Plans to celebrate the bicentenary of a very Royal School

Plans to celebrate the bicentenary of a very Royal School

Oxshott, Surrey, 22 May 2019The Royal Kent School (RKS), Oxshott is planning several community events over the next year in the run up to the school’s official bicentenary on 16 October 2020.

As the nation gets ready to mark the 200-year anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria on Friday 24 May, The Royal Kent School in Oxshott is busy making plans for a very royal celebration of their own. In 2020, the school will commemorate the founding of the school over 200 years ago.

Built in 1820, the school was named ‘Royal Kent’ as it was set up under the Patronage of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who lived in nearby Claremont and his sister, the Duchess of Kent and mother to the future Queen Victoria.

Until the building of the current school in Oakshade Road in 1958, the school was located on Oxshott High Street, on the site of the present petrol station. The 1820 building continued to be used until long after World War II, but it became more and more difficult to maintain the building and ensure it was fit for purpose.

The present-day RKS has visible reminders of the original building in the shape of a plaque which reads, ’Royal Kent School Founded 1820’, and the bell from the turret on its roof. In keeping with tradition, the school still ring this bell each morning to start the school day!

An Oxshott Sunday school started in a barn of Birds Hill Farm in June 1818, and was perhaps the school’s true predecessor. Early in 1818, Reverend. T. Lewis, a minister at the Islington Congregational Union Chapel, received a letter deploring the ignorant and depraved state of the people of Oxshott, saying they were greatly in need of religious education.  A far cry from the more recent labelling of Oxshott as the most expensive village in England and the premier address for top footballers!

For nearly 200 years, RKS has stayed true to its roots and provides a supportive and caring environment, where children are empowered to become confident, happy learners who achieve their very best – academically, socially and in readiness for later life. The school’s core virtues of Wisdom, Dignity, Hope and Community serve as a framework for the school which was proud to be featured so prominently on the new village sign erected earlier this month following a community funded project.

A more recent development in the school’s community curriculum is RKS’s Raising Aspiration programme where the local Community, Governors, Parents and Alumni are invited into the school to share their life experience with the children.

Miss Katie Hancock, Headmistress of RKS said ‘In readiness for the bi centenary preparations, the school would love to hear from more RKS Alumni willing to share their favourite memories of the school and other experiences.  Any donations of Royal Kent School memorabilia and historical documents to add to the school’s existing collection would also be gratefully received and help make this royal celebration even more memorable for the school and the community’.

For more information, please visit www.royal-kent.surrey.sch.uk/our-school/our-history-and-alumni.