All the things you’re asked when you tell people you went to Rugby

No, I’m not really posh

The town of Rugby is pretty unprepossessing. It’s an old Victorian railway town, and the high street consists of charity shops, various pound stretchers and two Wetherspoons. When my parents moved to Rugby, the chief attractions were the fact that it is very easy to get into, or more importantly away from, and there is quite a nice school there.

The school itself, according to the website, is ‘one of the most popular co-ed schools in the country’, and they pride themselves on giving pupils a chance to try everything, from making a table, to playing the bagpipes, to taking up fencing. It’s probably because of this that people have a lot of preconceptions about it, and when I tell people I went there, I get asked a lot of ridiculous questions. These are just a few of my faves:

“Is your school basically Hogwarts?”

I wish it was. There are some similarities; we sleep at school, wear a silly uniform and we get put in detention for breaking the rules. Other than that, it’s pretty standard: chapel, lessons, break, lessons, lunch, sport, prep, sleep. Exactly the same as any other boarding school, but we have really nice buildings and a sport named after us.

Chapel 3/4 of the week and loving it!

“So do you play rugby then?”

In one word, no. At Rugby, ‘the whole person is the whole point’, a suitably ambiguous strapline that means that you can get away with doing a bit of everything and trying to ignore the things you don’t like. Although the three afternoons of mandatory sport a week aren’t great if sport isn’t your thing, and there is nothing more miserable than standing on a netball pitch in the sleet when you really really don’t want to be there.

During the World Cup, we decided to tell the world that we don’t actually call it Rugby, we call it Rugby Football (or just football) and actual football is referred to as soccer. For the record, we do neither of these. 

Nothing quite beats the sixth netball team

“Do you have a special word for everything?”

There is a lot of school slang at Rugby. They like to make it as inaccessible to outsiders as possible, hence the year group names; F, E and D block, which is years nine, 10 and 11 for normal people. It doesn’t end there. What break time would be complete without a trip to stodge to get cookies to fuel your post-toast stroll around the close and across the porridge to your LXX Divination lesson in school 10? Careful not to walk on the grass though, or it could be a minor, or even a gation, because then you might have to miss bar.

Nothing says fun like spending the first Saturday night of December in an unheated tent dressed as a tree….

“Hang on, doesn’t your school have a night club in it?”

Ah, so you’ve read that article. It’s not a club – yeah, it’s a room with lots of people in it and music is playing. We could have two drinks, which was either wine from a jar, Woodpecker Cider or low alcohol beer, but with all the lights on and members of staff enforcing the six inch rule. So really not a club. Mind you, as a seventeen year old stuck in school over the weekend, it’s better than another Dominos and film night, and it’s always good to be up on the gossip in chapel on Sunday morning.

Essentially, Rugby is, in many ways and archetypal posh school, and, as with any posh school, there are some knobs. But for the majority, they are actually normal people. As soon as we head out into the ‘real world’, for the most part we are just like anyone else, but we just have posh accents and went to school with at least one member of the Royal Family.