Logo of Rugby

Pupils Info

Gender – Co-Ed School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – 815 Pupils


Average Class Size: 17
Day and Boarding School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 9%
Day: £20,697 Boarding: £32,985
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 88%

Often and deservedly called one of the nicest public schools in the country, Rugby is mostly about being a good person, a lot about sport and not at all about churning out identikit rahs. Rugby strives ‘for excellence in everything we do’ and it’s pretty darn close to it, as well. It’s well-established but unsnobby, results- driven but not hothouse-y and pupils come out as confident, intellectually curious individuals. One of the few schools where pupils often want to stay in at weekends.

Background and Reputation:

Rugby has always been thought of as the sporty school of choice – not only was Rugby football invented here, but it also had strong ties with the Olympics. Sport is still a massive part of the culture of the school; but these days it’s equally as much about being sporting as being ‘a sport’. It may be nearly two hundred years since the famous Dr Arnold sat in the headmaster’s study, but his ethos still imbues the school. The duty of the school, he said, was to provide: ‘First religious and moral principle, second gentlemanly conduct, third academic ability.’ The current head, Patrick Derham, is hugely popular with parents and pupils alike, and with reason: he is fully engaged in all aspects of school life, from teaching lessons (History is his subject) to watching as many games matches as possible. Rugby’s bursary schemes have always been a strong point; the number of pupils on bursaries is currently at 8.5%, set to rise to one-tenth by 2020. The atmosphere is that you’re lucky to be there – in a non-pious way. ‘My education is the best gift my parents could ever have given me’ says one former pupil – a sentiment echoed by many old Rugbeians.

Academics and Exit Results:

Rugby simply provides absolutely excellent results. Last year, nearly two- thirds got A grade or above in A-Levels; meanwhile three-quarters were achieving the same high levels at GCSE. Of course, Rugby follows the curriculum. But there’s so much more than that, too. They offer IGCSE as well as the Cambridge Pre-U. In sixth form, all pupils write an extended essay on a subject of their choice, outside of their normal syllabus. History and languages are popular throughout, as are Class. Civ. and Latin – but the range of subjects on offer is immense. Pupils can study Japanese, media, photography and economics as well as traditional subjects. The Temple Reading Room (the Victorian library) is one of the most congenial places to work in any school – or, for that matter, university – in the country.

Social and Pastoral:

As you’d expect of a school of this calibre, the pastoral care is excellent – if strict. All pupils are given a list of rules which cover everything from bedtime to alcohol (6th formers are allowed two units of booze on a Saturday night, with their supper, at the bar). There’s masses of interaction between pupils and the pastoral teams – which ranges from house masters to prefects and a chaplaincy. Bullying isn’t a problem here: partly because it’s such an inclusive environment, sure, but also because there are so many structures in place to root it out as soon as it rears its ugly head. There’s an on-site counsellor as well as a doctor’s surgery. We were hold that lots (“nearly a quarter”) of 6th formers smoke, although it’s strictly against the rules, but there isn’t much of a drug problem (which risks immediate suspension).

Sport, Music and Drama:

Rugby is a sporty school; there are no two ways about it. And they’ve invested the money in showing it: wonderful facilities, amazing pitches everywhere you look, a 25 meter indoor pool, not to mention the gym (listed) and the less traditional sports on offer such as golf, table tennis, trampolining and polo. Pupils who aren’t natural members of the hockey squad should be able to find something to suit them; even the least sporty can face doing an hour of yoga once a week. Music is very strong, too (is there anything that isn’t?!). All pupils are encouraged to take lessons or join in one of the choirs or orchestras – and it’s not just classical. There’s a studio where pupils can make CDs and numerous rock bands, as well as accordion and harp lessons on offer. Drama as well is brilliant, with the incredibly Macready Theatre which plays host to one major play and musical every year. Houses have their own drama cultures, and lots of students take productions to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Art is taken seriously as well, not only on an academic level but vocationally too. The school has its own Arts Festival and gallery space. There are plenty of visiting speakers and lots of encouragement for pupils to branch away from oil paints and try their hands at sculpture, collage and so on.


The choice of extracurricular activities is extraordinary. In the 6th form all pupils spend their Thursday afternoons doing some form of community service: options vary from reading in prisons to helping in a charity shop or, in school, joining in with the Model United Nations or the Green Club. Obviously there’s CCF and Duke of Edinburgh, too, if that’s your bag. And Rugby, unsurprisingly, has tons of societies too, from philosophy to photography via wine and the enginerring society – all of which are popular with students whose spare time isn’t taken up with sports practices and matches.

Trips range from the local and fun (the Harry Potter studios) to the learned (London theatres) to the seriously swanky. Politics students can go to America, classics to Italy and history to Krakow.

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