Why are school fees not enough to fund capital developments?

RBAI is a category B Grammar school. We receive funding towards teaching and learning, however we do not receive any capital support towards the upkeep of the School buildings, classrooms and estate.

The fees paid by parents maintain the upkeep of the buildings and school environment. They also resource an enviable range of co-curricular activities available to all of the pupils; these include cultural, sports and academic.

New developments in the estate require additional funding and borrowing hence the capital campaign.

In addition to restoration of the main school “Soane” building, the Board of Governors have recently invested over £4m in the restoration of the North Wing for history, religious education and politics and have upgraded ICT facilities in the Inchmarlo Preparatory Department. We believe the investment in technology, science and swimming will directly benefit current and future generations of pupils.

Philanthropy is a critical element of the School’s capital development plan, and every £1 donated through the Excellence For All campaign will be matched by £3 from the School.

Why invest now in Technology, Science and Swimming?

The campaign priorities reflect those identified by the teaching staff and School leadership in the School’s Development Plan, which identifies the educational goals and resources necessary to fulfil them.

Supported by the experienced Property Committee, the Board of Governors have rigorously evaluated a range of options before committing to the current capital development plan.

The investment in Technology reflects the interests of the pupils and future employment needs. Technology embraces traditional Design & Technology, and evolving curriculum subjects including Manufacturing, GCSE Engineering, B TEC Engineering, as well as Motor Vehicle Studies.

The swimming pool complements the outstanding school sports resources. Doing nothing with the pool is not an option. It is approaching the end of its useful life and it must be replaced, or the facility will be lost. To lose the pool would mean the loss of a valued and extremely well used aspect of the overall sports provision.

For the future, the RBAI Foundation will continue long after the current campaign ends. New campaigns will aim to fund imaginative future developments.

Why not increase fees to fund new facilities?

RBAI is proud to offer boys a first class education and a vast range of co-curricular activities. The Board of Governors recognise that increasing fees to finance capital development would put RBAI beyond the reach of many families and negatively impact the School’s ethos.

Does the School have the expertise to raise the necessary funds?

It is 17 years since the School last asked alumni and parents to support a fundraising campaign of this nature. The Christ Church library and ICT facility is a tremendous testament to Instonian philanthropy. Eight hundred and fifty donors donated £1.25m to that campaign (1999-2001), and the Christ Church building remains at the heart of School life today.

Led by the Board of Governors, through the RBAI Foundation Director, the School has undertaken a full feasibility study before establishing the fundraising goal. One million pounds (40%) has already been pledged by alumni during the leadership phase of the campaign, reflecting the strength of support which exists across the Instonian community.

How will the pupils benefit from the new facilities?

From an academic perspective, the creation of the Centre of Innovation and the Science Refurbishment will benefit our pupils by:

  • Equipping pupils for future employment opportunities in local and national growth sectors, particularly in science and technology.
  • Providing capacity for continued growth as the technology, manufacturing and engineering curriculum evolves in the longer term.
  • Enabling pupils to utilise state of the art equipment which will help them to achieve their academic potential and develop even more ambitious technology coursework projects.
  • Creating science laboratories which will reflect open space learning; this will meet commercial standards and will sustain the strengths of the department in promoting practical science.

From a sporting perspective, the Robert Howard Pool will benefit pupils by:

  • Providing a highly energy efficient, state of the art, six lane pool.
  • Ensuring versatility with a moving floor, it will facilitate Physical Education, learning to swim, competitive swimming, water polo, life saving, sub aqua and canoeing.

Will pupil education be impacted whilst construction work takes place?

The building programme for the new Centre of Innovation will continue to minimise term time disruption. The majority of construction is carried out during the summer holidays. The contractors work closely with the School to maintain availability of facilities during all teaching times.

The science refurbishment will take place over three successive summers, ensuring no loss of teaching time whilst work takes place.

Given the scale of the swimming pool complex, we have alternative arrangements whilst the new pool is built.

I can only give a modest amount; will my donation make any difference?

Yes, support from right across the Instonian community is vital in order for us to fulfil our fundraising goal.

Donors are invited to pledge support for up to 5 years, and even a modest regular gift such as £10 per month, committed for five years, is worth £750 if the donor is a UK tax payer (£10 x 60months + 25% gift aid).

A regular gift of £40 per month over 5 years will be worth £3,000 to the School and will have a considerable impact for our pupils.

Click here to sign up a direct debit donation and start your support now.

RBAI Foundation


College Square East,
Belfast, BT1 6DL

T: 02890 240461
E: p.anderson@rbai.org.uk