Royal Alexandra and Albert School

Surrey

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  • Category: Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 540 (Boys) 530 (Girls)
  • Day pupils: 620
  • Boarders: 450
  • Age Range: 7 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1758

General Information

We are a boarding school with over 450 boarders, lessons on Saturday mornings and consequently long holidays. Our boarders span the age range 7-18, giving a family feel to the school. Our emphasis is on each pupil achieving their potential both in terms of examinations and also in sport, music, drama and many other activities.

Facilities

Primary Department, covering the age range 7-11 with a suite of classrooms around a playground and a vibrant Primary boarding house. Well equipped Secondary school with boarders housed in eight purpose-built boarding houses. New boarding annexes with ensuite single study bedrooms for Sixth Formers. Performing Arts Centre which is also a 400 seat Theatre. Large, well-equipped Music department. All weather, floodlit sports pitches, indoor swimming pool, Fitness Centre, outdoor gym, dance studio and a covered games area. Riding School with our own horses, an outdoor Sand School and an Indoor Riding School.

Entrance Requirements

Confidential reference from current school and interview.

Scholarships

Academic and sporting scholarships to pupils of outstanding merit who are admitted as full boarders into Year 7 or Year 9 at the start of the academic year. Sixth Form Scholarships for pupils who achieve at least 6 A*s at GCSEs. Up to two thirds Boarding Bursaries for the sons and daughters of the Clergy. Bursaries are also available if there is a demonstrable need for boarding.

Open Days

2019. Sat. 18th May, Sat. 21st September and Sat. 12th October. All are welcome

For details, please contact: The Admissions Officer, Tel: 01737 649 001, admissions@gatton-park.org.uk

Fees

2018/2019. Full Boarding (Years 3-13): £5100 per term. Weekly Boarding: None Flexi Boarding/Day (Years 3-6): £1,380 per term. Flexi Boarding/Day (Years 7-11): £1,886 per term. Sixth Form Non Boarding: £686 per term.

Our level of charges is very significantly lower than that of almost every other UK boarding school because Royal Alexandra and Albert School is a state-maintained, voluntary-aided school, rather than an independent or private school.

Reports

Ofsted Inspection 2016
Ofsted Boarding Inspection 2018

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr Mark Dixon

Contact for enquiries: Mrs Fiona Newport, Admissions Officer

Royal Alexandra and Albert School
Gatton Park
Reigate
Surrey
RH2 0TD

[t]: 01737 649001
[f]: 01737 649002
[w]: www.raa-school.co.uk

Location Description

Rural, set in 260 acres of parkland just outside London and close to both Gatwick and Heathrow.

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School News

Seven of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School’s Sixth Form students have been given scholarships in recognition of their outstanding grades at GCSE.

The School

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awards scholarships to students who achieved at least 6 A*s at GCSE. A Major Scholarship, worth £1000 per year, was awarded to Oscar Brown, Ruth Grossmann and Josef Willsher for achieving at least 8 A*s at GCSE

Minor Scholarships, worth £500 per year, are awarded to students who achieved at least 6 A*s at GCSE. This year, Minor Scholarships were awarded to Ronald Kwok, Victoria McWhirter, Brittany Regan and Abbie Staton.

Mr Spencer Ellis congratulated the Sixth Form students on their scholarships. He said, “We have some very bright and able students in our Sixth Form. They worked hard on their GCSEs and they are being rewarded for their outstanding grades. I wish them all the best in this academic year.”

There were some very happy pupils at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School this summer. Overall the school achieved higher results than last year with

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61.4% of pupils achieving 5 GCSEs graded A*-C including English and Maths (last year the figure was 57%)

There were many individual successes. Marquiose Stewart achieved 3A*, 6As and a B grade and is delighted with his results “I’m pretty happy with these results, especially Physics as I had not expected to get an A*.”

Gregory Woollcombe-Gosson was also pleased with his Physics grade “I’m very happy with my results overall, they’re better than I expected. I’m particularly happy with my Physics and still so surprised I got an A*!” Gregory achieved 2A*s, 8 As and one B grade. He will be joining the Sixth Form to study English, History, Spanish and Psychology.

Victoria McWhirter was another pupil who could not have been more delighted with her results. She achieved 6 A*s, 4 As and one B grade. She said “I am ecstatic with my results! I suppose the hard work does pay off. I want to say thank you to all our teachers who helped us.”

Headmaster Paul Spencer Ellis said “These results are very pleasing, with most pupils exceeding their expected levels of progress. Many pupils have secured a place in our Sixth Form and we look forward to supporting them in their studies over the next two years.”

How many comprehensive schools offer pupils over 270 after-school clubs? Well, there is one school in Surrey that does.

Pupils at the Royal Alexandra and

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Albert School have been busy getting stuck in to the many activities on offer. There are clubs to suit all tastes, including taekwondo, boxercise, archery and ukulele band, with a few more unusual activities such as textile art club, Boxercise, Creative Cakes, Octopush, Pickeball and Mandarin Club.

Charang Bailor, a Year 13 boarder at the School, is one of the 813 pupils who have signed up to the School’s Co Curriculum Activities Programme.

She said, “My friends and I signed up to activities together. It can be a bit boring after school so I decided to join a lot of clubs. I’m really enjoying them.” Charang has signed up to do nine activities including Netball, Cooking for Uni, Debating Club, Psychology Club, Model United Nations, Piloxing and swimming.

Charang’s clubs are not only fun but they are providing her with new skills. She explains, “My favourite club is Cooking for Uni. It’s nice that I get to spend time with my friends, but I’m also learning to cook, which will really help me when I go to university. With Psychology Club, it’s helping me with my Psychology A Level as we go over a lot of content.”

Ms Anne Vaughan, Director of the Co Curriculum Activities Programme, said “We have hugely expanded our Activities Programme this year, and are always looking for new ideas from pupils about what clubs they would like to do. In the next few terms we will be introducing a scuba diving club, paddle boarding, jujitsu and an Indian cooking club. As part of the new Activities Programme, a number of external instructors have been brought on board to ensure that our pupils are getting the most out of their activities.”

It was rosettes all round in the Valentine Show Jumping Competition which took place on 12th February at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.   The

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School’s Indoor Riding Arena was the venue for the valentine-themed, heart-filled fun event for pupils.

Twelve junior students participated in the first half of the competition which encouraged them to develop their show jumping skills. In the afternoon session senior pupils faced a more challenging course with higher jumps.

The Stables also run a number of jumping clinics throughout the year to help improve students’ abilities and confidence in show jumping. Rowan Wall, a Year 6 student, has taken part in the clinics before and thinks they help her, “It makes you feel better about jumping. Today, I got to ride my favourite horse, Mini, and do some really good jumps. It was great!”

The students were able to ride a number of horses, some of which they had not ridden before, including Star, Blackberry and Cotton Ball. Jasmine Thompson, also in Year 6, enjoyed spending more time with the horses and doing the jumps, “Some of the jumps were scary, but I loved doing them.”

Year 5 student, Mia Collins, took first place in the junior competition, but all of the students who took part were given rosettes. Katie Thomsett was proudly displaying her 3rd place rosette and explained, “It’s nice that everyone left with a rosette and certificate, that way no one felt left out.”

Over the next four years pupils at the Royal Alexandra and AlbertSchool will develop a much deeper understanding of the First World War.  The School

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plans a series of events to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the ‘war to end all wars’.

The commemorative events will, wherever possible, tie in with the school curriculum.  There are already plans for a dramatic piece of artwork, a trip to the battlefields of Normandy, re-enactment events and building a commemorative website.  And that’s just the beginning.  There are also plans to involve past pupils so that they can share their knowledge with current pupils.

To start the commemorations off, the School had a competition to design a logo that would link the School’s commemorations with the 100 year anniversary of the Great War.  There were 140 entries from pupils of all ages and the winning design was by 11 year old Isabella Williamson.  Isabella’s design will be used on all communications that are connected with the School’s commemorative events.

Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis said “The number of entries for this competition was huge and there were many pupils who produced excellent designs.  Isabella’s design was chosen because it immediately links the School (which is based in GattonPark) with the Great War.  It is ‘high impact’ and will work in colour or black and white and in many sizes.”

He continued “The First World War was 100 years ago and many children will have a limited understanding of what happened during the years 1914 and 1918.  It is such a big part of our history that it is important pupils know what took place and why.  The commemorative events will give a framework for teaching pupils about the events that took place during those years.”

Four years after his team mate, Darren Campbell, visited the Royal Alexandra and AlbertSchool, athlete Mark Lewis-Francis came to open the School’s new Fitness Centre.

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 Both Mark and Darren were members of the Gold medal winning 4×100 relay team at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Mark spent the morning at the School.  He started with a training session for aspiring athletes, where he taught them the techniques that are important for sprinting.  He then gave a talk to 400 pupils in Chapel where he explained how he achieved sporting success and overcame difficulties along the way.  He then opened the new Fitness Centre.

The Fitness Centre has state-of-the-art fitness equipment including running machines, rowing machines and weights.  It was funded partly by the School and also partly thanks to a generous legacy from Mrs Margaret Hatchett.  Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis comments “We are not sure of the connection Mrs Hatchett had with this School but can only assume she know of the work we do to offer free boarding places to some of our pupils.  She specified that the legacy should be spent on sports facilities so she might have had a sporting connection to the School.  It’s all very mysterious.”

He continued “I am really pleased Mark could visit us today.  His talk in Chapel was inspirational and he had a real connection with pupils.”

 

The Royal Alexandra and AlbertSchool is the first secondary school in the country to be awarded the Gold Sustrans School Mark Award for increasing the

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number of children regularly cycling to school from 9% to 31% since September 2010.

The school is the only one that has achieved the highest award amongst the hundreds of secondary schools participating in Sustrans ‘Bike It’ scheme, which aims to embed a culture of regular cycling to school.

In addition to the increase in the number of pupils cycling to school, there have been many other ways that the school encourages cycling. It has been included in the school curriculum in PE, Maths and other cross-curricular initiatives. There have been competitive cycling events, most famously an annual inter-school mountain-biking competition, and there have been transition events linking up with local primary schools. The school has also run after school activities to encourage cycling for fun, for example a Year 9 girls’ cycle ride to Urban Kitchen in Reigate to have coffee and cake.  There have been bike maintenance classes and bike checks to ensure bikes are safe.

The Bike It initiative supports the School’s travel plan by reducing the number of trips to school by car.  This means fewer cars on the road and reduced congestion and cost for parents.

Bike It champion Ian Rowe, who teaches maths at the School, said “We have worked hard to increase the number of pupils who cycle to school and are pleased that so many do so regularly.  It is great seeing children outside in the fresh air enjoying themselves and doing exercise.”

Hannah Sims, Sustrans Bike It Officer for Reigate and Banstead, said: “For a secondary school to achieve the Gold Award is an incredible accomplishment, and shows that it is possible to change attitudes and habits. Thanks to the dedication of Ian and the students, a culture of cycling has been embedded within the school and this will continue to have a positive impact on the students and wider community.”

 

Photo:  Mr Rowe with Year 8 girls in their PE lesson. 

It was uncharacteristically quiet at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School yesterday. That’s because over 450 pupils went on school trips. It’s the last week

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of term at this state boarding school and staff are keen to ensure that the week is a productive one. So instead of winding down and taking it easy as they anticipate their summer holiday, pupils have engaged in three days of academically themed activities based in the School’s 260 acres of parkland. This was followed by a day when all pupils in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 went on a trip. They had a huge range of options to choose from including trips to London to see a museum and a show, climbing, survival course, cycling on the South Downs, golf and sea fishing.

Taking 450 pupils out to many different locations on one day has required a huge amount of preparation. Redhill station had a busy morning as pupils took the train to Brighton and London. The school’s minibuses were pressed into service and some children walked to the more local destinations. Train tickets and admission tickets for the many museums, shows and activities were purchased and 450 packed lunches were made for the children by the School’s catering team.

Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis said “This is the first ‘Explore Week’ we have had and the children have really enjoyed it. We wanted to utilise the phenomenal teaching and learning resource that is Gatton Park, and to give pupils a better awareness of their surroundings. The teachers have really risen to the challenge and have developed cross-curricular activities that have encouraged team working and enabled pupils to develop new skills. It has been a fantastic way to end the academic year.”

Year 10 pupils have been learning important life skills this week at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School. As part of the School’s ‘World of

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Work’ programme, the 15 year olds have completed job applications forms, written a CV and been interviewed by real employers.

Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis said “We wanted to give pupils a realistic impression of what is involved when applying for a job. They now have a much better idea of how to present themselves, both on paper and in person. I am very grateful to the employers, governors and staff who have taken the time out of their busy schedules to be the interviewers.”

The interviews took place in Gatton Hall, the stately home in the School grounds. Pupils, who dressed smartly for the occasion, were interviewed for 10 minutes and then received 5 minutes feedback.

Royal Alexandra and Albert School 2013 cycle ride

After completing a demanding 2-year A Level course, most 18 year olds would be planning to take it easy for a few weeks. But Ross

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Gardner, a student at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School has other plans. He will spend the summer cycling down the west coast of the USA, raising money for Cancer Research.
On 30th June Ross will fly to Seattle in Washington State. He will cycle from the USA/Canada boarder south through the states of Washington, Oregon and California and will end his journey at San Diego on the border with Mexico. The journey will take 3 months and Ross expects to travel around 40-60 miles a day. Ross will be making the journey alone, with no support so he has planned every aspect of the journey meticulously. He has 5 bags on the bike, each with essential items he will need for navigation, camping and maintaining the bike. Ross says “One of the biggest challenges will be finding somewhere to sleep each night.”
To prepare for the trip Ross has been training 3 times a week and had some practice camps. He has had to get used to the weight of the 5 bags on the bike which will make it very heavy and susceptible to being blown by strong side winds.
Ross had originally planned to take a gap year but didn’t want to go backpacking. He enjoys cycling so decided to condense his gap year into 3 months and travel by bike. He also wanted to raise money for Cancer Research UK, a charity that is close to his heart because he lost his grandfather and his dog to cancer. He says “It is hard to find someone who is not affected by cancer, so I hope to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research UK.”
He continues “I have had great support from my friends and family. I have raised about £800 so far and this has come from donations and fund raising events at school. Some of my friends have been sponsored to dye their hair and two others became vegetarian for a month – which they did not enjoy!”
Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis commented “Ross has shown determination and imagination in planning his trip. During his time in the Sixth Form he has demonstrated that he has the ability to meet challenges head on and I am sure he will be able to cope with anything that arises on the journey. I wish him every success this summer, both with the journey and with the fundraising.”
Ross, who is Head Boy at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School, has just completed his A level exams and is hoping to study Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff University when he returns to the UK in the autumn.

You can follow his progress on his blog:
www.SmallGuyLongRide.Blogspot.co.uk.

Donations can be made at:
www.JustGiving.com/SmallGuyLongRide.

There can’t be many state comprehensive schools that host dressage competitions for the British Horse Society, the foremost equestrian organisation in the UK, but that’s

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just what happened last weekend at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.

Competitors came from around Surrey to demonstrate their riding skills. There were three classes, the ‘Walk and Trot’, the ‘Prelim’ and the ‘Novice’ with a total of 37 competitors entered, and 10 of these coming from the School itself.

The ‘Walk and Trot’ class was won by Royal Alexandra and Albert School pupil, Ceandice Davison (17) riding Jammie Dodger, the ‘Prelim’ class was won by Romi Cospantini on Shamrock and the ‘Novice’ class was won by Julie Hawkins on Foggy. Rosettes were awarded to other RAAS pupils; Frida Magnussen (16) and Ella Davis (14) were placed 5th and 6th in the ‘Walk and Trot’ class. The School’s Stable Apprentice, Tarryn Poole, came second in the ‘Prelim’ class.

Jammie Dodger, the horse ridden by Ceandice Davison, is one of the horses recently acquired by the school. He came from Rapykyns Irish Horses which is based in West Sussex and is one of many that Rapkyns have supplied to the school.

Stables Manager, Irini Economou said “This competition has given our pupils, and other children from Surrey, the opportunity to practice their riding skills. They now have a better understanding of what is required when competing and can relate this to the skills they have learned in their riding lessons. Staff and pupils have worked hard to prepare the horses, riding school and themselves, for this important event. The newly-built stables and outdoor riding school have really come into their own and visitors have commented on the excellent facilities that we have here.”

The School will be hosting another dressage event for the British Horse Society on 13th October 2013. The British Horse Society (BHS) organises these events to give riders experience of riding competitively and also to raise funds for its charitable work.

The School completed construction of its new riding stables (based on the American Barn – style) late in 2012. The new stable block includes stables for 20 horses, tack rooms, a changing room for pupils and an office. There is also a new outdoor riding school and both new developments sit alongside the indoor riding school that was built some years earlier.

The Royal Alexandra and Albert School is benefiting from the Olympic legacy having just taken delivery of five storage units from the Olympic Water Polo

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Arena.

The Water Polo Arena, which was situated alongside the Aquatics Centre, was a temporary structure housing the water polo competition pool, a warm-up pool and seating for 5,000 spectators. The Arena, which was the first dedicated water polo venue to be built for an Olympics, is now being deconstructed with as many parts as possible being reused, recycled or relocated elsewhere.

The deconstruction of the Arena was handled by Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited, one of the UK’s largest mechanical and electrical building services businesses, and they offered the five GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) enclosures to the Royal Alexandra and Albert School. The School gladly accepted the offer and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services transported the enclosures to the School site.

The GRP enclosures had been purpose-built, to house electrical equipment that was required for the running of the Water Polo Arena. They are like very strong temporary buildings and the School will be using them to store exam desks, sports equipment and other bulky items.

Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis said “I would like to thank Balfour Beatty Engineering Services for providing these enclosures and for covering the cost of transport to the School. This school places great emphasis on sport, and, as a result, has large amounts of bulky sports equipment. The buildings will be perfect for storing this equipment as well as other items from the School and Gatton Park. This Olympic legacy will be with us for years to come as the enclosures were built to last.”

13 year old Amber Sexton got one step closer to her ambition of joining the England Judo squad last weekend. Amber, who was representing the

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Royal Alexandra and Albert School where she is a pupil, won a silver medal at the British Schools Judo Championships that were held in Sheffield. Students travelled from all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland for this prestigious event, which this year saw over 500 entrants.

Amber, who trains regularly at Westcroft Judo Club (Nork), did well to qualify for the Championship and was absolutely thrilled to have won the silver medal. In the Semi Final she used a new throw she had been practicing and performed it so well she was rewarded with the maximum score.

Amber said “I have been working hard on a new throw, the ‘Ouchi Gari’ and when I used it in the Semi Final it worked really well. I was very pleased with my silver medal”.

Amber is now working to improve her ranking in order to achieve her goal of a place on the England Judo squad. She is also hoping to be on the Reigate and Banstead team when it competes in the Surrey Youth Games.

With over 430 boarders, the Royal Alexandra and Albert School is generally considered to be a big boarding school. That is until you compare it

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with the school managed by Mr Jianwei Zhu who visited the Gatton Park based school on 18th March 2013.

Mr Zhu is the Head (known as ‘President’) of a school/college in Huzhou province in China. His school has over 4,000 pupils with 2,000 boarders. The boarders sleep in mega-houses with 400 pupils in each house. The houses have 6-bed dorms spread over six floors. Unlike most British boarding schools, boarders in Huzhou spend their waking hours in the school building and only sleep in the boarding house. Mr Zhu must have noticed how different boarding is at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School with big areas downstairs filled with table football, TVs, snooker tables and computer suites.

The host of the visit was Jayne Dickinson, Principal of East Surrey College. Mr Zhu’s school in China offers courses that are similar to those at East Surrey College. As the Redhill College does not have boarders, Mrs Dickinson arranged for Mr Zhu to visit nearby Royal Alexandra and Albert School.

After meeting the Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis, Mr Zhu was shown round the School and boarding houses by three mandarin-speaking pupils. They were able to explain to him what it is like boarding in a British school. Then Mr Zhu and Jayne Dickenson joined the Headmaster for lunch.

Headmaster Paul D Spencer Ellis commented “It was fascinating to hear about boarding in China and I think President Zhu found his tour of this school very interesting and a great contrast to his own boarding facilities.”

Photo: Mr Zhu with three pupils from the Royal Alexandra and Albert School

Many parents worry about how their children will cope with the walk/bus ride to school when they join secondary school. Road safety is a real

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concern as they become more independent.

The Royal Alexandra and Albert School recognises this and set up an afternoon session for its Year 7 pupils to learn about road safety. The session was run by Collingwood Learning who use drama to help them get the message across. Actors performed a half-hour play and then facilitated a workshop with the pupils.

The play and workshop raised awareness of road safety and how other factors affect this. Mobile technology e.g. phones and iPods, as well as peer pressure can all affect how aware children are of what is going on around them. The play showed the consequences of having a lack of concentration and brought home to pupils how important it is to take road safety seriously.

Head of Social Science, Tamasine Bellaby commented “The play put over a hard-hitting message and really brought home to pupils the importance of being aware of what is going on around them when they are crossing roads.”

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