service every day of the School term, accommodating all dietary needs and providing nutritionally balanced menus consisting of fresh, seasonal and, wherever possible, local produce.

View a sample menu

There is a cafe where pupils can buy a wide range of refreshments (many of which are Fairtrade and/or organic), as well as stationery, greeting cards and other miscellaneous items. Pupils are also provided with semi-skimmed milk, wholemeal and white, sliced bread, and a choice of fresh fruit daily in their House.


At the Royal Hospital School, we are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every boarding pupil. Therefore, we require the parents of all boarding pupils (including those over the age of 18) who do not live in the United Kingdom to appoint a guardian (or guardianship organisation) to act on their behalf.

While we are responsible for each pupil's welfare during term time, and will therefore undertake parentally designated responsibilities, there may be times (for example leave out weekends, ends of term or if a pupil is externally suspended) when we must be able to hand over responsibility for the pupil to another adult. This would normally be the pupil's parent. However, where parents live overseas, it will be the nominated guardian.

We do not appoint guardians on behalf of parents. It is your responsibility to nominate a guardian (or guardianship organisation) for your son or daughter. The guardian (or representative of the guardianship organisation) must meet all the following requirements:

  • be over 25 years of age
  • be a permanent resident of the United Kingdom
  • reside within two hours' travelling time from the School, either by car or public transport
  • be a 24-hour point of contact for pupil, parents and the School
  • not be a member of staff at the School
  • be prepared to act with delegated parental authority in case of emergency or in other matters as required
  • provide appropriate overnight accommodation, if required, including at the start and end of terms and half-terms.

Guardians are expected to respect the rights, religion and customs of a child and adhere to best practice in their guardianship. This should include signing an agreement with the pupil's parents, confirming the responsibilities of the guardian. If, at any time, a nominated guardian does not meet the requirements of our Guardianship Policy, we will require the parent to appoint a guardianship organisation accredited by the Association of Educational Guardians for International Students to make appropriate guardianship arrangements.

The Association of Educational Guardians for International Students (AEGIS) is a national association which monitors and regulates the welfare of international students, and provides accreditation for guardianship organisations in line with the National Minimum Standards for Boarding. For more details, please visit

All guardians are welcome to attend School events, parent meetings, concerts and sports matches. We also encourage them to make regular contact with the pupil's Housemaster or Housemistress.

Tier 4 Pupils
In the case of pupils who are in receipt of Tier 4 sponsorship and for whom we have issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), we are responsible to the UK Border Agency for the pupil at all times during the Tier 4 sponsorship. We are legally required to retain accurate records of the pupil's whereabouts, whether or not he/she is in the UK. Parents must, therefore, undertake to ensure that we are provided with relevant details and contact information for all periods when the pupil is not resident at School.

To appoint a guardian for your son or daughter, you should complete and return our Guardian Nomination Form, which must be signed by you and the nominated guardian or a representative of the nominated guardianship organisation.

For more information, please download our Guardian Policy

Communications with Home

All pupils have their own email addresses and access to the internet. Pupils may bring their own mobile telephones to School. There is also access to a landline telephone and video calling facilities in each House.

School Uniform

A full list of school uniform and equipment for boarders and day pupils will be sent you on acceptance of an offer of a place.

Alternatively, you can download the Uniform List here.

The majority of school uniform and sportswear is available to purchase online from an independent retailer, Schoolblazer, which offers an intelligent sizing system and free name-taping service. Visit

Ceremonial uniform, including shoes and Combined Cadet Force (CCF) uniforms, are provided free of charge and fitted by the School. There is a charge of CCF boots and some additional items of CCF uniform.