Reigate Grammar School is a co-educational day school with 1000 pupils. Founded in 1675, it is academically selective, with a large Sixth Form. The school also enjoys a reputation for strong pastoral care and a very wide range of extra-curricular activities.
Awarded School of the Year 2019 by the TES for our pastoral care and ISP School of the Year.
"Priorities one, two and three for this selective school are pastoral care and this – coupled with fabulous teaching, students’ almost uniquely acute awareness of their own approach to learning and a heavy dose of extra-curricular – makes for happy kids and great results." Good Schools Guide
About the school
Pupils are normally admitted to Reigate Grammar School at the ages of 11, 13 or 16, although vacancies may occasionally occur at other ages. New pupils normally enter the school in September.
The majority of our pupils enter at age 11 (Year 7). They will come from a mixture of local primary and preparatory schools. RGS usually take about 120 pupils at age 11. A small number of pupils enter the school at age 13 (Year 9), usually from prep schools, or because they have moved into the area. Reigate Grammar also accept pupils into the Sixth Form (Year 12). There is no set number of places.
Scholarships at RGS are awarded for academic excellence and for outstanding ability and potential in music, sport and other extra-curricular activities such as art, drama, dance and chess.
Bursaries are intended to enable gifted children to attend the school irrespective of family income. Bursaries are only available to those who are successful in our Entrance Examination and interview and assistance is not guaranteed if a place is offered. The level of fee remission will be determined on a sliding scale which may offer up to 100 per cent reduction in fees. Assistance towards the cost of school uniform, school meals and travel may also be available in cases of particular need.
As a result of the global economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Reigate Grammar School governors agreed not to increase school fees for the Autumn Term of the Academic Year 2020/21.The fees from September 2020 therefore remain unchanged at £6,380 per term for the First and Second Forms and £6,450 per term for the Third to Sixth Forms. Fees will increase from 1 January 2021 to £6,580 per term for the First and Second Forms and £6,660 per term for the Third to Sixth Forms.
Reigate Grammar School GCSE Student Success Stories
Reigate Grammar School GCSE students' individual success stories.
20th August 2020 — Success for sports superstar Issy
Issy Hayes, one of RGS’s top athletes, has secured straight 8 and 9 grades in her GCSEs. As well as her studies, Issy has also been competing for Great Britain as a triathlete. Issy has had huge success representing Triathlon England’s South East Regional Academy and is now the club captain at her swimming club Atlantis. Alongside her national contributions, Issy also competes for RGS in cross country, swimming, athletics and biathlon. Issy came to RGS from Farlington School, entering Third Form and starting her GCSE studies straight away. Issy is looking forward to studying A Levels in Psychology, PE and Biology in the Sixth Form at RGS. Issy was very pleased with her results saying, “I want to thank all of my teachers for their support and for helping me to achieve my best in both sport and my results. These have been the best three years of my life.”
When asked how she would celebrate she replied, “I want to go and see my grandparents. They have been a big part of my education at RGS.”
Goalie George sweeps up
George Duff, a keen rugby and hockey player has been awarded three 9 grades, four 8 grades and three 7 grades his GCSEs. George has shown the true character of a Reigatian, contributing to many areas of school life whilst excelling in his academic studies. George competes both for the school and for Surrey as hockey goalkeeper. George has been in the Reigate Grammar family of schools for 12 years, joining RGS in the First Form from Reigate St. Mary’s.
He says, “my 5 years at RGS have been a brilliant experience. I’m very pleased with my results and really appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to learn, play sport, travel and be involved in a fantastic school community. A massive thanks to all my teachers for their time and help in every aspect of school life, to my fellow pupils and a special thanks to my head of year, my parents and, finally, to the porters (without whom I would have lost literally everything!).”
George will continue his studies in the Sixth Form at RGS, pursuing A Levels in English, History and Politics.
Izzy scoops up in her GCSEs
Izzy Van der Spuy, a dedicated, funny and conscientious student, has achieved a deservedly excellent handful of GCSE grades. Izzy sat twelve GCSEs and was awarded eight 9 grades, three 8 grades and one 7 grade. Izzy balances her studies at RGS with playing hockey and working her way through the player pathway to compete at regional level. She is keen to continue to play hockey at a high standard and is currently in the process of applying for hockey scholarships as she is hoping to study and play at an American university.
Izzy, a strong linguist, invited her German pen pal to the UK last year, and the girls came to school together for the week. Izzy is really looking forward to her time in the RGS Sixth Form going on to study A Levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Izzy is delighted with her results.
“Over the past two years, the teachers helped me to balance my hockey commitments with my schoolwork, and this was crucial to me achieving such good grades. During lockdown, I loved the online taster A level lessons and I am so excited to be entering sixth form in the Harrison Centre”.
Toby makes a splash
U16 British Swimming champion (2019), Toby Stewart, a possible future Olympian who has competed for RGS many times, has achieved some fantastic results in his GCSEs. Across nine subjects, he attained eight 7 grades and one 9 grade. Toby trains very hard, swimming a total of twenty-four hours a week, plus all the travel time, all whilst also achieving those excellent results! Toby will stay on at RGS to study A Levels in Economics, PE and Psychology.
Reflecting on his time so far at RGS, and his upcoming time in the Sixth Form, Toby said, “Thank you to all my amazing teachers for their support and especially for helping me to balance school and swimming commitments and for being so flexible with lessons and homework. I have hugely enjoyed my GCSE courses, particularly the increased focus and in-depth learning compared to pre-GCSE studies. I’m looking forward to Sixth Form and excited to experience new subject which weren’t available at GCSE. It has been a strange year and I really missed school and swimming throughout lockdown. I can’t wait for some normality and to seeing everyone again when school returns in a couple of weeks.”
Twins, Charlotte and Sachin Thompson, both big contributors to Reigatian life, have scored fifteen 9/8 grades between them with an additional five 7 grades. Sachin is a keen cricketer and hockey player, playing for many of the school sport teams during his time at RGS, whilst twin sister Charlotte has performed in multiple plays and concerts. The twins are excited to continue their studies at Reigate Grammar, benefiting from the excellent facilities that the Harrison Centre offers. Sachin is excited to study Design Technology, Maths and Physics, while Charlotte goes on to study History, English and Politics. Upon receiving their results, the twins said, “In a difficult year for staff and students we are very proud of our results and want to thank our amazing teachers for all their hard work, support and encouragement.”
Tom aces it
Tom Dénecé, one of RGS’s top students, has achieved straight 9 grades across eleven GCSEs. Tom is not only highly academic but is also very sporty and plays for RGS A teams in cricket, rugby, tennis and hockey. Tom came to RGS from Reigate Priory Junior School and has been a key contributor both in and out of the classroom since First Form. Tom, absolutely overjoyed with his results, said, "I am absolutely delighted with these results and I can’t thank my teachers enough for their endless support and guidance throughout the years. My hard work has paid off and these grades reflect both my commitment and their dedication. I’m over the moon. It’s been a tough time recently for everyone and it’s great to finally have something to celebrate. I’m really looking forward to going back to school and starting my A-levels in the 6th form and continuing to balance my studies with sport and extra-curricular activities.”
Tom looks forward to carrying on his academic studies in the Sixth Form taking on four A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Chemistry.
Lakith composes best results
Lakith Gabrielson, a very talented musician and mathematician, has achieved an excellent set of GCSE results. He was awarded eleven 9 grades which is fantastic.
Lakith, who has a grade 8 distinction in piano, trombone and music theory, is a key instrumentalist, playing in the school’s swing and concert bands as well as the symphony orchestra and brass ensemble. He has performed solos in several high-profile concerts in Ghent, at RGS and in Dorking Halls to name a few. Lakith has also been a key contributor to RGS’s Hans Woyda team, competing in mathematical challenges against other schools.
Lakith joined RGS in the First Form, coming from Copthorne Prep School. In addition to his pursuits in music and maths, he is also a strong swimmer, contributing to the school’s success in swimming and biathlon.
Lakith is excited to be a part of the RGS Sixth Form where he will benefit from the Harrison Centre, studying A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. About his results and time so far at RGS, Lakith said, “Thank you to all my teachers, friends and family for their continued support throughout my studies. While this year has been rather odd, it has been a real joy pursuing my GCSE courses and studying the subjects I love. I am incredibly excited to move into the Sixth Form to further heighten my understanding of my favourite subjects.”
Lakith plans to celebrate his brilliant achievement with a family meal out later today.
GCSE students set to flourish in Reigate Grammar’s Sixth Form
It has been quite a year for GCSE students all over the country, including those at Reigate Grammar School. After a week of great uncertainty, grades have finally been awarded, with Reigate Grammar School students recording record results.
20th August 2020 — • The average grade profile for RGS students is ten 8 grades (A*-A)
• More 8 and 9 grades (A*) than every other grade put together
It has been quite a year for GCSE students all over the country, including those at Reigate Grammar School. After a week of great uncertainty, leaving these students wondering what their futures may look like, grades have finally been awarded, with RGS students recording record results.
Reigate Grammar School students have come through the Covid-19 summer and, in a matter of weeks, will resume their studies in the Sixth Form at RGS. They will enjoy working in the wonderful Harrison Centre in preparation for university and life beyond. Whether through face-to-face lessons or using video technology, RGS students will re-engage with school life – enjoying extra-curricular clubs and sport, participation in the arts, subject-specific seminars, utilising the extensive library, and simply being with their friends.
Today’s results are the best GCSE grades that students at RGS have ever achieved and, whilst they been awarded differently this year, the most important thing is that they enable students to access a wide range of A Level and other courses at RGS and elsewhere. Teachers know their students and trusting in their grade predictions is acknowledgement of this fact.
Shaun Fenton, Headmaster says, “Well done Class of 2020! These students have demonstrated fine qualities of character, they have been good friends to each other, they have fun, they work well, and they are growing up into fine young men and women. That is much more important than any clutch of certificates.
Thank you for the support of parents, for the dedication of our teachers and for the wonderful students who have been through such difficult times.”
With GCSE exams cancelled, Reigate Grammar School students helped to manufacture and distribute PPE for front line workers and worked with a local Foodbank. They also reached out to the elderly, or otherwise vulnerable members of the community, offering practical help with shopping, collection of prescriptions, or just to provide some company and moral support.
Whilst schools were closed in the summer term, Reigate Grammar School didn’t waste the learning time and, for these students, with no GCSE exams, teachers instead used online, home-learning facilities to deliver transition programmes, introducing students to their Sixth Form studies a term earlier than would have previously been possible. This means that the students moving onto A Levels are better placed than ever before, which bodes well for the future.
Reflecting the school’s ethos that ‘a great education is about so much more than exam results’, RGS was awarded Independent School of the Year for its pastoral care by the Times Education Supplement (TES) in 2019 and has recently been shortlisted for School of the Year in the Independent Schools of the Year awards 2020.
Reigate Grammar School A Level students' individual success stories.
13th August 2020 — Owen’s making waves
Owen Knowles, a swimming star for RGS, club and Welsh National champion multiple times, has achieved a fantastic 2A*s and 1A grade in his A Level results in Economics, Maths and Physics. Not only a swimmer, Owen was also a key member of the Reigate Grammar 1st XV rugby team and has played at club level and for the Welsh Exiles. He has also undertaken a volunteering project in Uganda, working within schools and rural communities. Owen is looking forward to going on to Nottingham University where he will study Economics. Owen, delighted with his results said, “I’d like to thank all my teachers for being so clear and helpful throughout this tough and uncertain time. I always felt I had their support and they helped me the whole way through. The results are a credit to them, and I am very thankful for their support. I am excited to go to Nottingham – the course looks good for me and I am excited to get involved in sport if Coronavirus sorts itself out – I can’t wait!”
Juliet hits the high note
Juliet Anderson, RGS’s top-performing student at GCSE does it again, achieving straight A*s in her A Levels across all four subjects; Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Maths. Juliet, one of four sisters to attend RGS, is following in her elder sister’s footsteps by heading to the University of Cambridge to study Natural Sciences. Not only academically successful, Juliet is also one of RGS’s top musicians, playing in multiple school orchestras and ensembles throughout her seven years at RGS. Juliet has also achieved grade eight violin, grade six piano and her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, as well as helping to run the school’s Biology book club. Juliet was so happy with her grades saying, “Thank you to all my teachers for their endless enthusiasm and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without them. The highlight of my time at RGS has been spending time with, and making, life-long friends. Lockdown has been very strange but it’s been nice to have time to unwind and to learn new hobbies. Looking ahead, going to Cambridge, it is going to be really cool to study Biology at a high level, and be around other people that also want to study at that level.”
Sofia shooting goals
Sofia Gibbon, captain of RGS’s 1st VII netball and tennis teams and keen club and county player, has shot more goals with three A* grades in her A Levels in English, Politics and Spanish. Sophia has been a key contributor to RGS’s volunteering programme, giving her time to help many children and young people through the YMCA on their Yippee programme and working with Surrey Young Carers. During her work with Surrey Young Carers, Sophia presented an assembly to Hodgson House about her work, which then decided to adopt it as the House Charity for the year.
Sofia is excited to be doing a dual degree at a French university. She will study at Sciences Po in Poitiers, on the west coast for two years before heading off to University College London (UCL) to study European Social and Political Studies. Not yet certain about her future career, Sofia said, “I want to do a job that allows me to make an impact upon the world. I recognise that I have been very privileged in my education and I want to raise awareness so that everyone can have the same opportunities as I have had.” Sofia then said, “I want to say a big thank you to all of my teachers. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
About juggling her sport, charity work and academic studies, she said, “I couldn’t have done it without my parents taking me to and from activities, and also without the good relationships with my teachers who understood and supported me.”
Speaking about the Covid situation she added, “It’s been really hard not having closure to the school year and being able to celebrate the end of school. But we realise that things need to be put on hold for a while, while those on the front line do their jobs.”
Sofia is celebrating her results by having lunch with her parents and then seeing friends tonight.
Counting A* grades for Malavika
Malavika Santosh has achieved a superb four A* grades in her A Levels in Chemistry, Economics, Maths and Further Maths and goes off to study Economics at Cambridge University. During her time at Reigate Grammar School she led the Economics Society and applied dedication to her role as Secretary General of the Model United Nations (MUN).
Malavika was so pleased to receive these results as all her hard work paid off. She told us, “I have been watching the build-up in the news and with all the uncertainty about how the results would work this year, I am just so relieved and over the moon.
When I joined RGS from my junior school, I was very reserved and afraid to engage myself in lots of things. Growing up at RGS with that support network of friends and teachers has meant that I have done things I would never have dreamt of: MUN for one! I thoroughly enjoyed the research and presentations involved in the Economics Society and have met such fantastic people through MUN... I didn’t do any of that for UCAS points, but simply for the love of it! I have so much thanks and praise for my Economics teacher as she has given me endless advice, support and guidance with regards to my Cambridge application. I can’t wait to start at Kings College and am so glad that I will live in university accommodation and have face-to-face tutorials (but online lectures) as I will still experience so much of university life in spite of the current circumstances.”
All round success for Head Girl Amy
Amy Brill, a true all-rounder, has secured three A grades at A Level in Economics, History and English. Amy, this year’s Head Girl, has concluded a year of inspirational leadership as well as completing her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, captaining the swimming team, playing for the 1st VII netball team and achieving grade eight in singing. Amy is very excited to be heading off to Durham to study History and Anthropology and is looking forward to the next phase of her academic career. Amy said, “This has certainly been a year of global turmoil that none of us will ever forget. It has been challenging, but the teachers have been there for us throughout, providing guidance and support every step of the way. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything!”
Ruby’s call to be a midwife
Ruby Eustace is excited to have completed her A Level studies at Reigate Grammar School and heads off next year to study Nursing and Midwifery at the University of York. With gap year travel plans on hold Ruby’s career in the NHS starts next month achieving her dream of working in the healthcare sector. Having achieved the required grades in A Levels in Geography, Photography and Music Technology, Ruby is excited about the future. She said, “My journey at RGS has had its ups and downs, but the teaching and pastoral care I have had has provided the support I have needed over the last seven years to achieve my dreams. I have made amazing friends, particularly in the supportive Sixth Form environment.”
Twins Jos and Alex strike gold
Twin brothers Jos and Alex both achieved their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards whilst collecting some golden grades between them in their A Level results. Jos secured his A Levels in Economics, Maths and Physics and goes off to study Business and Management, with a year abroad, at the University of Durham, whilst twin brother Alex studied Chemistry, Economics and Maths and is looking forward to studying Economics, with a year abroad, at the University of Bristol.
The twins were indispensable members of the RGS Charity Committee and organised a football match in support of Soccer Aid's Playground Challenge, an event that raised money for UNICEF. About their work on the Charity Committee, they said, “It was really rewarding, and a great opportunity to give back. A lot of schools don't offer this.”
Jos and Alex look forward to going off to university. The twin brothers were both really thankful to the teachers for their hard work saying, “It is a team effort. Yes, we got the results, but we couldn’t have done it without their support”. About the current COVID situation, Jos said, “We stayed positive, and tried to ride the wave. We were all in the same boat. You can’t get hung up on it.”.
The brothers plan to celebrate by going for lunch with their parents and then seeing their friends in a pub this evening.
Amy to join the police
Having secured one A* grade and two A grades in Drama, Politics and Psychology, Amy B leaves Reigate Grammar School to pursue a career in the police. Amy is excited about her future job prospects. She has been considering policing for a long time, but really set her mind on it during her Lower Sixth year, with the forensics module of her Psychology A Level course cementing her interest. Amy is already at the third stage of a four- or five-part process of application to the Metropolitan Police to become a Police Constable, preferably in the Lambeth area of London. About her time at RGS, Amy said, “I really enjoyed the relationships I had with my teachers in the Sixth Form. I am a big advocate of creative subjects at A Level – Drama has given me so much additional confidence in public speaking and presenting myself and I also enjoyed being involved behind the scenes with the technical aspects of productions. The Careers team were very helpful when I told them that I didn’t want to go to university, and Mr Buzzacott helped me make some useful contacts within the police which will serve me very well.”
Superb results are Changing Lives for RGS bursary students
Reigate Grammar’s 1675 Bursary Fund seeks to change the lives of talented children who could not otherwise afford to study at RGS. A Level students Prutha V, Lauren M-K and Daniel F are all fortunate recipients of the 1675 Bursary Fund which has certainly changed their lives. Between them, the students achieved eight A* or A grades.
Prutha, one of RGS’s first Changing Lives recipients, supported by the RGS Foundation, is delighted to be on her way to Brighton and Sussex Medical School to study Medicine in September. She became interested in being a doctor after attending one of RGS’s regular lunchtime medical discussion groups. The school helped to arrange work experience at East Surrey Hospital and provided valuable support during the application process. She was so pleased with her results and is a role model for future NHS Sixth Form scholars. Prutha is looking forward to the next step, “The school inspired me to consider a career in medicine and helped me so much with research and gaining a placement at the local hospital. I am excited to be pursuing my dream career in Brighton”.
Having achieved the A Level results she hoped for in Drama, Art and Psychology, Lauren now plans to take a gap year during which she will work, save, travel and gain as much experience as she can in the world of Drama. She then intends to attend Drama school – RADA, GSA or the Central School of Speech and Drama. Speaking about her time at RGS, she talked passionately about her participation in school shows which she performed in from the very beginning in First Form. “I loved meeting students in different year groups; the shared passion and atmosphere of the cast was amazing.” Lauren’s favourite show, her last at RGS was the astonishing Les Misérables in which she played Fantine. “I am really going to miss seeing my friends every day and I’m going to miss my lessons – I loved them, especially in the Sixth Form where I was able to study my favourite subjects. My teachers were really helpful and supportive throughout - they were always able to read your mood and were very adaptable during lessons – adjusting the tone and pace accordingly. I would like to say thank you to all my teachers and especially to the Bursar for believing in me and giving me the chance to experience life at RGS. The education and experience I have had, especially during shows have helped to guide me to where I want to be.”
Daniel, another of Reigate Grammar’s first Changing Lives scholars is realising his dreams of developing a career with the support of GCHQ to tackle cybercrime. Daniel leaves RGS to study Discrete Mathematics at the University of Warwick.
A* and A grades up again for Reigate Grammar School
Reigate Grammar School students have come through the Covid-19 summer and head off to life-changing opportunities with some of the very best results in the country, yet again!
Reigate Grammar School's A* grades and A*/A grades were up again compared even to last year’s record-breaking set of A Level results
The average grade profile for RGS students is AAA
The Class of 2020 leave RGS to go on to the best-ever set of UK university destinations, with over 97% of the students receiving Russell Group or top 10 universities, Oxbridge or medical school offers
Two thirds of grades secured by Reigate Grammar School (RGS) students are A* and A, and 90% of grades are A*-B
13th August 2020 —
World-class universities, medical school, top-10 ranked universities, Oxbridge, and elite Russell Group courses – Reigate Grammar School students have come through the Covid-19 summer and head off to life-changing opportunities with some of the very best results in the country, yet again!
The grades have been awarded differently this year but are no less a testament to the talent and hard work of these young people, to the excellence and dedication of their teachers and to the support and optimism of their parents.
Shaun Fenton, Headmaster says “It was never just about exams and this year has shown that the learning matters more than the test and that qualities of character matter more than the exam certificate. This year’s students have embraced these tragic times to write a good chapter in their life’s story, a chapter they can be proud of, a time where they have made a difference in the school community and the wider world.”
“In the worst of times, I have seen the best of these young people and our school community. They are some of the finest young people of their generation and I am so proud of them.”
With A Level exams cancelled, Reigate Grammar School students added to the 10,000 hours of volunteering they completed last year to manufacture and distribute PPE for front line workers, to help with a local Foodbank, to reach out to the elderly or otherwise vulnerable members of the community offering practical help with shopping, collection of prescriptions, or just to offer some company and moral support.
During lockdown, Reigate Grammar School didn’t waste the learning time and, for these students, with no A Level exams, teachers instead used online, home-learning facilities to deliver university bridging courses, introducing students to undergraduate-style learning, lectures and seminars preparing them for university with a full term of degree-style study under their belt.
Reflecting the school’s ethos that ‘a great education is about so much more than exam results’, RGS was awarded Independent School of the Year for its pastoral care by the Times Education Supplement (TES) in 2019 and has recently been shortlisted for School of the Year in the Independent Schools of the Year awards 2020.
The Reigate Grammar School family delights in a hat trick of award nominations.
Reigate Grammar School and its two preps, Reigate St Mary’s and Chinthurst, have each received an Independent School of the Year award nomination, a feat unrivalled by any other school group in the country.
6th July 2020 — The Reigate Grammar School family consists of three schools, all sharing the same ethos and values but each with its own distinctive style. Together they educate more than 1600 pupils, from 2 to 18 years old, across Surrey. With over 3000 independent schools in the UK, it is remarkable that all three schools have been shortlisted for the prominent Independent School of the Year awards 2020.
Reigate Grammar is nominated for Senior School of the Year in recognition of the school’s outstanding daily provision for each child in their care and reflecting a passion for innovation, wellbeing and reaching out to the community. Recently, RGS students have helped over a thousand vulnerable local residents as part of the RGS WeCare campaign and have launched new bursaries to help educate children of NHS workers.
Chinthurst School in Tadworth is nominated for Independent School of the Year for Wellbeing in acknowledgement of their exceptional Wellbeing at Heart programme. This whole school pastoral approach prioritises kindness and the building of strong relationships with the children above all else. The school’s selection is particularly impressive as Chinthurst is one of the only preps shortlisted in a category dominated by senior schools.
Reigate St Mary’s is delighted to be nominated for Independent Prep School of the Year. This category looks for all round excellence and a holistic approach to education which reflects RSM’s belief that happy and healthy children go on to be high achievers. Their outstanding integration of technology into the learning of even their youngest children and their award winning robotics team sets them apart from other prep schools in the area.
All three schools have provided a full online curriculum of learning for their students during the recent lockdown and the preps were pleased to welcome back all their pupils full time in June.
Reigate Grammar Headmaster, Shaun Fenton is proud of the group’s achievement. ‘The daily experience of each child entrusted to the care of the RGS family is much more important than any awards but it is wonderful that our approach to education is recognised by leading figures in the sector. It has been a challenging term but the school community has pulled together and looked after each other, evolving and adapting where necessary to ensure the continued delivery of an excellent education’.
Reigate Grammar School hosts General Election hustings
The Upper Sixth Form student body and Politics students from the Lower Sixth Form at Reigate Grammar School organised and attended a General Election hustings at the school on Monday 18 November.
28th November 2019 — The Upper Sixth Form student body and Politics students from the Lower Sixth Form at Reigate Grammar School organised and attended a General Election hustings at the school on Monday 18 November.
Moderated by A Level Politics students Isabel A and Katie H, candidates from four of the five major parties gave a three-minute pitch before taking questions from the floor.
As Reigate’s current MP, Crispin Blunt opened proceedings for the Conservatives, giving his opinion that the 2019 General Election is the country’s most important since 1983. He also talked about the threat to a school such as Reigate Grammar School in the case of what he described as extreme left-wing politics coming to power.
Representing the Liberal Democrats, John Vincent reiterated that his position on Brexit has not changed since he was last at the school in 2016 during the Referendum; his opinion being that the country is stronger within the EU. He told the audience of 16 to 18 year olds that “this election will shape your working lives” and encouraged the young people to be politically aware, active and well-informed. Jonathan concluded with “Vote Lib Dem and stop Brexit now”.
From the Green Party, Jonathan Essex opened with his opinion that Brexit sums up how politics is failing the nation. On the subject of climate change, he told students that they need to “call out the politicians’ inability to do anything or to follow through on their promises, stating that while the media tell us that it’s up to us to make a change, actually we need politicians to take action. Summing up, he clarified that his position on Brexit is identical to that of the Lib Dems.
Labour’s candidate Suzanne Gregory opened with a greeting from Old Reigatian Sir Keir Starmer. She went on to say plainly that she feels it’s time for a change, with Crispin Blunt having been Reigate’s MP for a long time. Suzanne outlined Labour’s progressive, transformative policies – much needed, according to her, as change is long overdue. For Suzanne, the biggest issue on the table should not be Brexit, but climate change. Closing, Suzanne encouraged the audience to vote for a second referendum by voting Labour.
All four candidates then answered questions from Reigate Grammar School students on thorny electoral issues including the viability of the four-day week proposed by Labour, whether or not a vote for any party other than the Conservatives is a wasted vote in this constituency, and university tuition fees.
Speaking after the event, RGS Head of Politics John Haskey commented “We would like to thank all the candidates for coming to our debate and supporting our students. With over half of our Upper Sixth having the vote for the first time, it was a great opportunity to help them make an informed decision. All agreed that the 2019 General Election will be hugely important for setting the direction of the country. The debate was organised and run by the students themselves and there was little doubt that they rigorously interrogated all the candidates.”