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Royal Russell School
Royal Russell School
Royal Russell School
Royal Russell School
top 200
Royal Russell School Croydon, London Visit
Royal Russell School
876 pupils, ages 11-18
Day and Boarding

Royal Russell School

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Our View

A wonderfully unflashy, family-focused school, where academics are purposeful, individuals valued and everybody celebrated for bringing something different to the table. We were struck by its nurturing atmosphere and brilliantly international outlook – don’t expect to find any cookie-cutters here.

Where is Royal Russell School?

It’s hard to believe that the school’s 110 acres of parkland are just a speedy 25-minute journey from London Victoria – hop off at East Croydon and a tram will drop you right at the gates. For those arriving from abroad, Royal Russell is just under an hour from London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

There’s an overarching sense of space on the university-style campus, with an impressive mix of 19th-/20th-century and contemporary architecture, and masses of woodland that is home to friendly families of deer. Leafy surroundings like these undoubtedly have a hugely positive impact on pupils’ learning experience – and, most importantly, students' mental health.

Headmaster at Royal Russell

Chris Hutchinson has been here for just over a decade. Easygoing, incredibly warm and a great leader, he is, according to one parent, ‘one of the loveliest people I’ve met’ – and he’s almost always trailed by his beautifully behaved cocker spaniel, Scrumpy. His impressive CV includes stints at Clifton College as head of physics, several years as a housemaster at Wellington and a headship at Newcastle School for Boys. His wife, Alex, is head of James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich and chair of the GSA.

What is the admissions process like?

It’s wise getting in early: Royal Russell Junior School pupils move seamlessly up to the senior school in Year 7 (there’s no assessment for them), but places for external applicants are heavily oversubscribed. Entrance for newbies into Year 7 is via the 11+; there’s a further intake into Year 9 via the school’s own exam, and more places available in the sixth form subject to achieving at least 36 points at GCSE. All applicants are interviewed, either in person or online. Academic, music, drama, art and sport scholarships are up for grabs at all entrance points, as are bursaries.

Academics and destinations

Academics are serious business here, and the curriculum is nicely broad in order to suit a wide range of abilities and interests. Media studies is a popular A-level subject; pupils can pick BTECs in sport and business; and there’s a very well-resourced art and photography centre. We snooped on a lively coding lesson – a handful of current pupils are shooting for spots at Cornell and other high-flying international and US universities and colleges to study computer science.

Pupils are ‘banded’ in subjects from Year 7 and streamed according to ability from Year 10. There’s plenty of extra support available for those who need it (we chatted to one dyslexic pupil who waxed lyrical about the one-on-one guidance she was getting outside of normal lesson times) and opportunities for the most gifted pupils to be really stretched.

Co-curricular activities at Royal Russell School

Sport takes place two afternoons per week, with fixtures against local schools on Saturdays. Facilities are ace: an indoor pool, plenty of pitches and tennis courts and a smart Astro for hockey – all available for use by the local community too. Boys’ football is huge – and, thanks to a new head of girls’ football, girls are on track for similar successes too (take note: there’s no rugby).

Day pupils often stay on for supper (which is included in the fees) to take part in the huge roster of evening clubs, societies and music ensembles: Model UN, Duke of Edinburgh and CCF are all very popular and an important part of school life. Royal Russell even has its very own young drivers’ club, where sixth formers can prep for their theory and practical driving tests at a reduced cost. 

Parents are encouraged to join in too – there’s a thriving choir made up of pupils, parents and staff, including Mr Hutchinson.

Boarding at Royal Russell

Mr Hutchinson describes Royal Russell as ‘a day school with boarders’, who make up roughly 20 per cent of the pupil population. That said, boarding certainly isn't just an afterthought here – the school's most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate review found the boarding provision to be 'excellent', noting the real lack of divide between the day and boarding communities. 

The fully-international boarding houses are packed to capacity, with boarders hailing from everywhere from China to Bulgaria and Nigeria. Weekends are filled with activities designed to help pupils get to know the UK better, including trips on the London Eye and boat rides down the Thames. We had a look around two boarding houses – both were brand new, with huge terraces overlooking awesome views of the leafy campus.

Royal Russell school community

A perpendicular house system is the beating heart of the school, and every (day and boarding) pupil from Year 7 and up is assigned a physical house to check into each morning. Housemasters and housemistresses work closely alongside a team of tutors responsible for keeping an eye on their pupils, challenging and supporting them. We got the overwhelming impression that every pupil here really is known individually by staff – and sensed a refreshing lack of teenage ‘coolness’ or cockiness. When we visited, sixth-formers were in the throes of a bespoke ‘bridge to life’ programme, dealing with issues around mental health, university life and gender equality.

This is a school for families looking for an inclusive and diverse community – and the pupil body reflects the melting pot of life in Greater London. Lots hail from south London, including Balham and Clapham, but the catchment area spreads out all the way to Oxted, West Wickham, Caterham and Kingswood. 

And finally....

It’s hard not to be struck by the lovely demeanour of pupils and staff here, who all share a palpable pride in their school. This is a place that encourages its pupils to confidently be themselves. As one former pupil told us: ‘You really find your place here.’

Gallery See All

  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • University destinations

    41% of leavers went on to a Russell Group university.
    2% of leavers went on to an American university.
    3% of leavers went on to an overseas university.
    6% of leavers went on to a creative arts or vocational course.
    76% of leavers went on to their first choice university.
  • Subjects offered


    Art & Design
    Business Studies
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Food Technology
    Media Studies
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies

    A Level

    Art & Design
    Business Studies
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Government and Politics
    Media Studies
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7£6,995
    Year 8 £6,995
    Year 9 £6,995
    Year 10£6,995
    Year 11£6,995
    Year 12£6,995
    Year 13£6,995
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7£13,826
    Year 8 £13,826
    Year 9 £13,826
    Year 10 £13,826
    Year 11£13,826
    Year 12£13,826
    Year 13£13,826

    Bursary contact:
    PA to the Director of Operations Mrs Donna Moon
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    The Learning Enrichment Department aims to assist those students who require additional support in order to reach their maximum potential. They also support parents and subject teachers with additional guidance and strategies when required.

    This school currently delivers the following interventions to pupils in class and outside class to support their learning, health and/or physical needs:
    Learning Enrichment is offered to students who are referred to the team by parents or staff, or who have been identified by screening tests on admission. Students are taught for a period a week and the support is targeted towards a pupil’s specific needs. Progress is evaluated on a termly basis. The team have a number of designated rooms, with the use of computer facilities and up-to-date assessment and intervention materials. Students are encouraged to attend Typing Club, which takes place at lunch time and helps students to improve their touch typing skills.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    The School Counsellors
    The School Counsellors are based in the Health and Wellbeing Centre and are present Monday- Friday. Pupils should initially speak with a teacher or nurse to be referred to the service.

    The Independent Listener
    The School provides access to an adult, outside the boarding and teaching staff body, whom pupils may want to contact about personal problems or concerns at school.
    Mr Smith is the school's Independent Listener. He is available to listen and to help with any difficulties.

    Co-ordinator: Ms Kate Tanswell
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: East Croydon
    Nearest London Overground station: West Croydon
    Journey time to London by train: 20 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Gatwick Airport (20 miles)

  • FAQs

    Is Her Majesty The Queen associated with Royal Russell school?  

    Yes – Royal Russell proudly shouts about its royal patronage, and rightly so. Queen Elizabeth II is the school's Royal Patron and has visited a whopping four times, opening new buildings and celebrating the school’s 125 year anniversary in 1979.   

    How many boarding houses are there are Royal Russell in Croydon?  

    There are four boarding houses at Royal Russell: Cambridge and Oxford for the boys, and Queen’s and Holldenden for the girls. As mentioned above, boarding houses are not strictly for boarders, and day students are assigned a boarding house too, eliminating any distinction between those that sleep at the school and those that don’t.

School Updates

  • Royal Russell International Model United Nations Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

    Royal Russell International Model United Nations Celebrates its 40th Anniversary
  • WATCH: Royal Russell Boarding

    WATCH: Royal Russell Boarding
  • WATCH: Royal Russell Virtual Tour

    WATCH: Royal Russell Virtual Tour
  • See Royal Russell School in our London Senior Schools Guide.

    See Royal Russell School in our London Senior Schools Guide.
  • See Royal Russell School in our All-through Schools Guide.

    See Royal Russell School in our All-through Schools Guide.
  • See Royal Russell in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide

    See Royal Russell in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide

Royal Russell School is
linked with:


Coombe Lane, Croydon, London CR9 5BX

020 8657 4433


ISI Report


Term Dates

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