The House system is at the heart of school life at the Royal Hospital School and great emphasis is placed on a close partnership between pupil, school and parents. Each House is a thriving community with its own distinct identity and both day pupils and boarders are encouraged to participate fully in House life and to take advantage of the opportunity to do their prep in school and take part in co-curricular activities.
Our diamond structured House system provides age-appropriate 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. Every pupil is also assigned a house-based tutor, who is a mentor of academic progress, co-curricular involvement and social development.
On entry at Year 7 both girls and boys, boarders and day pupils, join Blake House for one year with routines, pastoral care and facilities that provide an all-important stepping stone from primary to senior school. In Years 8 to 12 pupils are in one of three girls' boarding Houses, three boys' boarding Houses, two co-educational day Houses or a boys' day House with ad hoc boarding facilities. Each House is a thriving community with its own distinct identity. Healthy competition is encouraged between them and there are regular inter-House sports fixtures and leagues, drama and singing competitions, sailing regattas, shooting competitions and other opportunities to score House Points for annual awards. In the final year of Sixth Form, the whole year group comes together again in Nelson House which is modelled on a university hall of residence with single-study bedrooms for boarders, dedicated study space for day pupils and large social areas. Here pupils are encouraged to become more self-reliant, and will learn to achieve a balance between academic, extra-curricular and social commitments.
Around 450 pupils board at the Royal Hospital School on a full time, weekly or 3-night basis. We operate a six day week with lessons on Saturday mornings and sport in the afternoon. On Saturday evenings and Sundays there are house-based activities or whole school social events as well as cultural and shopping trips. Those living further afield will be pleased to know that we have no compulsory exeat weekends and even on our 'quite weekends' the School remains open.
Boarding can be a whole new way of life for some, but with our focus on good communication with parents and our established buddy and peer support systems, new pupils settle in quickly and before long refer to their House as a ‘home from home’.
The provision for day pupils is unrivalled compared to most day schools and includes social areas, changing and storage facilities and study rooms with full Wi-Fi access. Pupils can arrive as early as 07:30 in the morning, but by 08:10 for the daily House Meeting, and leave when the daily buses depart at around 18:00 or up until 19:00 when the Houses close. The opportunity for extended stay is very popular with working parents and provides plenty of opportunity to get involved in the co-curricular life of the school, but day pupils can leave as soon as their school commitments are completed from 16:15 if they wish.
Raleigh or Drake are co-educational day Houses and Cornwallis is for boys who require hoc boarding facilities. Day girls who wish to stay overnight on an ad hoc basis or up to 3 nights per week can choose to be a day pupil in a girls' boarding House.
This co-educational entry house has routines and pastoral care which focus specifically on the needs of 11-12 year olds. The house provides a caring, well-managed environment, which enables easier progression from primary to secondary school. Boarders sleep in rooms of six or eight beds, all of which are located on the first floor of the house together with shower and bath facilities and the laundry. The boys are in one wing and the girls in the other. Day pupils have lockers for both books and sports kit on the ground floor of the house as well as changing facilities. Both day pupils and boarders share the large common room areas which have television, games, computer and quiet rooms. There are also ad hoc boarding facilities for those wishing to try boarding or build up the number of overnight stays over a period of time.
Raleigh and Drake are houses for day boys and girls in Years 8 to 12 and they include areas for study, common rooms, computer rooms, lockable storage for books and games kit and changing facilities. Cornwallis provides similar day pupil accommodation for boys only but also has ad hoc boarding facilities for those who wish to stay overnight on occasion or up to 3 nights per week. The facilities provided are of the highest standard and specific to the needs of day pupils. The housemistress or housemaster provides excellent pastoral care and academic guidance with the support of a team of tutors attached to the house.
Day boys, whether in Raleigh, Drake or Cornwallis, may request to stay overnight on an ad hoc basis in Cornwallis House and girls in one of the girls’ boarding houses.
Year 8 boarders moving up from Blake House or new pupils entering the School at 13+ enter one of three boys’ (Collingwood, Hawke and St Vincent) or three girls’ (Anson, Hood and Howe) senior houses, each for around 60 boarding pupils. There are leisure facilities that include day rooms, table tennis and pool tables, kitchens, television rooms and a house library. Each boarder has his or her own self-contained working and sleeping accommodation. Normally, Year 8 and 9 pupils will be in four-bedded rooms with bath and shower facilities nearby and those in Years 10, 11 and 12 will be in double or single study bedrooms with en-suite facilities.
In their final year of Sixth Form, both boys and girls, boarders and day pupils, are accommodated in Nelson House, where pupils are encouraged to be more independent, with the aim of preparing them for life beyond school. One wing of the house is for girls and the other for boys, with central common room areas, kitchens, laundry room and quiet study rooms for day pupils.