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Maintaining 300-year-old links with the Royal Navy

 
Maintaining 300-year-old links with the Royal Navy – James Lockwood, Headmaster of The Royal Hospital School, Holbrook
 
This last academic year the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk celebrated 300 years of proud seafaring heritage. Today it is a well-respected HMC co-educational boarding and day school, set apart by a unique history that infuses the ethos and daily life of the school.  
 
Founded in 1712 in Greenwich, London, to educate the sons of seafarers for a life in the Royal Navy, the school has retained its maritime connections and the values and traditions born from these historical roots. And while the RHS of today may be a modern-thinking, forward-looking school, its links with the Royal Navy, and indeed the other two armed services, remain strong and are still very much a part of everyday life, manifested in many ways. All our Year 7 pupils are taught to sail in their first term and, through the School's new Sailing Academy, provision for sailing at the very highest level is unrivalled; the School’s CCF includes both Naval and Royal Marine sections as well as Army and RAF, colours and sunset take place each day and pupils take part in ceremonial Divisions on special occasions. Every year the choir performs at the National Seafarers service at St Paul’s Cathedral and at the Admiralty Carol service in St Martin in the Field. Trafalgar Night is a key date on the school calendar and celebrated in fine style. 
 
As recently as just 60 years ago all the boys who attended did so courtesy of the School’s parent charity Greenwich Hospital. A great deal has changed since then. The Royal Hospital School admitted non-seafarers for the first time in 1990, but we still have more than 300 pupils claiming the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) or in receipt of a mean-tested seafaring bursary as a result of their connections with the Royal Navy or Royal Marines. A year later girls were admitted and in 2005 the school opened its doors to day pupils and more recently, flexible arrangements for boarding have been introduced for younger pupils. 
 
‘Education is a liberating force’
I took up my post as Headmaster in September 2012 and strongly believe that, as a result of this heritage and probably more than any other school of its type, the Royal Hospital School recognises that ‘education is a liberating force’.
 
As Headmaster, it is my aim to unlock the potential of each individual by offering them a whole new world of life-changing opportunities and an environment in which academic excellence is promoted through learning and shared experiences. A place that encourages boys and girls to discover themselves; quite simply, to develop a passion that will endure for the rest of their lives. Through passion comes purpose, and from purpose the journey ahead becomes clear.
 
This can only be achieved if the school experience is a happy one, founded not on learning alone, but on relationships formed and values shared. I firmly believe that a well-balanced individual needs a sense of spiritual awareness, along with academic and sporting achievements, and place great store by the values of kindness, service, integrity and generosity of spirit; these are the invisible strands that hold a community such as ours together. 
 
By working closely together, the staff at the Royal Hospital School ensures that our pupils are able to form strong relationships and make a valuable contribution, both here at school and in the adult world in which many will become leaders in their chosen field. With a commitment to leadership, service and an international outlook at the heart of the school's values, the Royal Hospital School is the first choice for parents seeking an outstanding all-round, balanced, broad and full education for their children.
 
Why the Royal Hospital School?
  • We have 300 years of experience of providing pastoral care and education for children of services families.
  • 70% of our senior pupils board full time, weekends are busy and we have no compulsory exeats.
  • Our Junior boarders (11–12 years) have a dedicated house with routines, support and pastoral care to enable them to settle in and flourish, easing the transition from primary to secondary education.
  • We have a dedicated tutor system which supports each pupil and ensures that they achieve their academic potential. Additional support is offered through the learning support department, for children who have moved schools and missed work due to relocation.
  • Our fees for those eligible for CEA are set at the minimum 10% which for 2012–13 was £667 per term for Year 7–8 or £683 per term in Years 9–13.
  • Means-tested bursaries are available for children with any seafaring connections which may include a parent or grandparent in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Auxiliary Fleet or merchant navy.  
James Lockwood became Headmaster of the Royal Hospital School in September 2012. He joined the Royal Hospital School in September 2009 as Deputy Headmaster from St John’s School, Leatherhead. Having completed an Honours degree in Manchester, he went on to gain an MA in Education Management at the University of Surrey. James started his teaching career at Exeter School where he was a Deputy Housemaster and Master i/c Cricket. He spent ten years at St John’s School, Leatherhead, during which time he led an academic department, was Housemaster of a boys’ boarding house, Master i/c Rugby and, latterly, a member of the School’s Senior Management Team, with specific responsibility for the co-curricular life of the School. James is married to Sarah and has two young children – Olivia who is five and Harry who is three.  
 
 
 
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