Our House System

The RGS House system is a fundamental part of living our ethos and values, with House activities visible across academic, pastoral and co-curricular daily life at school.

Each RGS student and all staff are members of one of four Houses; Collingwood, Eldon, Horsley and Stowell.

The House system helps us to create smaller familial communities within the bigger school, increasing the sense of belonging and providing an opportunity for friendly competition.  Family members typically have the same House, with siblings in different years working together to represent their House. 

House activities include House Dance, House Music and House Sport (in almost every discipline); it is also the basis for our Sports Day challenges.  House points are available for all sorts of endeavour, not just formal House events.

Form groups in every year group comprise a mix of students from the four Houses.  Specifically in Senior School, students meet with other members of their House in bi-weekly Tutor Sets or House Assemblies, forming a familiar network of supportive students from across year groups, which will endure throughout their time at RGS and beyond into their lives as Old Novos.

Cuthbert Collingwood (1748-1810), spent his early years of education at RGS, but by the tender age of 12 he went to sea as a volunteer on board the HMS Shannon.

From that moment on, he was rarely on dry land and his life is a glorious litany of naval and military valour. Most famously, he served as Lord Nelson's second in command during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

There are some who say that his political, diplomatic and military judgement far outshone that of Nelson and there is certainly notable bias amongst locals as to who really won the Battle of Trafalgar.

The following month, Collingwood was raised to the peerage as Baron Collingwood of Caldburne and Hethpool.

In 1809, as his health began to decline drastically, Collingwood was eventually granted his request to be relieved of his command and return home. However, he died characteristically on board ship as he sailed to England in March 1810.

He was laid to rest beside his close friend Nelson in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral.


John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (1751-1838), was younger brother to William Scott. John Scott was also educated at the RGS, after which his father thought of apprenticing him to the family business. However, William intervened, having himself already obtained a fellowship at University College, Oxford and subsequently it was decided that John should further his studies there.

He entered University College in 1766 with the intention to take holy orders but progressed rapidly with his legal studies, obtaining a fellowship and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1770.

Two years later, John eloped with Bessie, the daughter of a Newcastle banker: a colourful and romantic story in itself. After entering parliament in 1782, Scott was appointed Solicitor-General, knighted, and promoted to Attorney-General. Entering the House of Lords in 1801 (the same year as his brother William) as Lord Eldon and Viscount Encombe, he ascended the Woolsack as Lord Chancellor of England. 

Thomas Horsley (1462-c.1545), was a corn merchant who served as Mayor of Newcastle five times during the reign of Henry VIII. He was a hugely powerful man, influential in establishing Newcastle as the wealthy town which it subsequently became.

In 1525 he made his will, endowing money for the establishment of a free school in Newcastle on his death and that of his wife, thus founding the Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School in 1545. 


William Scott, 1st Baron Stowell (1745-1836), was born in Heworth, the son of a coal tradesman.

He was educated at the RGS and then later at Oxford University but it wasn't until 1776 when Scott was in his thirties that he devoted himself to the study of law. His rise to success was rapid and within 12 years he had received a knighthood and had become Advocate-General. Among his other achievements were his parliamentary seats at Downton and Oxford University, as well as his Fellowship of the Royal Society, membership of the Privy Council and Judge of the High Court of Admiralty.

In 1821 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Stowell of Stowell Park in Gloucestershire.