The Royal Hospital School reinforces a values-driven education


by Simon Lockyer, Headmaster of the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook
Royal Hospital

The Royal Hospital School was established by Royal Charter in 1712 with a remit to ‘improve navigation’ through education. By the late nineteenth century, it had become affectionately known as the ‘cradle of the navy’ as it prepared boys for a life at sea, many of whom went on to become explorers and pioneers of their time.


Just over 300 years later, discovery, exploration and challenge continue to shape the ethos of the school, and we place great importance on the traditional values of loyalty, commitment, courage, respect, service and integrity. The school’s most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report states: ‘Pupils show strong moral and social awareness and their sense of British values is highly tuned as a direct result of the school’s links with the Royal Navy’.

The RHS of today is a modern, forward-looking school for around 750 boys and girls aged between 11 and 18 years from a wide range of backgrounds. I believe that it is important to inspire young people to have the courage and commitment to be ambitious for their futures, whichever path they choose. Everyone can achieve the most exceptional things but we are all different. That is why we should focus on the individual, getting to know each and every one of our pupils and finding out what motivates them.

Challenging pupils

As teachers, we should challenge pupils of all academic abilities, steering them to look beyond the moment, and beyond the confines of the classroom, and to approach life with an open and receptive mind. It is through thinking creativity and taking initiative that they learn to establish, and work towards, their own personal goals. By understanding a young person’s strengths, and what he or she might find more difficult, we can help them to make the right choices at the right time, navigating them through their critical, formative years and ensuring their education becomes the foundation for happiness and success.

Schools like RHS can provide this challenge both inside and outside of the classroom through the breadth of opportunity. This may be through the curriculum and academic enrichment programmes but equally though involvement in the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), Model United Nations, public speaking and debating, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), the Devizes to Westminster canoe marathon, drama and playing in musical performances, Tall Ships voyages or overseas volunteering trips. Whatever they choose, we should provide a safe environment in which young people can step outside their comfort zones, learn to take risks, foster self-belief and self-awareness and develop skills such as collaboration, initiative and resilience.

It is this unique blend of a values-driven education with the focus on individual challenge and guidance that enables pupils at the Royal Hospital School to develop into self-reliant, socially responsible adults with enviable open-mindedness and resilience, so sought after by employers and important in life.

To find out more about the school contact the Registrar on 01473 326136 or 


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