RGS Prospectus 11-18

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An exceptional independent education for boys aged 3 to 18


An exceptional independent education for boys aged 3 to 18 We are a kind, tolerant school where diverse opportunity, personal development, high achievement and collaborative partnership define who we are, and where our Values of inclusivity, scholarship, integrity, respect, courage, and collaboration underpin all we do. In our warm and purposeful environment, every individual is seen and heard. We foster goal-setting and creativity. We innovate together, growing in resilience. We maintain the highest standards of behaviour in a culture which celebrates the success of all.

rgsg.co.uk


EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE

We are proud to be an integral part of our local community which is home to many boys from all walks of life from 3 years old through to 18. Our task is then to create something extraordinary out of them – something distinctive, something worthwhile for themselves and for society, whether it is a simple greeting to a member of staff, holding a door open, or volunteering in a local care home. The vital point for us at the RGS is this, what’s best for our boys? What do we do in order to help a boy become someone who will make a discernible difference? There are many answers to this, but one of the most important is that we encourage a climate of openness and awareness, based on mutual respect, rather than instruction and obedience based on authority. From RGS Prep onwards, we foster an academic boldness that is the prerequisite to curiosity and creativity – an insistence on how to think, not what to think. This is at the very heart of the RGS ethos. Our 500-year tradition and heritage, impressive as it is, is nothing if not a catapult for innovation and modern-mindedness. In this climate of forward-thinking, attitudes and passions are formed that suit the future. To foster these to the utmost, we have all the facilities you would expect from a school of our standing, and many more that you would not expect to find. Our strong academic performance is the result of many factors. Firstly, we have inspiring, passionate teachers. Secondly, our collaborative culture is central to fostering a supportive, positive mindset throughout all aspects of school life. Thirdly, the breadth of our activities – sports of all kinds, art, drama, music – promote success in academic performance. Why? It’s all about confidence. Experiencing many things gives a boy the opportunity to find something he is good at and enjoys. Trying hard and doing well become a habit. Everything we do helps us become better at everything we do. There are no ivory towers. What is achieved in our school happens in the midst of a thriving town, exposed to the elements of reality. One aspect of this is the many joint activities with the local girls’ schools. We are an all-boys school where life is by no means all boys. We learn to think for ourselves, we learn to express ourselves, but also we learn to navigate, to dress for the weather. Here, responsibility and a sense of purpose are two sides of the same coin. This is how our boys grow. This is how you, the parents, can watch the truly remarkable transformation from a young lad with a conker in his coat pocket to a young man heading to university with confidence, self-belief and, of course, a ready smile. Boys from all walks of life developing into extraordinary young men.



WELCOME What is it that makes the RGS so special? For me it is the fact that we are such a supportive, inclusive and close-knit community, that we celebrate our rich past while looking firmly to the future, that our boys are unfailingly sparky, enthusiastic and inquisitive, that there are no airs and graces, rather our boys come from all walks of life and are humble and unassuming. Most importantly for me, however, is that every boy is valued for his own sake, given the space and the encouragement to fulfil his potential in an environment where there are no stereotypes and each achievement, however small, is noticed. A culture of integrity, mutual respect and tolerance allows our boys to develop at their own pace and to be confident in themselves. I am very proud of our talented, dedicated staff and our high-achieving students but our successes are just one element of the RGS experience. Our values and our ethos define who we are. Kindness and compassion, good humour and enjoyment characterise daily life. We take what we do seriously but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. This ethos, coupled with our students’ thirst for learning and enrichment, is a heady mix and is what makes the RGS such a vibrant and exciting community. Our school’s heritage of constantly looking forward in the way we live, the way we learn together, and the way we prepare for life has nurtured and prepared generations of students to leave the RGS ready to make a difference to others. We are, indeed, a progressive school with a heart. I look forward to welcoming you to the RGS so that I can share the excitement of the next stage of your son’s journey. Nothing is more important to us than who a boy becomes. Dr Jon Cox Headmaster

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EXTRAORDINARY POTENTIAL We know that every boy is an individual. We want each of our boys to find his own voice, to follow his own path. Our boys have the potential to surprise us and to surprise themselves.

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INCLUSIVITY

Located in the centre of the historic town of Guildford, the RGS dates its foundation from the provisions of the will of Robert Beckingham in 1509 as a “free schole” for the benefit of bright local boys without means. In the last 500 years much has changed; however, our pride in our ethos, our focus on decency, integrity and service, as well as our commitment to inclusivity and accessibility remain a constant. We are a tight-knit community: genuinely warm and welcoming from the moment you step through our doors. As one of the country’s finest independent schools, we combine tradition and loyalty to our grammar school roots with an open-minded, forward-thinking approach to education suitable for young men in the twenty-first century. Our values and culture remain, by and large, unchanged. A feeling of togetherness and belonging, kindness and compassion allow our boys to be happy, confident and secure. RGS boys are at ease with themselves and equally at ease with each other.

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INCLUSIVITY

Our ethos is based on traditional Christian principles; however, as a non-denominational school, boys of all faiths and none are all equally welcomed. We openly celebrate diversity and individuality. Each student is valued for who they are, irrespective of background, beliefs, or financial circumstances. We believe that our education is truly transformational and should be as widely accessible as possible. Each student finds their own pathway through the school, discovering their own voice as they are supported and inspired to fulfil their considerable potential.

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EXTRAORDINARY CURIOSITY We want to ignite in all our boys a love of learning and a thirst to know more. We want our boys continually to challenge and to question: confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong.

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SCHOLARSHIP

We believe passionately that all our boys have untapped potential, that they can achieve what they put their minds to, and that they can rightly set themselves the most ambitious of goals. A strong sense of collaboration and mutual support means that RGS boys are united in helping each other and raising the bar of both their individual, and their collective, achievements. Our committed teachers exhibit genuine excitement for their subjects and a real talent for sharing their passion. We know that inspiring teachers change lives. Teaching is stimulating, responsive and innovative; lessons are characterised by debate and discussion, healthy competition and stretch, but most importantly a sense of fun and enjoyment. RGS boys have the self-belief and independence to be assertive and decisive: they do so with warmth but without arrogance or pretention. Technology is interweaved into daily life. We embrace the very best of digital learning alongside more traditional techniques. Irrespective of whether the learning is physical or remote, our lessons provide the same level of debate, rigour and extension.

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SCHOLARSHIP

The RGS remains loyal to its rigorous, traditional grammar school roots where a robust set of academic subjects are blended with a demanding modern curriculum to ensure breadth and depth. Our students consistently achieve outstanding results in public examinations; however, this is only part of the story. Our bespoke Learning Habits, which, from RGS Prep onwards, are integrated throughout the curriculum and co-curriculum, nurture independent thinkers who are flexible and resilient, who think outside the box, who are driven to approach problems in diverse ways, and who have a willingness to challenge and question. This ensures our students emerge with both the knowledge and skills to flourish in the rapidlychanging 21st century.

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EXTRAORDINARY CONFIDENCE We believe that happy boys will thrive. A culture of mutual respect defines us which means we have respectful, positive relationships throughout our community, and a ready smile to hand.

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RESPECT

Underpinning every aspect of school life is a fundamental commitment to each individual’s personal development: wellbeing and pastoral care are the very cornerstones of the RGS experience. Happy, confident boys flourish and our staff have invaluable experience, as well as the necessary patience and compassion, to support each student. Teenage years are not without their challenges; however, a culture of openness defines us. There is always someone on hand to listen, someone able to provide advice and reassurance. The outstanding pastoral care on offer from dedicated Form Tutors, Heads of Year and Section, the School Counsellor, School Nurse and Personal Tutors as well as our phenomenal peer mentoring programme, all overseen by the pastoral Deputy Head, enables the boys to thrive in a mutually supportive environment where every boy enjoys a deep sense of identity and belonging. The boys establish lasting relationships within the year group; in addition, the house system, mentoring, and the role of all our senior boys as prefects ensure friendships are forged throughout the school. Academically, our excellent Special Educational Needs Department tailors individual action plans to the needs of each individual, ensuring there are no barriers to fulfilling potential. We place great emphasis on emotional and physical balance: working as a close partnership between our boys, their parents and the school. By tackling in an open, honest way issues such as mental health and those challenges associated with teenage years, we educate our boys more broadly in a balanced, considered fashion. Healthy debate and discussion, as well as clarity and information, mean our students develop a mature moral compass: respect for themselves and respect for others.

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EXTRAORDINARY TALENT We are excited by what our boys have the ability to achieve. A team of passionate, dedicated, experienced staff ensure each boy aspires to and reaches the standards of which he is capable.

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COURAGE

Sport Sport inevitably plays a central part in daily life at a boys’ school. From early-morning practices, to lunch-time work-outs, to after-school training, to weekend fixtures, it is rare for there not be some sport happening at the RGS. Our elite sportsmen excel on the county, national and international stages and yet our philosophy of sport for all means that whether our boys are enjoying high-level, professional coaching or simply running with friends in the North Downs, there is an equal focus on enjoyment and participation. Our boys benefit from outstanding facilities: our Sports Hall, gym, shooting range, astro pitch and climbing wall on site are complemented by our picturesque twenty-acre grounds in the rolling Surrey Hills at Bradstone Brook. As well as our major sports of rugby, hockey and cricket, the RGS has also established an enviable reputation in sports ranging from fencing and judo, to sailing and shooting. With specialist sports professionals and dedicated coaches, competitive fixture lists against some of the leading schools in the country, and overseas tours, talent is carefully nurtured and developed. With a focus on a healthy mind and a healthy body, strength and conditioning, as well as dietary advice and individual training programmes, provide a fully holistic programme for our boys. Sport develops character in a broader sense: teamwork and camaraderie; commitment and dedication; self-discipline and self-esteem; honesty and sportsmanship; a sense of perspective – gracious in victory, resilient in defeat; self-reflection; and a desire for improvement. Whatever each boy’s level, sport at the RGS offers so much.

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EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITIES We have fantastic facilities conducive to performance at the very highest level. Inspiring, picturesque settings such as our sports fields in the heart of the Surrey countryside promote pride in every aspect of our performance.

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Creative Arts We encourage all our boys to participate in, or take up, some form of creative pursuit which they do with exceptional skill and imagination, enthusiasm and enjoyment. There is a sense of creative freedom at the RGS and opportunities exist for each individual to explore his own passions, however idiosyncratic, resulting in our boys developing a true appreciation of the Arts. Creativity and imagination, along with problem-solving and project-based work, nurture students who can think on their feet and have the confidence to formulate their own ideas and see things through to their conclusion. The Arts provide an outlet for our boys to express their thoughts, their feelings, and their observations, and they do this with astonishing maturity and insight.

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Our bright and airy Art School studios and Design & Technology workshops are inspiring environments conducive to fulfilling this aim of developing aesthetic awareness in all students. A focus on mastering techniques allows our boys to develop self-expression at their own pace as well as a confident and personal appreciation of art and a passion for innovative design. Our teachers are professional practitioners who work in their studio classrooms so that the boys can benefit from their expertise; bespoke exemplar materials and demonstrations allow boys readily to gain practical experience and understanding. The range of work, including sculpture, woodwork, metalwork, mixed media and more traditional art forms, clearly illustrates the breadth of talent. Our corridors and display areas provide a living gallery, with frequently changing work inspiring generations of students and visitors alike.

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Performing Arts The breath-taking talent of our boys is fostered in an environment where they can fully express themselves, irrespective of their passions. High-profile and more intimate performances, frequently as shared initiatives with girls from our local schools, promote personal expression. Our Music Department has established an enviable reputation, exceptional by any school’s standards. Indeed, it is rare to walk through the Old Building at any time of day without hearing the soaring, inspiring sounds of music. A host of choirs and ensembles, supported by a staff of passionate musicians, caters for all abilities and interests. The school offers individual tuition on singing and pretty much every and any musical instrument. In fact, over 300 one-to-one music lessons take place in any one week. Regular concerts and recitals locally, nationally and internationally allow the boys to showcase their musicality in surroundings as atmospheric as the aesthetically stunning courtyard of the Old Building and as impressive as St Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

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Likewise, drama is a vibrant and energetic part of the life of the school. Plays cater to all age groups, from the more intimate to the most ambitious performances, including joint school musicals and productions. In the last few years, productions have included Bugsy Malone and Les Misérables, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The History Boys, Emil and the Detectives and Midsummer Night’s Dream Gone Wrong, to name but a few. From developing performance skills through LAMDA and professional workshops, to technical theatre including lighting, sound, set construction and stage management, our passionate Drama Department encourages every boy to express himself creatively: working collaboratively, building confidence, and supporting the journey of self-expression.

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Co-curriculum We are fully committed to our boys finding inspiration no matter what their talents are, or where their interests may lie. Our co-curriculum unashamedly focuses on pushing boys outside their usual experiences, even outside their comfort zone, nurturing a positive can-do attitude. Challenge with support means boys achieve more than they ever imagined: whether that is learning to cook a curry from scratch, or tackling a muddy assault course, or delivering a talk to their peers on a sensitive topical issue. Just as our Learning Habits are interweaved into our curriculum, so they are firmly embedded in our co-curriculum. Variety is celebrated with over 70 clubs and societies providing our boys with the space and the opportunity to write their own stories, to be truly individual without concern for stereotype. The importance assigned to this enrichment is recognised by the dedication of curricular time on Monday afternoons and our five Field Days throughout the year, as well as the provision of regular local and overseas trips. From sceptics to debaters, from chess aficionados to budding entrepreneurs, from the Combined Cadet Force to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, there is truly something for everyone. If there isn’t, then our students start up a new society. Clubs are predominantly run by students for students, with staff input and oversight.

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Ultimately, as in all aspects of RGS life, our co-curricular provision is about our boys having fun, trying something new, standing shoulder to shoulder with their friends, testing themselves as team members and leaders, and learning to appreciate their passions, limits and self. Our co-curriculum is fundamental to our boys discovering who they are and developing as well-rounded, balanced individuals. With the spark kindled, we hope that their passions will stay with them throughout their lives.

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EXTRAORDINARY CAMARADERIE As a close-knit community we share our successes and our setbacks together. This spirit of collaboration and friendship mean that the RGS is a family to which we all equally belong.

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COLLABORATION

The RGS is rooted in the heart of our local community and for us collaboration, service and partnership are a natural part of our philosophy as an institution which has been established in the centre of Guildford for over 500 years. We foster a culture in which our boys appreciate their responsibility to other members of their community and society at large. From the very earliest years, our boys are equipped with an appreciation that they can truly enrich the lives of others as well as their own. Service, charity, volunteering, a concern for sustainability and the environment are interweaved into their daily lives. With privilege comes responsibility and our boys are acutely aware that they are in a position to do immense good. With the seeds of philanthropy firmly sown, our boys are firmly committed to sharing their talents and opportunities as widely as possible and determined to make a difference.

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COLLABORATION

We live in a time where co-operation and openmindedness have never been more important, where we have to look outwards and connect with others to find solutions to global problems. Our meaningful, mutually beneficial partnerships and our international schools further remind us that we have as much to learn from others as they can benefit from us. Our partnerships broaden our students’ appreciation of the world beyond the school gates and allow them to put into practice values such as empathy and compassion, perspective and real-life experiences. Whether this is achieved through a charity bake-off, environmental projects in local parks, or chatting with residents at local care homes, our boys appreciate that they can make a tangible difference and that by helping others they can truly enrich the lives of others as well as their own.

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We nurture perspective and awareness and empower our young men to work together to be good citizens and members of society. We promote an inner desire to make a lasting difference to others, to make the world a better place.

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INTEGRITY

As the scaffolding and support mechanisms are gently removed, our Sixth Form marks a transitional phase between school and university, and the boys’ future careers. With the subject specialism of smaller classes and seminar-style teaching, and with an eye firmly focused on the world beyond our gates, we equip our boys with the skills which they will need in the future: critical and creative thinking, negotiation and problemsolving, collaboration and teamwork. Business and enterprise initiatives and leadership opportunities abound as we encourage the boys to take increasing control and responsibility, many of which involve interaction with local girls’ schools. Our approach is underpinned by a deep commitment to providing our boys with foundations for the future, preparing them not only for university but for life. Our leavers, almost without exception, go on to study at the very best institutions in higher education: Cambridge, Oxford, other leading Russell Group universities, Ivy League as well as the top medical schools. Comprehensive, individually tailored advice supports them through each stage of the university application process, to allow them to make informed, objective choices about their futures. Equally, individual, tailored support is provided for those who wish to pursue direct entry to employment or to follow the degree apprenticeship pathway.

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INTEGRITY

RGS students are attractive to top universities. Besides being renowned for achieving strong results, they have a reputation for personal integrity, maturity and independence, flexibility and curiosity, and a genuine pride in every aspect of their performance. Our boys leave the RGS with appropriate self-confidence, self-discipline and a deep sense of personal and social responsibility: ready to make a profound impact upon the world, whatever it may look like.

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rgsg.co.uk

This prospectus describes the broad principles on which the school is presently run and does not form part of any contractual agreement between parents or guardians and the school. Royal Grammar School Guildford is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales. Company Number 10874615. Registered charity number 1177353.


Royal Grammar School High Street Guildford Surrey GU1 3BB General Enquiries rgs-office@rgsg.co.uk +44(0)1483 880600 Admissions rgs-admissions@rgsg.co.uk +44(0)1483 880600


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