Royal Wolverhampton School

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The Royal Wolverhampton School
Motto Nisi Dominus Frustra
("Except the Lord in Vain")
Established 1850
Type Independent day and boarding
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Mr Mark Heywood
Founder John Lees
Location Penn Road
West Midlands
52°34′20″N 2°08′18″W / 52.5723°N 2.1382°W / 52.5723; -2.1382Coordinates: 52°34′20″N 2°08′18″W / 52.5723°N 2.1382°W / 52.5723; -2.1382
Students 580
Gender Co-educational
Ages 2–18
Former pupils Old Royals

The Royal Wolverhampton School is a non-selective, independent day and boarding school in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. It has been granted provisional opening as a free school in September 2016 and will become one of a handful of state boarding schools in the country. [1]


The Royal Wolverhampton School was founded as The Wolverhampton Orphan Asylum in 1850. It was founded by John Lees, a local lock-manufacturer and freemason, after a cholera epidemic ravaged the town and left many children orphaned. The orphanage was completely funded by voluntary subscription and was dedicated to the education and maintenance of children who had lost one or both parents. [2]

The Royal Orphanage of Wolverhampton was created in 1891 when Queen Victoria gave permission for the prefix 'royal' to be used. The charity carried on using this title until the late 1940s when King George VI permitted it to be re-styled The Royal Wolverhampton School.[2]

The following decade saw a rapid decline in the number of pupils as the newly formed Welfare State took over some of the school's responsibilities. The cost of caring for orphans also dramatically increased and so the constitution was controversially changed to allow the admission of full fee-paying pupils. Their proportion has steadily grown to the extent that they now constitute around 90% of its students.

Buildings and Facilities[edit]

The Royal Wolverhampton School, Penn Road

The school's original premises were at 46 Queen Street, Wolverhampton. In 1854 it moved to new buildings on Penn Road.[2] These have been greatly extended over the years but they still form the nucleus of the current school.

Hilda Hayward Swimming Pool[edit]

The original Hilda Hayward swimming pool was constructed in the 1970s with money donated by the Hayward Foundation. It was named in honour of Sir Charles Hayward's wife who died during its construction.

This pool was destroyed in a fire in February 2005. Its replacement, also called the Hilda Hayward swimming pool, cost £2.5 million and was opened by Prince Edward in September 2006.

The Hilda Hayward pool also provides facilities for the School's Elite Swim Club and Learn to Swim Programme, part of the Amateur Swimming Association.

Royal Patronage[edit]

The school's patron is Prince Edward, the youngest son of the Queen. Prince Edward succeeded his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, in this role.

Financial Aid[edit]

There are many scholarship programmes and bursaries available to keep the school financially accessible to deserving students.


Although now a fee-paying independent school, the school maintains its heritage as a charity school through its Orphan Foundation scholarships based on financial need.

There are merit scholarships available to students who demonstrate talent and exceptional ability in academics, music, drama and sport. A scholarship is also available for those who enter the sixth form, the extent of it being based upon their GCSE results in the previous year.[3]

Forces bursaries[edit]

The children of serving personnel in the British Army, Navy or Royal Air Force are afforded £1,000 a term per child of military personnel in order to help them pay for their children to board.

Eric Idle was an Orphan's scholarship holder and benefited from a forces bursary as his late father had been a former member of the RAF.

Extracurricular Activities[edit]


The main sports on offer are athletics, basketball, football, cricket, rounders, netball and swimming.[4]


The CCF is currently commanded by Squadron Leader Darren Ireland who served as an Officer in the Royal Navy before joining the school.

All pupils in Year 8 up until Year 10 are required to be a member of the Combined Cadet Force. Other students (Year 11 onwards) have an option to continue CCF sessions. During the activities (4pm-5pm) period on a Monday through to Thursday afternoons they must participate in one Army Cadet or RAF Cadet teaching session; due to the school's distance from the sea the option of becoming a Sea Cadet is unavailable as it would be impractical. Those in the CCF learn to shoot and fly; an assortment of optional and mandatory field trips are also included every year. This is an exercise designed to build leadership and survival skills, as well as a good start for those considering a proper forces career.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Tom McTague (10 March 2015). "Exclusive £29,000-a-year boarding school which taught Monty Python star Eric Idle to SCRAP all fees". Mail Online.
  2. ^ a b c Roger Branton (23 November 1966). "School that is rich in history has big plans for the future". Wolverhampton Chronicle.
  3. ^ Merit Scholarships
  4. ^ Sport

External links[edit]