A Thriving Community

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.


The Royal Hospital School House System

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.


Year 7 day & boarding

On entry at Year 7 both girls and boys, boarders and day pupils, join Blake House with routines, pastoral care and facilities that provide an all-important stepping stone from primary to senior school. On reaching Year 8, the pupils move to a senior day or boarding house.

Year 8 to 12 DAY & Boarding

In Years 8 to 12, day pupils are based in one of three co-educational day houses and our boarding pupils are based in one of two girls' boarding houses or three boys' boarding houses. 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.

Final Year of Sixth Form

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 (one wing for boys and one for girls), 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 'quiet 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’.

Day Pupils

The provision for day pupils is unrivaled 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 08:20 for the daily House Meeting, and leave when the daily buses depart at around 18:15 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.

RaleighDrake and Cornwallis are for boys and girls. Day pupils who wish to stay overnight on an ad hoc basis can request a boarding space in one of boarding houses as required.

From September 2024, Year 7 will not take part in formal Saturday lessons but an engaging sports and co-curricular programme will be provided for our boarders, which will be optional for day pupils.

Blake House (Year 7 day & boarding)

Blake House is a co-educational entry house has routines and pastoral care which focus specifically on the needs of this age group. 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.

Senior Day Houses (Years 8-12)

RaleighDrake and Cornwallis 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. The housemistress or housemaster provides excellent pastoral care and academic guidance with the support of a team of tutors attached to the house.

Senior Boarding Houses (Years 8-12)

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 two girls’ (Howe and Hood) 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. Pupils will be accommodated in four-bedded or double rooms, depending on their year group. Pupils in Year 12 will generally be in double or single study bedrooms with en-suite facilities.

Nelson House (Year 13)

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.