History of Forces Children Education Trust

The Trust started in 1855 when, concerned at the plight of orphans of soldiers from the Crimea war, a group of concerned officers led by Major The Hon HL Powys-Keck and a group of wealthy followers wished to offer education to soldiers’ daughters. They purchased land and property in Hampstead, London and set up a boarding home to achieve this. The school on Rosslyn Hill received Royal Approval in 1856 when Queen Victoria became the Patron, and it became the Royal Soldiers’ Daughters Home. From this point on it existed to ‘nurse, board, clothe and educate the female children (orphans or not) of soldiers in Her Majesty’s Army killed in the Crimean war’. Between 1855 and 1900 over 1300 girls spent their lives at the home, with the largest contingent of 294 coming from the Royal Artillery.The Home continued to provide much needed assistance in the 20th century, with continuing support from the Army and the royal patrons. In 1946 the name was changed to the Royal Soldiers’ Daughters School.

Changing patterns of service caused the Home to cease offering education at various times, and girls were sent to local schools while continuing to live on site. The old buildings were demolished in the 1960s to make way for what was at the time a modern 5 storey building with state of the art accommodation. In 1987 the school was renamed the Royal School Hampstead, and the charter was changed to admit daughters from all 3 Armed Services, and local civilian pupils.

Over recent years the pattern of service life has meant that fewer and fewer girls from service families attended the school and, in a change of strategy during 2011, the Trustees received permission from the Charity Commissioners to alter the way they would meet their objectives. They achieve this by ceasing to run a school, but lease the buildings and site to an educational provider in order to use the rent received from this to make grants. This change occurred in 2011, and the school in Hampstead is now run by Cognita. The Trust receives rental income which is available for grants in the coming years.

In 2016, The RSH Trust was renamed as Forces Children Education Trust.