“The era of single schools which stand alone, relying on their own resources to innovate and develop, will soon be over. The future is about partnership, both locally, nationally and internationally.”
Headmaster’s Vision, 2015
We were one of the first partner schools to United World Schools and we are a member of the Guildford Education Partnership (GEP). In September 2016, we opened our first international school in Qatar followed by our second international school in Nanjing, China in September 2020. RGSG Dubai will open in September 2021. We also work in partnership with a number of local state schools – both primary and secondary – including Kings College, Guildford.
In all these partnerships and outreach activities, our aim is to learn, to share our expertise and to enhance the reputation of the RGS by developing academic excellence more broadly. We are proud to share some of our key partnerships and outreach activities with you:
The RGS Masterclasses are intended for able girls and boys in their final year of primary school who are judged by their teachers to have potential and interest, as well as enthusiasm and persistence. They have the opportunity to attend sessions on Design and Technology, Creative Arts, Mathematics, Science and Modern Languages. The emphasis of the classes is on stimulation, discovery and enjoyment. The Masterclasses take place on four consecutive Saturday mornings in the Michaelmas Term and over 100 children take part from approximately 32 local primary schools.
Letter from the mother of a recent masterclass attendee:
I wanted to let you know of the effect that attending the RGS Science Masterclass has had on my daughter. She has suddenly realised that she has ability. She has begun to believe in herself and has just been presented with her school’s award for exceptional progress. The RGS played a pivotal role in flicking a switch and inspiring her to be the best she can. I offer my heartfelt thanks.
Latin: The Period 8 (P8) Latin Project runs at Holy Trinity Junior School and Pewley Down Primary School with twelve Fifth and Sixth Form boys teaching Latin as an after-school club to 14 Year 6 pupils. In addition, each year, the boys assist with a school trip to the British Museum.
Sports Coaching: The P8 Sports Coaching group work towards a Level 2 Qualification in Sport Leadership. Period 8 sessions and field days are used to put theory into practice with RGS pupils planning and leading sports sessions. For example, on a field day they organised a sports festival ready for the arrival of 60 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from Sandfield Primary School.
Technology: The Technology Primary Project is part of the RGS and Guildford High School (GHS) general studies programme for RGS boys and GHS girls on Tuesday afternoons between 3.00pm to 4.00pm. Invited local primary schools are Holy Trinity and Bushy Hill Junior Schools. Sandfield, St Thomas of Canterbury, Boxgrove and Guildford Grove Primary Schools. The Sixth Form pupils lead design and build sessions for pen pots and electronic alarm systems.
Mathematics: The P8 Mathematics Project runs at Holy Trinity Junior School and Pewley Down Primary School with twelve RGS Sixth Form boys planning, delivering, and mentoring 24 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils at an after-school club. New in 2018, the P8 Mathematics Kings Project provides problem solving experience for Year 9 Kings College pupils supported by RGS pupils.
In order to help tackle a fall in the number of pupils learning string instruments, The RGS String Scheme was established to encourage a greater number of young people to learn an instrument. Now, more than ten years since its creation, the School’s String Scheme engages 180 Year 4 children per week across three maintained primary schools: St Thomas of Canterbury, Sandfield and Boxgrove Primary Schools. As the scheme matures, it is expected to support 270 children each week. In addition to performances for parents at the primary schools, there is an annual concert at the RGS and, also, the chance to take to the stage at G Live with the Southern Pro Musica (SPM) orchestra in the SPM Family Concert.
These schemes are only possible due to the generous support of charitable donors: The Investec International Music Festival (IIMF), The Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS) and The Southern Pro Musica (SPM) orchestra.
Introduced in September 2008, the Primary Schools Project provides an authentic Tudor experience to either Year 4 or Year 5 classes from local primary schools who study the Tudors as part of their History curriculum. The pupils and teachers visit the RGS for a day, to build on their knowledge of the Tudor period and develop a greater understanding of life at that time. On average, twelve schools and over 600 pupils visit the RGS each year to have a tour of the Old Building and Chained Library by the Headmaster and immerse themselves in Tudor-themed lessons. They listen to and identify different medieval musical instruments and learn a dance; consider the representation of monarchs through portraiture, and discuss their historical importance; look at the use of anamorphosis in Tudor painting (where images are painted in a distorted way, but look normal when viewed from a different angle, as in Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors) and reproduce their own versions; study weapons and warfare and enjoy firing catapults; and finally, draw together what they have learned with a final ICT session, where the children create a movie of their day.
The RGS is an associate member of the Guildford Educational Partnership (GEP) and we engage in mutually beneficial programmes to enhance teaching and learning in the GEP schools. For example:
Enquiring Teachers Programme (ETP) The ETP partnership between RGS, GEP schools and St John’s Leatherhead, supports staff in conducting educational action research projects during the course of an academic year. The research is supported and guided by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). All research projects are published in an annual journal.
Kings College Alliance Over the past two years, RGS Guildford has been providing support to Kings College via our membership of the Guildford Educational Partnership (MAT). In late 2016, Kings College was placed into special measures by Ofsted and an ‘alliance’ was formed to support Kings. The RGS staff provided Science revision lessons for Year eleven pupils, provided professional support and observation visits, they also engaged in weekly teaching of the Physics content for separate science GCSE. In July 2018, Kings College was re-inspected and graded as ‘Good’ – an incredible transformation. This year RGS is continuing all the support and has introduced weekly problem-solving Mathematics classes for Year 9 students involving RGS pupils as mentors. Mr McKenzie, Kings College Principal, commented:
“We are delighted with the way the two schools have been working together in the interest of stretching students. As well as projects with students, staff from the two schools have been sharing curriculum and pedagogical knowledge. Kings continues to go from strength to strength with the partnerships with RGS supporting our development.”
The School’s links with Cambodia began with the construction of the RGS link school at Tiem Kram, Ratanakiri province in partnership with the charity, United World Schools, in Spring 2010. This was entirely funded by the school community with their pantomime. Soon afterwards an expedition of 18 boys and two members of staff travelled out to teach in the school as part of a month-long expedition to the country. The expedition was a great success and was the start of a series of visits that take place every two years. Further fundraising has enabled the construction of a well and the addition of solar panels to the school. The Cambodia partnership aims to benefit the poorest Cambodian children with educational summer camps run by RGS boys and to support the charity United World Schools in their work in Cambodia.
In 2010, the RGS began its international partnership with two schools in Besisahar, Nepal.
The connection with the two schools, BhuPu Sainik Secondary School and Janabikas Government Secondary School, was formed through a connection with Old Guildfordian Alex Ewart. Alex worked in Besisahar during his gap year in 2004, before tragically losing his life in a white-water-rafting accident. The Alex Ewart Fund has since raised over £150,000 for the two schools helping them more than double in size, and changing the lives of many children in Besisahar. The aim of this mutual partnership is to offer both the Nepali and the RGS students an insight into another culture and become more globally aware. It gives the students an opportunity to complete joint projects on topics such as arranged marriages and water sustainability. Over the last three years, nine different RGS staff and two Nepali staff have visited the other school to establish further the partnership schools and explore how best to develop cross-cultural links and understanding between the schools.
Responding to a demand for high-quality British independent education, in September 2016, the first of the RGSG international schools opened in Qatar. RGSG Qatar, which won the QBBF Best Start-up Business Award in November 2016, now includes a nursery and prep school. In 2020/21, the school has over 750 pupils, up from 35 on opening. The school will shortly grow to include two senior schools – one for boys and one for girls.
RGSG Qatar is the result of a franchise partnership between RGS Guildford International and a Qatari company, Al-Qamra. RGSG Qatar is owned by Al-Qamra with the RGS offering advice and guidance on all aspects of School life. The RGS Governors are represented on the RGSG Qatar board and directors of Royal Grammar School Guildford International (RGSGI) visit Qatar regularly.
RGSG Nanjing, which opened in September 2020 was built and created on a similar model, with educational partners, Gemdale, whilst we are partnering with Cognita for our RGSG Dubai venture – due to open September 2021.
Building a school worthy of the RGS name takes time and whilst finances played an important role in the decision to open our international schools, reputation and partnership were also key factors. All of our international schools are selective and RGS is committed to maintaining its high standards going forward. The Headmaster has committed the income from our international schools to securing the future of our School and widening access in particular. Funds from RGSG Qatar are already contributing to our Enduring Bursary Fund at RGS Guildford and it is envisaged that this bursary investment will grow steadily as the RGS family of schools reach capacity in five to ten years’ time.
We are delighted that some of our partnerships and outreach activities have brought the RGS to the attention of families who would otherwise not have considered RGS for their sons. As we go forward, we will be including widening access as one of the aims and objectives of some of our projects.
I wanted to let you know of the effect that attending the RGS Science Masterclass has had on my daughter. She has suddenly realised that she has ability. She has begun to believe in herself and has just been presented with her school’s award for exceptional progress. The RGS played a pivotal role in flicking a switch and inspiring her to be the best she can.
The RGS pathways project
Working with local primary schools and parents to increase awareness and opportunity about our bursary programme and the inclusivity and accessibility of our School.