|The Duke of York's Royal Military School|
|Motto||Sons Of The Brave|
|Type||Co-educational Boarding School|
|Headteacher||Mr Charles Hugh Johnson MA (Oxon)|
|Ages||11 to 18|
|Colours||Navy, Maroon & White|
The Duke of York’s Royal Military School is a co-educational secondary school in Dover, Kent, open to pupils whose parents are serving or have served in any branch of the armed services at any rank. The school is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence.
The Duke of York’s Royal Military School was founded in 1803 by Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, son of King George III and Queen Charlotte and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. The school was originally named the Royal Military Asylum and was located at what is now known as the Duke of York's Headquarters in Chelsea, London. The school was co-educational. Today the Chelsea site is home to The Saatchi Gallery, as well as the school's Old Boy's Association .
The RMA was founded as an establishment to deal with many orphans of the armed forces during the years 1793-1815 from during conflict between Britain and Revolutionary France. The RMA was modeled on the Royal Hibernian Military School (1769-1924) with which it merged in 1924, and based on a monitorial system.
In 1892 the RMA was renamed The Duke of York's Royal Military School, became an all-boys school and, in 1909, moved to new premises constructed on the cliffs of Dover, Kent, United Kingdom. At that time the school was the most technically advanced in the United Kingdom, with hot water to all houses, electric in most rooms, an indoor heated swimming pool and a miniature railway to transport stores and the copious quantities of coal needed to heat the school. An interesting left over from this period is the tunnel network beneath the school which links up with the tunnels beneath the former-Connaught Barracks and those under Dover Castle. (Running this gauntlet has for decades been a popular clandestine activity!)
In 1994 the school reverted to being co-educational.
At the present time the school receives sponsorship from every Regiment and Corps of the British Army, and the Royal Marines, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
Despite the sponsorship that currently passes through the Ministry of Defence to the Duke of York's, the school is currently involved in a widely disputed argument on whether to become an Academy. It is hoped the resulting decision will enable the school to keep its military traditions; thus becoming an 'Academy with Military Traditions'. This may finally lay to rest the somewhat peculiar status of the school. Specifically, that it is funded partly by parents (who pay more than £10,000 per annum) and is therefore classified as an independent school; while also being somewhat superficially a public school (which usually cost around £25,000 per annum); and as such has needed to retain additional state funding, known as military sponsorship, from the Ministry of Defence (which is granted in recognition of parents' military service to the nation).
The school teaches a traditional curriculum based around the National Curriculum but geared to the best chance of securing a place at a top university, completing professional training or entering officer training with the Armed Forces. Foreign languages are compulsory throughout the school career and all subjects save humanities are setted.
Regardless of the inevitability that some pupils will either fail or in many cases prefer not to reach the standards the school impresses upon them, it is certainly felt among former pupils, whether they be Colonels in the Army, lawyers, merchant bankers, airline pilots, fashion models, professional athletes, academics, writers, entrepreneurs, teachers, dentists, office clerks, ranking soldiers, pub landlords, plumbers or white van men, that the Duke of York's Royal Military School made them proud.
Nearly all pupils enter higher education. The predominant destinations are new universities, although each year significant numbers of pupils go on to Russell Group universities; and there is a track record of regular success in the highest order of academia with pupils going up to Oxford and Cambridge.
For some decades the school has run exchange programmes with military schools in France and Germany. With the expansion of NATO membership into the former Soviet block the school has developed exchange programmes with a number of Eastern European military schools.
After breakfast and fatigues the school day begins with Chapel. There are then two forty minute lessons, a break, another two lessons, lunch, pupil-led sports, another two lessons, a break, another two lessons, dinner, prep, and then spare time before bed. Wednesdays and Saturdays are half-days with lessons ending at lunch; and for this reason these two days are the main sporting days of the week. Prep is done for 2 hours each weekday evening. Sundays follow a different routine entirely: starting with breakfast and fatigues, then Parade and Chapel, then lunch, leaving the afternoon free.
Games is the term given to the master-led sports matches on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. (On the Monday two of the afternoon lessons are replaced with Games). During the autumn all boys play rugby and all girls hockey. In the spring and summer pupils choose between sports: this list is not exhaustive, but cross-country running, swimming, cycling, tennis, badminton, squash, cricket, football, horse riding, netball and rounders are available.
The school plays matches against many public schools in the south of England. These matches generally take place on Saturdays, but occasionally on Wednesdays. Many pupils have not only school sporting colours but also membership of county and regional teams.
In their spare time large numbers of pupils also make use of the multi-gym and do additional exercise and sports. These pupils tend to be preparing for the Royal Marines' Commando Course or the Parachute Regiment's Pre-Parachute Selection Company, and are generally the same pupils as attend the more advanced Adventurous Training programme.
Firstly, pupils clean and iron their own uniforms and polish their own shoes. Secondly, they maintain their appearance to the high standards expected of them. Baggy shirts and dirty shoes are definitely not de-rigueur and are in no way acceptable. (And appearing so sloppy and with so little pride would lead to Fatigue punishments). Furthermore, there are various ties relating to sporting colours and types of prefectship. Additionally the appearance of School Prefects' and Head Boy's and Girl's coats is differentiated by the number of buttons, much as for Huntsmen and Hunt Masters. The military rank structure is not represented in the civil school uniform.
Ceremonial Parades take place each Sunday morning; the grandest of these being Remembrance Sunday and the Grand Day. On Parade, as well as for all military activities, pupils are instead called Cadets and are organised into ceremonial Guards or else play an instrument in the Band. Cadets wear the standard dark blue ceremonial uniform of the British Army. Some of these uniforms bear internal graffiti listing names and dates from nearly 100 years ago: a sure sign that the uniforms were both made properly and have been maintained properly.
The cap badge of the Duke of York's Royal Military School is worn in the beret or cap, while that of parent's unit in the Army, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy is worn on the chest. Cadets clean, iron and re-clean their own uniforms. In addition Cadets turn not only the toe caps of their shoes but rather the entire shoe into the gleaming mirror-finish of parade gloss polish. Within the school polishing is referred to as "sweating" rather than the "bulling" term commonly used in the Army and Royal Marines. Additionally Cadets clean their brasses and belts. For more senior Cadets this includes polishing and cleaning peaked caps and Sam Browns; and for Officer Cadets there is the additional labour of cleaning a sword.
The Officer Cadet and the Cadet Sergeant Major are responsible for training the Guard in drill and maintaining their dress standard. They have Cadet NCOs to assist them. There is one Senior Under Officer who directs the Parade and with whom ultimate responsibility lies. Standards of marching drill are extremely high - with Cadets often demonstrating better drill than the Brigade of Guards, and at all times comparable.
The school's Regimental Sergeant Major, normally drawn from the Brigade of Guards, keeps an overview of the activities of the Officer Cadets, the Cadet Sergeant Majors, and the whole Parade. It is he who first teaches Cadets to march and he who accompanies the Inspection Party on Parade.
The Band is run differently: a Band Sergeant Major, drawn from the Army or Royal Marines, rehearses the Band and Corps of Drums. He has two assistants, an Officer Cadet and a Cadet Drum Major.
The CCF is compulsory for all pupils. Unsurprisingly for a military school all of whose pupils come from military families, the CCF is taken very seriously and is used to contribute to the mature development of each pupil. The older pupils instruct and teach the younger pupils. Live firing of NATO 5.56MM ammunition is done on the ranges while blank firing is done as part of infantry training. The pupils' efforts are regularly tested and culminate in an annual military camp that includes an extended exercise. Ranks range from Cadet to Officer Cadet.
All Cadets must receive infantry training when they are either 15 or 16 years old if they have not already done so, in order to prepare them for the annual camp exercises. In addition all Cadets are trained in signals. As Cadets will be at the school for typically 5 to 7 years there are other activities besides the CCF. These include climbing, canoeing and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
There is also the opportunity for Cadets to go on Adventurous Training alongside the Regular Army. This is done in the Brecon Beacons and includes at least 2 days of hiking, covering at least 60 miles. On their first attempt Cadets are accompanied by Officers from the school, and the atmosphere is concentrated on developing the Cadets toward greater fulfillment through further endeavors. Longer courses of 3 days and 90 miles without adult supervision are available to Cadets who have excelled in the basic course. The training also includes pot holing, rock climbing, horse riding and a great deal of orienteering.
It is said that the Army thrives on discipline: the Duke of York's has a two century track record demonstrating that the military countenance never mends something unless it is broken.
The multi-layered rank structure at the Duke of York's appears somewhat top-heavy. However, it should be noted that the sixth formers of the school practically run the day-to-day affairs of all the pupils. Central to the daily concerns of more junior pupils (12 to 16 years) are Fatigues.
Fatigues are housekeeping, laundry and cleaning duties, all undertaken by pupils while supervised by sixth formers. When jobs have not been done to the highest standards, despite the sixth formers' best efforts, those sixth formers levy extra Fatigues as punishments. These punishment Fatigues take place during the periods when pupils would otherwise have free time on afternoons on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Punishment Fatigues are also given for insolence to sixth formers or members of staff. Indeed, older pupils administer punishments that at many other schools would be set by members of staff. This system places great responsibility on pupils and teaches them self-discipline, fairness, initiative, pride in work, management, mutual respect and team work. The system is modelled on the military rank structure.
There are also Battle Fatigues specific to the CCF which are more robust than normal Fatigues.
All sixth formers have leadership roles within the school. As such all sixth formers are also Cadet NCOs. A large number of sixth formers are also either House Prefects, Junior Under Officers, or School Prefects, or Head of Houses; there is a Head Boy and a Head Girl who are taken further into the school's management structure than other ranks of prefecture. Lastly there is a Senior Under Officer. In some circumstances a pupil may attain higher military recognition while having comparably limited school rank, or vice versa. As such pupils are able to develop responsibility and demonstrate talent in one area which they may lack in the other.
Hall is where all meals are taken. From the Third Form onwards pupils are members of senior boarding houses and as such are seated at long oak tables, with the more junior pupils at one end and sixth formers, including the various types of prefects, seated at the other. One of the prefects is in charge of the table. Every House eats in Hall at the same time. Within the Houses a pair of pupils from each of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Forms lay their respective tables and later clean table. Masters sit at table at the invitation of Prefects - although the invitation is a mere formality.
The First and Second Form pupils take their meals in the same way but are supervised by their House Master and House Mistress, along with the House Matrons.
High Table is where the Headmaster, the Deputy Headmasters, the Head Boy and Girl, and a combination of sixth formers and guests take lunch. The table is waited on. Some sixth formers become High Table regulars owing to their particular social skills and etiquette. Guests are invited from the Officers' Messes of nearby Army battalions, Royal Navy ships and Royal Air Force squadrons. Members of the school's board of governors, who are themselves among the most senior military officers and leaders in business and commerce, are also invited regularly.
Pupils have access to extensive sporting facilities; indeed sports take place every day, with main sports like rugby and hockey being played twice per week. Pupils also engage in sports and athletic training in their own time each day. The school has an exceptionally strong sporting culture. The 150 acres (607,000 m²) of land provides more than enough room for, among others, a full size athletics track, Astroturf, swimming pool, indoor squash courts, gymnasium and a dozen full size grass pitches for rugby union, cricket and tennis.
With all these facilities as well as a strong structured education pupils are notable for being pre-dominantly successful in sports. The school contributes large numbers of young sportsmen and women to inter-school matches with public schools, as well as to county and regional championships. Many pupils are members of county teams.
The school's best young sportsmen and women regularly play those of the Duke of York's Royal Military School Old Boys' Association.
The school is currently divided into nine Houses. Until the school became coeducational in 1994, only eight boarding houses existed and these were subdivided into two junior (Haig and Kitchener)and six senior (Roberts, Wolseley, Wellington, Clive, Wolfe and Marlborough) houses.
(Haig and Kitchener) houses were re-modelled in the 1960s to hold 4 dorms instead of the traditional and usual 3, the extra room being built onto the end of the house past the bootroom and toilets. These extensions included a laundry room, the dorm itself, a shower area, the Deputy Housemaster's room and a second multi-use room. The long, open dormitories were remodelled in the mid 1980s with more private cubicles and the multi-use room was modified to contain 3 extra cubicles.
As part of the preparation for coeducational status, the former sanatorium was converted into a ninth boarding house, Alanbrooke. This was initially a mixed-age house housing all of the school's female pupils. As additional girls arrived over successive years, Marlborough was converted to a senior girls' house. The male incumbents were moved into Kitchener which then became a senior boys' house. The intake of male junior school pupils was, of necessity, reduced at this time due to the limited space available to convert into additional bed spaces in Haig.
|House Name||House Colour||Gender||Age|
The San is staffed by members of Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Civilian General Practitioners attend clinics in the San.
The Duke of York's Military Band is the largest military band in the United Kingdom, being larger even than the Massed Bands of the Brigade of Guards. Cadets in the Band parade alongside the various Guards (which correspond to boarding houses) each Sunday morning during term-time and on the annual Grand Day at the end of the summer term. In recent years the Band has performed at:
Along with Eton College and Cheltenham College, the Duke of York's Royal Military School is one of only three UK schools to have military colours. While Eton and Cheltenham parade their colours on rare occasions, the Duke of York's Royal Military School parades its colours briefly each Sunday as the Parade enters Chapel, and on a number of ceremonial parades in the course of the year.
Despite pupils having multi-faith backgrounds the school adheres to the practices of the Church of England as required of English boarding schools under law. However ceremonies are provided for all denominations and faiths. Chapel is taken each week day morning by pupils with a full church service on Sunday following Parade. Consequently Cadets go to church services in Chapel wearing their ceremonial uniforms. On days of special religious significance the Chapel follows the traditions of High Church.
Every sixth form pupil must read at least one lesson from the New Testament to the Chapel congregation during their final two years at the school. As might be expected, this means that on days of special religious significance when the rituals of High Church are being observed the Padre, as Priest, reads the lesson.
The walls of the chapel are laid up with the battle honours belonging to former Cadets' regiments and corps; but of more note are the historic carved marble tablet lists of the thousands of Dukies who have sacrificed their lives in Great Britain's various wars and conflicts since 1803. An inordinately large number of these dead hold decorations for gallantry and distinguished service. There is almost certainly no school in the United Kingdom that has such a valourous track record, although it is hard to establish because the school, as an agency of the Ministry of Defence, and moreover extolling the values of the British Armed Forces, does not compile public lists of gallantry awards, as some other schools have a practice of doing, in order not to belittle the tremendously brave and courageous conduct of all forces personnel on active service regardless of whether they have received recognition.
The school has a memorial to the Great War and the Second World War placed at a topographically significant point in the school's grounds. The Parade and Band pays its respects here on the Armistice Commemoration. A great number of former pupils, many of them in the Armed Forces, also attend, along with Dukies who are now Chelsea Pensioners.
At the end of each summer term the school parades for Grand Day. This is a special parade of much greater complexity and length than its weekly counterpart performed each Sunday, and is similar in style and length to the Trooping of The Colour on Horse Guards. The purpose of Grand Day is to display the school at its finest to a visiting dignitary, who is either a member of the Royal Family or a senior General. Grand Day has its origins in the school parading before its founder, the then Duke of York when the school was founded in 1803.
In the build-up toward Grand Day the Guards (each corresponding to boarding houses) undergo the Guards' Competition. The purpose is to test skill at ceremonial drill and Cadets' standards regarding kit turnout. The school traditionally excels at ceremonial drill with Cadets having been taught the same standards of fortitude and verisimilitude as required by the British Army's Brigade of Guards. The outcome of the Guards' Competition ranks the Guards' Order of Precedence for Grand Day. The winning and therefore senior Guard is referred to as Number One Guard, with the others in declining order.
Grand Day is watched not only by Royalty and Generals, but also by the parents of the Cadets. Also among the crowds are Chelsea Pensioners who themselves are Dukies.
Sons of the Brave
Oh LORD, Thy Banner floateth o'er us, Beneath its folds we stand and sing, In Majesty go Thou before us, Our Saviour Christ! Our Captain-King, Sons of the Brave! our hearts now hail Thee Bravest of all! and cry to Thee Oh LORD, make us Thy faithful soldiers, And lead us on - to Victory!
We come to Thee, who in Thy meekness Did once our boyhood's perils face That Thou might know our wants and weakness, And all our need of help and grace, Sons of the Brave! we would be worthy Of this our name in fight for Thee Oh LORD, make us Thy faithful soldiers, And lead us on - to Victory!
We come to Thee for Thine assistance, Our foes are fierce - the battle long Alone, how feeble our resistance! With Thee beside us we are strong. Sons of the Brave we know can never, Uplift a prayer unheard by Thee Oh LORD, make us Thy faithful soldiers, And lead us on - to Victory!
We come to ask Thee that Thy blessing May rest on comrades far away, May they each day, Thy Name confessing, Still find in Thee their strength and stay. Sons of the Brave! may all be gathered, Bravest of all at last to Thee Oh LORD, with all Thy faithful soldiers Give us the palm of Victory!
The pupils are well known for their high school spirit which continues well after school through a strong Old Boys (and now Girls also) network. It is common for pupils generations apart to socialise with each other as if they had grown up together. This can be particularly useful when travelling as the school's unique background has resulted in a wide spread of ex pupils across the globe. There are particularly high concentrations in Australia and Hong Kong.
Moreover, specific regiments and corps of the British Armed Forces have become increasingly popular as career choices for former pupils, leading to many ad-hoc Old Boys' Associations: the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Army's technical Corps, the Brigade of Guards, and particularly the Royal Marines' Commandos and the Parachute Regiment are popular destinations for both enlisted personnel and officers.
Despite the propensibly masculine name the Duke of York's Royal Military School Old Boys' Association is also for old girls from Dukies. The first girls to be accepted in the modern era were taken in during autumn 1994. (In the early era from 1803-1892 the school was co-educational). In 1996 these nouveau-girls left the school and voted to retain the title "Old Boys' Association", and opinions have remained thus since.
The Association has a club house at the Duke of York's Headquarters (which it shares with the The Saatchi Gallery), two very active web sites (www.dyrmsoba.info and www.dyrms.net) as well as Facebook groups and a wealth of social activities.
The School celebrated its bi-centenary in 2001–02. It held a commemorative service at Christmas in 2001 as well as a special Parade at the end of 2002, where it received new colours from HRH Duke of York, who also acted as inspecting officer on the parade. Select pupils of the then First and Second Forms were involved in the re-enactment of the founding of the Royal Asylum at Chelsea.
The school celebrates the centenary of its move to Dover in 2009 and amongst many special events it is hosting a reception at the House of Lords, a march through Dover followed by Drum Head Service, a drama production of Romeo and Juliet and several concerts.
As the school's status within the Ministry of Defence has changed over the years, there has been a knock-on effect on other aspects of school life. This is currently highlighted by the school seeking Academy status in order to maintain an edge in the competitive sphere of increasingly expensive private education; and with an awareness of the increasingly strained MOD budget.
Until 1999 the School's headmasters were all serving military officers of the rank of at least Colonel. Since then there have been two civilian headmasters. The school also has a Regimental Sergeant Major among its staff whose primary role is to enforce military standards and discipline, which includes ceremonial duties.
Giles Vickers-Jones, creator of ITV at the Movies , television presenter, author of The Best Day of My Life , Professional Modelling and The 7 Worst Men In London, environmental campaigner, male model