MUCH like the contestants settling into Mastermind’s famous black chair, Britain’s schools show off their skills in a wide spectrum of specialist subjects. Stephen Haslehurst, Vice Principal (Curriculum & Learning), explains the Duke of York’s Royal Military School’s areas of expertise…

The Duke of York’s Royal Military School enjoyed an A level pass rate of 95 per cent in 2017, with more than a third of the A Level and BTEC results at the higher A*-B grades. 89 per cent of students went on to university to continue their education, with the remainder joining the forces or moving straight to employment, with one student taking up an apprenticeship in Computing.

Outstanding success included one student who achieved A*A*A in Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Geography and another who achieved AAAA in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics and is now moving on to read Medicine at University. There were some excellent GCSE results with 79% of students in English and 69% of students in Mathematics, gaining Grade 4 and above, as a result of which the School received a letter of congratulation from the Director of Education for Kent.

As all students are boarders, the academic successes are just one part of life at the School. All students have a Housemaster or Housemistress who oversees their care, as well as a dedicated Tutor to monitor social and academic progress and further support from the team of Pastoral Leaders. Progress in the social setting is nurtured as much as that in the classroom.

The unique military traditions are a key part of the School’s heritage but also add an extra dimension to the current life of students. All students participate in parades, and it is the students themselves that lead the preparations for these events, culminating in Trooping the Colour at the end of the School year on Grand Day.

Beyond this, students in Year 9 take the Duke of Edinburgh Award at Bronze level, with many thereafter progressing to Silver or Gold. The three services are represented in the CCF which has an important place on the weekly timetable.

Opportunities to develop qualities of leadership are one of the School’s greatest strengths and can include becoming School or House prefects, sports captains, School Council or messing representatives, CCF or ceremonial appointment holders amongst others. The key values of courage, integrity, discipline, loyalty, respect and commitment are consistently promoted against a backdrop of learning.

There is an extensive range of sports provision, with rugby, hockey, netball, cricket, rounder’s, athletics, tennis and cross country played competitively against other schools and in inter-House competitions. Beyond this, the School’s swimming pool, pitches and sports halls are used for a wide range of other activity including martial arts, basketball, football, squash, trampolining, badminton and fitness.

Dance and drama productions feature across the year, as well as a wide range of music including choirs and ensembles, such as the Steel Band and Big Band, which feature in Christmas and Summer concerts, as well as the hotly contested Musician of the Year and Inter-House Song Competitions. There are many other clubs and activities, such as debating, board games, enterprise and yoga. Students are given the opportunity to find new pursuits, and develop those with which they are familiar, so as to provide depth to their lives, now and in the future.

The School, though, does not solely look inwards. Links with other countries are promoted through academic exchanges with Belgium, France and Spain. Leadership activities have also taken place in Bangladesh, with sports tours visiting France and Holland in recent years.

Musicians in the military band have visited America, where international co-productions of musicals such as West Side Story have also been staged before the reciprocal performances in Dover. As a result of these extensive links, the School is a recipient of the prestigious international award.

To find out more about the Duke of York’s Royal Military School, visit

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