The Royal School is one of the top boarding schools in Ireland

The Royal School is one of the best resourced co-educational boarding schools in Northern Ireland and recent upgrading and improvement has included the provision of a Sixth Form House on the Mall adjacent to the School.

There’s something special about life in boarding.  Boarding makes school a home, and therefore makes home a place of continual learning and friendship. Life in a boarding school enables a blurring of the distinction between staff and pupil; as together they live life in close proximity, developing an increasing understanding of each other’s perspective.

Being a boarder helps develop independence, fosters a sense of community, encourages personal growth and provides opportunities for development, all within a supportive academic environment.

Boarding offers pupils, the chance to enjoy to the full all the opportunities of school life. Boarders have readily available educational, social and sporting facilities throughout the week and the opportunity for excursions at the weekends. It is an ideal option for pupils who want to attend the Royal School and live too far away for a daily commute, but who wish to return home at weekends as there is no Saturday school. The Boarders’ Forum meets with the school leadership regularly to discuss ideas for development and improvements in all aspects of boarding life.

The boarding department is vibrant: bringing together pupils and staff from all over the world, creating a rich and culturally diverse community.  Friendships are forged here which broaden individual horizons and last a lifetime.

Junior boarding is housed in the historic ‘old building’ but it offers modern, comfortable facilities.  Sixth Form boarding, designed to provide a bridge between school and university, occupies a number of converted town houses facing Armagh’s iconic mall.

The staff in boarding are committed to enabling our pupils to flourish, to push themselves and to achieve success.  Our school ethos places great emphasis on the uniqueness of each individual; and we seek to provide a home from home which will enable each of them to know they are cared for, valued and respected.

While ultimate responsibility for the welfare of all boarders rests with the Headmaster who lives on site, day to day pastoral care is provided by our team of caring and committed residential staff led by the Head of Boarding.

In the words of Kurt Hann, “There is more to us than we know”.  We want to work with our boarders in discovering what that is, and helping them explore it.

Life as a Boarder

The Royal School accepts boys and girls as boarders from the age of eight in the Preparatory Department and at any age in the Secondary Department. During the school day boarders follow exactly the same courses as ‘day’ pupils, appropriate to their age and ability. For the rest of the time they have very comfortable modern accommodation in the historic parts of the school buildings.

The aim of the Boarding Department is to provide a “home from home” which provides a comfortable and congenial atmosphere in which boys and girls may live alongside each other, taking full advantage of the opportunities, both curricular and extra-curricular, offered by the school. In addition, however, it encourages the boarders to develop self-reliance, self-confidence and self-discipline; qualities that are often seen to give a young person a distinct advantage in future life.

Senior boarders in each House are offered Prefectships, with duties and responsibilities that develop a sense of responsibility and leadership in a Boarding House environment, whilst collaborating with the Boarding Staff. Further to this Sixth Form Boarding offers the perfect transition between the school and Further or Higher Education.

Many of our boarders are 7 day boarders, but we also offer 4 or 5 night boarding to pupils who live closer to Armagh. Such boarders would board, for example, from Sunday to Thursday nights or Monday to Thursday nights.

In the evenings, from Monday to Thursday, all boarders complete their homework under the supervision of a team of staff who support and guide them in their work. These supervised homework sessions, called Prep sessions, take place in the school library and two study rooms in a silent, purposeful environment. A suite of computers is available to assist boarders in their work.

At weekends, and after Prep, a range of social, recreational, sporting and cultural activities are organised for the boarders to further enrich their experience of life in Northern Ireland. These may include, for example, a guided tour to Dublin, crazy golf, escape rooms, ice skating, attending a professional ice hockey match in Belfast, or a trip to a local shopping mall.

After school with the permission of the Boarding Staff, boarders may go into town with friends before dinner to do some basic shopping.

Overseas Pupils

Overseas pupils from all over the world are welcome at The Royal School to experience the high standard of education which we offer and the happy learning environment that exists in the Boarding Department.

All boarding pupils return home at Christmas and Easter to be with their families. Otherwise, during Bank Holidays and school holidays they may remain in Boarding supervised by the Boarding staff.


International pupils enrolling for the first time lodge a deposit of £500 with the school for the payment of sundry items such as taxi fares etc.  When a pupil leaves the school and all such payments have been made, the remainder will be returned to the parents.

Otherwise the fees for boarding are outlined in a separate document “Fees & Charges” and parents should note that fees are payable in September and February, on receipt of the invoice.  Alternatively, parents may wish to set up a direct debit with the school, when payments will be collected from September to June by 10 monthly instalments.

Parents should note that one term’s notice of leaving is required. One term’s fees will continue to be charged on that basis if lesser notice is given.

There is no reduction for temporary absence and a term’s notice of withdrawal is required. Pupils in Years 12, 13 and 14 will be required to pay fees appropriate to a full year even in situations when they have requested, and have been given, permission to revise at home.


The accommodation for Junior boarders consists of dormitories, and individual or shared study bedrooms on two or more floors.  Junior Boarding also offers a Junior Common Room equipped with a big screen TV and comfortable seating, a Library, a large and small Study Room for Prep, a Cinema Room and a Dining Room.  These facilities have recently been redesigned and refurbished. This programme of refurbishment, linked to a multi-million pound building scheme to provide new teaching accommodation, offers boarders at The Royal School a living and learning environment unsurpassed by any other similar school.

Senior Boarders are accommodated in single study bedrooms in the “Mall House”.


As well as extra-curricular activities in the afternoons, boarders have the opportunity to go into Armagh with their friends or use the Junior Common Room or Cinema Room. They can take part in group activities or relax and chat with fellow boarders, watch TV or an appropriate film.  Those who play musical instruments have a designated area where they may practice together or individually.  After a busy week in school boarders need periods of “downtime” to recharge and relax.

Health and Pastoral Care

There is a Matron on duty at all times.  Matron’s role it is to complement the pastoral role of Boarding staff and to offer advice, care and treatment in the event of minor ailments or illness.  They also have pre-established links with local doctors, dentists and hospitals in case of need and will transfer boarders to outside appointments as needs arise. Many Boarders form close bonds with the Matrons at The Royal School, as they are fully integrated into the Boarding Department and prepare supper, assist in the school laundry and carry out evening and weekend duties in the Boarding Houses.

We like to keep in close contact with the parents of our boarders and we encourage our parents to let us know of any issues or situations that may affect a boarder’s general well-being while he / she is away from home.  It may be as simple as a pet dying, or a new baby, or something a bit more unsettling. We naturally treat any personal information sensitively and respect confidentiality and will always seek to offer immediate understanding in a sensitive and confidential way.

Boarding staff are very much in loco parentis and welcome contact from parents at any time.  They will equally contact parents if they feel there is a need.

Weekday Daily Routine

Monday – Thursday


Wake up call and shower if desired

08.00 – 08.40

Breakfast and morning registration to school

08.45 -15.15

The School Day

15.15 – 17.00

Extra-Curricular Activities/Free Time

17.00 -17.45


18.00 – 20.00

Supervised Prep and Independent Study

20.15 – 20.45


21.00 – Bedtime

Free Time/Evening Activities

* Years 6 – 7: Rooms by 21.00 and lights out at 21.30

* Years 8 – 10: Rooms by 21.15 and lights out at 21.45

* Years 11-12: Rooms by 21.45 and lights out at 22.15

NB: On Friday all Boarders: Rooms by 22.15 and lights out at 22.45

Weekend Routine







Saturday: Rooms by 22.15 and lights out at 22.45


* Years 6 -7: Rooms by 21.00 and lights out at 21.30

* Years 8-10: Rooms by 21.15 and lights out at 21.45

* Years 11-12: Rooms by 2145 and lights out at 22.15

Weekend Trips

There will be a trip or visit, cultural, educational or recreational, organised most weekends. These are not compulsory, but are good fun and boarders are encouraged to attend. Equally, other activities (for example, in the Gym, the Sports Hall, on the tennis courts or rugby pitches) are organised and supervised for those who are interested.