State boarding school in Kent: what are the benefits?

Duke of York Royal Military School

Duke of York Royal Military School - Credit: Archant

There are many benefits to boarding schools: enhanced facilities, more comprehensive education and good pastoral care, sometimes at a very reasonable price. We spoke to Duke of York Royal Military School’s principal Alex Foreman about the benefits of the state boarding school

Prince Harry inspects the student guards during his visit to The Duke of York's Royal Military Schoo

Prince Harry inspects the student guards during his visit to The Duke of York's Royal Military School (photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters) - Credit: REUTERS

What are the differences between state boarding and independent boarding schools?

State boarding schools are significantly more affordable than independent boarding schools because the government subsidises the education costs, meaning parents only pay for their child's boarding. When choosing a state boarding school, parents can make substantial savings on a child's education without compromising on quality of education.

The Duke of York's Royal Military School is non-profit-making and is the only full-boarding state school in the country. The school's Academy status means education is free, with parents paying just £14,445 per year (2019/20) for boarding, meals, laundry and House subs. The only additional costs are for uniforms, pocket money and some trips. The average independent school will often charge far more than double this price.

Both types of school have a strong focus on the importance of education, but it is state boarding that comes at a fraction of the cost. GCSE results at DOYRMS are significantly higher than the national average and its school leaders and managers were rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted with the school achieving 'Good' overall in 2018. It is non-selective for admissions (except Sixth Form), meaning all students have a chance to benefit from state boarding, and achieve academic excellence whatever their ability levels.

Duke of York Royal Military School

Duke of York Royal Military School - Credit: Archant

What are the benefits of full boarding?

Many schools have a mixture of boarding and day students, but full boarding schools mean that all students are at school full-time and in the same situation. Increased contact hours and regular meetings with teachers and tutors means that boarding students are well looked after both academically and providing pastoral care with integrated student support services.

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With just over 500 students at The Duke of York's Royal Military School, class sizes are generally smaller and its status as a full boarding school means all students benefit from Saturday morning classes, prep and a wide variety of extra-curricular activities on top of high quality education. The school's principal, Alex Foreman, explains: "We have a strong community - enhanced by our military ethos - and fantastic facilities, meaning our students go into the world as resilient young people with great life skills."

Full boarding is also available for Sixth Form students, providing a great grounding for independent living and university life; accommodation is modern and comfortable with en suite bathrooms.

Duke of York Royal Military School

Duke of York Royal Military School - Credit: Archant

What can a military ethos provide for students?

A military spirit in a school equips students with transferrable skills to take with them throughout their further education and beyond into their careers. From providing an active lifestyle and extended education and prep hours, to a wide variety of after school clubs, boarding offers a well-rounded experience for students.

The Duke of York's Royal Military School is comprised of 55% students from Armed Forces families; however, it is open to students from all backgrounds who share a requirement to board and provide their children with continuity of education. Admission is only for children who are nationals of the UK and are eligible to hold a full UK passport, or those who are nationals of other European Union countries or those who have the right of residence in the UK.

"Even non-Armed Forces families appreciate the shared values of courage, integrity, respect, commitment, loyalty and self-discipline that permeates across all aspects of life at the school," says Alex.

There are 70 different clubs with superb facilities to choose from including sports, music and drama and enriching experiences such as Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, ceremonial parades and military band - and all within the breathtaking school grounds which cover 150 acres.

About The Duke of York's Royal Military School

The Duke of York's Royal Military School is the only state full boarding school in the country offering high standards of education, going beyond the curriculum to equip students aged 11 to 18 with important life skills and values. When students start, they become Dukies for life, entering a unique community that has been built on a rich heritage of more than 200 years and with HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, as the school's patron.

Open Mornings are held in March and October - visit the school's website for details