Pioneer Award

An Australian adventure for Suffolk School Boy

A Year 10 pupil at the Royal Hospital School, Suffolk, has won a prestigious award to attend school in the Australian capital, Canberra.

Brad Rixon is a boarder at the Royal Hospital School (RHS) a co-educational boarding and day school for 11 to 18 year olds and lives with his family in Portsmouth. He has won a 'Pioneer Award' from the Britain-Australia Society Education Trust (BASET) to facilitate this exciting adventure.

Brad has travelled to Australia this summer to attend Canberra Grammar School (CGS) as boarder at the school but will also be hosted by a family to ensure he has the opportunity to soak up life and culture 'down under'. When he returns to the UK in September to continue with his GCSEs in Year 11, he will bring with him, a CGS pupil who will attend RHS for the Michaelmas Term.

Brad's family has a seafaring background and he attends the Royal Hospital School through the generosity of Greenwich Hospital. He went through a rigorous selection process to receive his award; as well as submitting a personal statement to both BASET and CGS, he impressed Mr John May, Chairman of Trustees of BASET, at interview.

"I am really excited," said Brad. "I am keen to travel and I have always wanted to go to Australia. The exchange will help me to gain a higher level of independence. I am prepared to be open-minded and ready to get involved in new things. I am also looking forward to hosting an Australian pupil who will be coming back with me in September, introducing him to my friends and showing him what my school stands for - especially the naval heritage which has been so important to me and my family".

The Royal Hospital School was founded in 1712 in Greenwich London to 'improve navigation' through education and as it prepared boys for a life at sea, many went on to be explorers and pioneers of their time.

Headmaster, Simon Lockyer, explains, "Discovery, exploration and challenge have been the bedrock of our education for over 300 years and continue to shape our ethos today. We are immensely proud of our historic links and our traditional values of loyalty, commitment, courage, respect, service and integrity have underpinned the schools aims and philosophy from the very beginning. Three hundred years later, they are as relevant to the education we provide now, as they were then".

BASET is a charity which sponsors young people from both the United Kingdom and Australia to enable them to learn new skills, experience a different culture, and expand and develop links between the two nations. BASET's award programme is the legacy of its intitiative in 2014 to commemorate one of the Royal Hospital School's most prominent alumni and greatest pioneers of the time, Admiral Arthur Phillip, who was the first Governor of New South Wales.

In 2016, BASET made its first Award that funded a Royal Hospital School pupil to go to Cranbrook School in Sydney and on his return he shared his experiences with BASET which has enabled them to develop how they might support young people going forward. He was cited as the 'pioneer' of the scheme leading to the award being broadened and relaunched as the Pioneer Award.

BASET Pioneer Awards facilitate a visit to an Australian School for an educational and cultural exchange and cover the costs of travel and living expenses. Exchange Coordinator, Steve Eales, said, "Canberra Grammar School was identified as a suitable exchange partner as it has 14 years' experience of running programmes with schools in the UK and around the world and its ethos and values fit extremely well with our own".

Headmaster, Simon Lockyer, said, "We inspire our pupils to have the courage to be ambitious for their futures whichever path they choose and I am pleased that our pupils do so with commitment, integrity and belief in themselves. This is a wonderful opportunity for Brad and I believe he will gain much from the experience".

John May, Chairman of Trustees of BASET added 'We are delighted for Brad. He is a deserving recipient of the BASET Pioneer Award. Britain and Australia share a common heritage and an exciting future. We hope that his experience this year will help him contribute to that future and further strengthen links between our two great countries.'