Established by Royal Charter in 1712, the Royal Hospital School is owned and operated by Greenwich Hospital, a Crown charity that provides support to serving and retired personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their dependants.
We are immensely proud of these historic links and our values of commitment, courage, respect, integrity and loyalty continue to shape our ethos.
In 1933, with more applicants than available places, the Royal Hospital School moved from London to its spectacular purpose-built site, set in 200 acres of Suffolk countryside nestled between the River Stour and Alton Water Reservoir, near Ipswich.
The school has evolved significantly since then and we have become a truly inclusive, innovative, forward-looking independent school. Discovery, exploration and challenge has been the bedrock of our education for over 300 years and continues to shape our ethos today.
“Paralympic sailor Hannah Stodel flourished at the RHS sailing academy and went on to become triple world champion in her class.”
The school has grown in size and reputation to become one of East Anglia’s leading independent co-educational boarding and day schools for 11–18-year-olds. We believe our role is to navigate pupils through their critical and formative years, ensuring their education becomes the foundation for lifelong happiness and success.
There is a very special bow of a ship based at RHS which is embedded in the school’s parade. The vessel was originally a training ship for Greenwich Hospital pupils and now houses a rifle training range. The front half of HMS Fame is located at the school and the back half is located in the Mariners’ Museum in Virginia, USA, making it the longest ship in the world.
Here at RHS, we focus on the individual and make it our mission to help every pupil fulfil their potential inside and outside of the classroom. We believe every child has the potential to achieve the most exceptional things and our broad academic and co-curricular offering gives our pupils the chance to find and develop their strengths.
“The school also boasts an impressive marching band, which is a perennial part of school life.”
Our enthusiastic and highly qualified sports staff provide expert coaching in a huge range of sports. All pupils are given the opportunity to learn to sail, and talent in sailing is encouraged and developed throughout the school. One inspiring alumni is paralympic sailor Hannah Stodel, who flourished at the RHS sailing academy and went on to become triple world champion in her class.
Whilst we are not a military school, many naval traditions and values are embedded in our school which reflect our rich heritage. The seafaring history lives on in the daily life of the school through several traditions including the daily raising and lowering of the school flag, as well as pupils being taught the principles of marching in formal parades. The school also boasts an impressive marching band, which is a perennial part of school life.
Music is embedded in RHS’s culture and the music facilities are outstanding, with a concert hall, recital rooms, recording studio, music technology suite, live lounge, and cathedral proportioned chapel.
We are fortunate to have a diverse student body and work hard to make sure everyone attending is comfortable in their environment, which is so important given that we have pupils from 29 different countries, of which 14 per cent are international and 18 per cent are BAME. We also have students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as many young people from military families.
“Classics teacher George Johnson is loved by pupils, not only for his dress sense, but also for the incredible support he gives the students.”
Currently the mix of attendance at the school is 50 per cent boarding and 50 per cent day. Most boarders are full time but there has been a growing demand for weekly boarding from families in London and a significant number of younger day pupils choosing to flexi-board up to three nights a week, with a tendency to progress towards full or weekly boarding.
RHS’ use of technology in the classroom is cutting edge, as acknowledged through Edtech50 recognition. Our head of digital learning, Mark Vickers, makes sure the technology on offer is the best it can possibly be and that we are using the latest software and apps to enhance learning. Our investment in technology, which has been ongoing for the last six years, came into its own when the first lockdown happened in March 2020 – when we turned to a 100 per cent live online timetable within 24 hours for our 750 pupils.
Other members of staff who are shaping a modern day RHS are:
George Johnson, head of academic challenge and teacher of classics. George is loved by pupils, not only for his dress sense which includes a bow tie, but also for his incredible support for pupils. He studied classics at Cambridge and works with the most academic of students to ensure they are stretched. George also helps pupils with their applications to Oxford and Cambridge.
Nick Cooper, director of sport. Nick has a fantastic mentality, and keeps students engaged with sports, even during lockdowns when he was often seen dressed as a different superhero delivering his own Joe Wicks-style workouts. Nick is building a world class sports team around him, which has seen new team members join RHS, including a rugby development coach and a swimming coach. Nick believes that sport should be inclusive and encourages every pupil to take part for their wellbeing.
“Miss Shopova brings delicious Spanish dishes to classes and is often seen accompanied by her trusted companion – her dog Plok.”
Theresa Shopova, Spanish teacher and boarding house assistant. Theresa is a wonderfully quirky teacher that the students love. Her creativity in teaching, particularly during lockdown was second to none. She often brings delicious Spanish dishes into her lessons for her pupils to try as well as treats for her tutor group. Miss Shopova is often seen accompanied by her trusted companion – her dog Plok.
RHS is making many steps to become a greener school too. We have an eco-committee and we’re committed to sustainability in the longer term; from the way we heat the school, to how students consume water. We gifted each student with a reusable metal water bottle and installed water refill points around the school. We will also be installing ground source heat pumps to heat our school in the near future.