As Newcastle's oldest school we've been working with 105 local state schools, reaching 10,000 of their students, raising aspiration and educational attainment across the region through innovative academic support.
Royal Grammar School (RGS) is Newcastle’s oldest school, approaching its 500th anniversary in 2025, but is looking to the future by embracing new technology in learning and teaching – to create educational opportunities for thousands of children, in partnership with state schools across the region.
The school is delivering real social impact to children and young people through life-changing means-tested bursary places, and now 1 in 16 children at the private school receive a free education. Bursaries are targeted at families living in the most deprived areas of the region, and in the past 20 years, RGS has supported 447 bursary families, enabled by loyal donors who support the Jesmond school’s aims.
Additionally, the school is increasingly sharing academic and co-curricular opportunities through over 50 different projects run in partnership with schools across the North East. Projects focus on subjects including physics, chemistry and biology, computer science and technology, engineering and robotics, art, languages, classics, debating UCAS mentoring and sport.
RGS has recently launched its 2023 social impact report, which details the work and the difference the school has made. Examples include where schools have seen mock exam grades rise – in one case, from a Physics A Level U grade to a B – following small-group intervention work. Elsewhere the school has mentored students with Oxbridge applications, provided further maths coaching in schools otherwise unable to provide specialist staff, and even led ten primary schools through the process of entering First LEGO League.
The work has reached over 750 North East state schoolteachers who have worked collaboratively on curriculum development and CPD. This year RGS is part of the National School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) scheme and is directly recruiting and training teachers to help fill the region’s Maths and Physics teacher vacancies.
RGS director of partnerships John Smith said: “We believe that every child should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and to explore their passions. We’re dedicated to finding long-term cross-sector approaches to create sustained impact for young people in our region, through providing intervention to individual students today, and supporting our region’s amazing teachers for tomorrow. We’re proud that RGS is bringing diverse partners and funding streams together towards a common goal, and that the North East has a schools partnership model which is unique in the country.”
RGS receives support from a number of companies and foundations to enhance its social impact work and to ensure programmes are sustainable in the longer term, including The Reece Foundation, British Engines, The HMCK Charity, Classics for All, Newcastle Building Society and Virgin Money Foundation.
Chris Zarrage, director of school-led regional network Schools North East, said: “It’s fantastic to see schools like RGS finding new ways to address issues that impact upon the schools of our region.
“This proves that schools can collaborate beyond geographical or sector barriers and help each other for the benefit of the North East’s young people.”
John added: “The challenges facing education and young people at the moment can only be solved through partnership and collaboration. We have capacity and influence to make a wider impact beyond the school walls with RGS Partnerships and Bursaries. We are driven by the difference we can make, not only to the trajectory of the lives of students who attend our school but also to our broader community and wider society.”
If you would like to read more about our Social Impact please click here.