Royal High offers girls a curriculum that is strong in science, languages and maths – and a choice of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and A Levels – in what is describes as a "nurturing yet challenging school environment".
With experience of delivering a girls’ only education for 150 years, RHS remains a strong advocate for single-sex education and has a reputation for being nurturing, friendly, and high-achieving without being an academic hothouse. It enrols around 600 students across its Nursery, Prep, Senior and Sixth Form, which are spread across two campuses – the Senior School/Sixth Form on Lansdown Road and the Nursery/Prep School at Cranwell House.
Headteacher Kate Reynolds, who was previously head of Leweston School, joined the Royal High in January 2020. Mrs Reynolds has a commercial background, having practised Law before moving into teaching English and Drama. When joining the school, Mrs Reynolds said her key focuses would include continuing to strengthen relationships locally. She describes the girls at the Royal high as having “energy and determination yet down to earth groundedness”.
Mrs Reynolds says that Royal high offers a “balance of a nurturing yet challenging school environment”. Girls can always talk to the in-house psychotherapist or wellbeing co-ordinator – and the school’s Pastoral and Well-Being Team also includes the much-loved Spitfire the dog, who even has his own official staff badge with photo ID.
The school’s GCSE options include plenty of STEM subjects including the sciences, computer science and design technology; languages are also strong here, and options include Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, French and German. All students learn Latin from Year 7.
In the Sixth Form, girls can choose either A Levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and they are guided by personal tutors to help them choose the right pathway for them. The school has offered the IB since 2008.
There’s a broad choice of A Level subjects including Mandarin, psychology, music, PE, fine art, economics, classical languages, classical civilisation and religion and philosophy. A Level students are encouraged to take the Extended Project Qualification, which involves research skills and high levels of independent learning; they must also study an enrichment course in subjects as varied as music technology, photography, Mandarin or sports engagement. Both programmes offer ideal preparation for university life.
STEM learning is very hands-on, whether in one of the very well-equipped science labs (there’s a Gel Electrophoresis machine for the scientists out there!) or in the school’s pond or greenhouse. There’s also a programme of school trips to support all subjects from science to drama.
Learning is enriched through the school’s Aspire programme, which offers students opportunities to attend super-curricular activities and lectures during the school day after 4pm. Designed to stretch and extend gifted students, the programme covers current affairs, challenging philosophical and ethical issues, and complex logical problems that are not covered in the school curriculum.
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In 2021, IB students achieved an impressive average score of 40 out of a possible total of 45. Over half of students achieved 40-plus points, and three students (Emily Bleakley, Leila Lambert and Marigold Whitaker) achieved top marks with 45 points.
Congratulating the cohort, the school's IB coordinator Jude Taylor, said: "They have dealt with more uncertainty than most young people of their age, and have become remarkably resilient as a result."
In 2020, the average IB score was a high 37, compared to 36 in 2019. In A Levels, 61.7% were A*-A and 85.1% were A*-B (in 2019, 46% were A*/A and 75% were A*-B). And in GCSES, 54% of grades were 9-8 and 73.9% were 9-7 (this compares 67% of grades at 9-7 in 2019).
In the same year, 77% of students went on to study at a UK university, with two-thirds of these girls attending Russell Group institutions. Just under 40% of the cohort are studying STEM subjects.
The Royal High is passionate about the arts, especially music. There’s a huge music programme with 10 music groups including Jazz Band, Pop and Rock Choir, Brass Ensemble, Samba Band, Vocalise, Orchestra; instrumental lessons offered to all students; and 35 musical concerts every year.
Facilities are outstanding – last year, it opened a £2m Steinway Music School with a large recital room and professional standard recording studio. There are also two large theatre spaces, including the Sophie Cameron Theatre which is housed in a former chapel, as well as a beautiful and well-lit art school that is used for both teaching and as an exhibition space.
In sport, girls can compete in gymnastics, dance, cross country, netball, hockey, tennis, cricket, athletics, golf and swimming – alongside timetabled PE lessons and a wide range of lunchtime and after-school sporting activities. Facilities include a sports hall, fitness suite, netball courts, tennis courts, and hockey Astroturf pitch.
RHS offers full, weekly and flexible boarding options in two newly refurbished boarding houses on campus – one for Seniors and one for Sixth Formers. Each house has communal areas, a large modern kitchen and quiet study area.
The Senior School is located in stunning grounds within walking distance of the centre of Bath. It is well-equipped with modern facilities and technology, and many rooms have been beautifully designed to offer well-lit, stylish and collaborative spaces to study.
Sixth formers have a dedicated library and study centre, as well as a newly refurbished dining hall.
Girls join the school in Year 7 from Royal High Prep School and local state and private schools; new students need to take an entrance assessment and attend an interview. For entry into the Sixth Form, students need a minimum six GCSEs at Grade 6 and above and Grade 7 in the subjects they wish to study at A Level or IB.
Annual tuition fees start at £13,983 for Year 7 day students and £30,714 for Year 7 boarding students.
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