Excellence for all — inspiring individuals to achieve their personal best and to compete and contribute as local and global citizens.
The Free School at The Royal presents a unique offer for Wolverhampton and the surrounding area. It is an all-through, 4-19, co-educational, non-denominational state day and boarding school, providing outstanding non-selective education for all its pupils, within a strong and supportive community ethos.
This is built upon The Royal’s distinctive heritage over the last 160 years, its record of its commitment to educating the whole person, and has the full support of its patron, the HRH The Earl of Wessex.
At the heart of its vision for the Free School is the belief and track record of success in developing the whole person (emotionally, intellectually, socially, physically and creatively), alongside its commitment to ensuring all pupils are able to access those academic disciplines and subjects which are the passport to success at university and for future careers.
Through this holistic approach, the Royal develops the potential of every child, encourages leadership, resilience, responsibility and character, and achieves high academic aspirations for all, enabling them to lead independent, purposeful and fulfilled adult lives in a rapidly changing, multilingual world.
With full and weekly boarding options open to families with varying needs, the school’s boarding community attracts students from across the globe with British passports or leave to remain in the UK. James, 17, comes from Limassol, Cyprus where his parents are based as part of the UK Armed Forces. He chose The Royal for its excellent boarding facilities and emphasis on his holistic needs.
James is proud to say his transition to boarding could not have gone any smoother. The subjects he once struggled to juggle are his favourites, namely biology and history. He has even found the time to excel in football. His confidence to explore today is due to the faculty members who effortlessly double as his boarding parents. What James loves about them the most is that they are somehow always available to help or assist.
“The Head of Boarding and house parent come round during my lessons occasionally to see how we are doing,” he says. “Teachers come around during prep time and study periods too to ensure we remain productive.”
Joy Diya, 16, recalls her wellbeing challenges getting the best of her exam pressure. The naturally bubbly student found herself hiding away and avoiding interaction. It was not long until the people around her took notice. “Immediately, I was offered a support system, not to ‘fix me’ but to help me through the obstacles I was facing,” she recalls. “You’re quite literally never alone here.”
Joy first started boarding here at 11. Back then, there weren’t many students who were of the same age or younger than her. At first, Joy thought this would make it hard for her to socialise. “Luckily enough, older students and gap students took me in and treated me like their own age mate and younger sister. Frankly, this experience came to my advantage,” she says.
“Being around so many mature and intelligent people enhanced my vocabulary and intensified my auditory skills dramatically from a young age. My mother sometimes forgot who she was talking to when I returned home. Now as an older, more mature student, I now play the same role as they did for the younger students today.”
It’s clear that keen guidance and supervision do not just ensure students have time allocated to both homework and leisure but that their well-being is always safeguarded as well. A good balance is enforced to guarantee they’ll be able to make the most of evenings by relaxing with friends, watching movies or playing a board game. After-dinner activities are plenty too, spanning talks on nutrition, poetry, HIIT workouts, tai chi, or decorating — depending on the time of the year.
After a long, fulfilling day of enrichment, most students cannot wait to return to their house. James calls Dartmouth his “second home.” The space is reserved for boys in Years 9 to 13 and is equipped with TVs, game consoles, a piano, quiet zones, a large playing field, a full-size basketball court, two tennis courts, and six pet fish. Lichfield House is just as equipped. Situated in the heart of the main school building, it is currently home to girls in Years 7 to 13 and boys in Years 7 and 8. Both offer students the best of both worlds by exuding the warmth of a classically English school while boasting the use of the latest technologies.
Enter any boarding room at The Royal, and you’ll find smart devices, voice-controlled automatic plugs, programmed clocks, and of course, the latest smartphones and laptops, which students are never hesitant to turn in every day at 9 p.m. to their house parents — anything for an uninterrupted, good night’s rest before another day of productive fun.
QR codes are used to register for trips online, signing in and out via an app, and podcasts are recommended alongside books to help give students a deeper understanding of topics they are interested in. Such exposure adds up to a skillset sure to prepare boarders for their next step in life.
The Royal continuously emphasises the importance of leveraging technology while appreciating the basics. To strike a good balance between the two, the school created a “boarding passport,” which lists activities and tasks they believe are important for boarding students to try. The list can comprise anything from ironing a shirt to presenting in front of peers or visiting a new city.
Students venture off-site at least once a week. Past weekends saw them visiting major UK cities such as London, Manchester, Liverpool and Oxford. They’ve visited theme parks like Alton Towers. They’ve even explored scenic and historic destinations, such as the mountains of North Wales and Warwick Castle.
All opportunities and offerings were set in place by The Royal to future-proof the next generation.
“I would say that I am now more confident at making friends thanks to the environment in which I have evolved,” says James. “I feel I am more hard-working and ambitious since joining this school too. It has given me time to study and has pushed me to work tirelessly toward achieving success.”
Joy describes her time here in three words: fun, eye-opening and relationships. “The Royal is one of the most multi-cultural and multi-faith schools ever. Being around so many people who come from nothing or even come from everything is very eye opening to the outside world,” she says. “You form some of the closest bonds and relationships here since you’re with them every second of the day. It’s another family in a home away from home.”
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