Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka

Royal College, Colombo

Royal College, Colombo

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Address: Rajakeeya Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Western Province, Sri Lanka

Phone: +94 11 2 695256

Enrollment: 8,300 (2010)

Founded: 1835

Colors: Blue, Gold

  Royal College, Colombo

Royal College is widely known as the premier educational institution in the island. This idea has been justified time and time again as Royalists past and present have produced outstanding results in whatever field they may have taken part in. Royal College is an institution that brings together all walks of life, giving an equal platform for every student to reach his maximum potential. At Royal, we believe that commitment, dedication and a Royal Heart is the key towards achieving excellence.

With over 20 Sports and 35 Clubs & Societies, Royal College produces some of the best talent the nation has seen, and continues to innovate and set the trend for those around. Being the oldest public school in Sri Lanka that is still in existence, the rich history & traditions of Royal College are never forgotten, and show the students the path they need to walk to keep pushing their horizons, making Royal a better and more beautiful place than what is was when it was handed down to them.

A school which began with just 20 students is now a center for primary and secondary education for more than eight thousand students drawn from all over the country making, Royal College a truly national school. It is also significant that its student population consists of all communities and all faiths in the country and thereby is a good example of communal and religious harmony among its students.

Royal College has produced a vast array of persons of eminence in diverse fields of activity from the learned professions to administrators, sportsman and national leaders both before and after independence. And there are many more Royalists who have in their own way contributed to building the nation.

We all believe that education is the best general investment one could make for the future. The role of education in the development of a country is incomparable. Taking the goals of education into consideration, an institution such as Royal College being a state run school provides commendable opportunities to develop multifaceted skills and talents of its student population. The large sports complex, playing fields, IT laboratories and inter – active white board room are a few extraordinary developments. The language training courses, sports practices, IT and aesthetic functions concurrently provide the basis of developing well rounded future citizens.

A Brief History

In 1831 the Rev. Joseph Marsh, a 28 year old Scotsman, arrived in Colombo to take up the position of Mathematics & Classics tutor at the Church Missionary Society, Kotte. Later in 1835 he was appointed acting Colonial Chaplain of St. Paul’s Church, Wolfendhal, Colombo.

In January 1835 the Rev. Marsh started a private school in the back verandah of the church. It was called the Hill Street Academy and had about 20 pupils, mainly from the upper Burgher community. The resident were very appreciative and wanted more boys to have this English education. They petitioned the Governor Sir Robert Wilmot Horton who converted the school to the Colombo Academy in January 1836. This school was located in an upstair House at Messenger Street for a short time and in July 1836 it shifted to San Sabastian Hill.

When the Rev. Dr. Barcroft Boake took over the school as Principal in 1842, he established a private school called Queens College to which the best senior boys were sent for special attention in order to prepare them for University Education. This lead to the school being renamed Colombo Academy & Queens College in 1859. After much debate mainly between Rev. Dr. Boake and one of his brilliant former – students Richard Morgan, the school was once again renamed Colombo Academy in 1869. Rev. Dr. Boake was succeeded by George Todd and during his time the school motto and school colours were introduced. After Principal Todd, Principal J.B. Cull took over the Colombo Academy and with the approval of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, changed the name of the Colombo Academy to Royal College on the 1st of August 1881.

As time passed on, Royal College felt the need to relocate to better serve its students and on 27th of August 1913 the school moved to its new location at Thurstan Road (now the University of Sri Lanka). With World War 1 and the Ethnic Riots taking their toll on the school and its students, another move was prompted and on the 10th of October 1923, Governor William Manning declared open the present structure of Royal College at Reid Avenue; a permanent abode for the Oldest Public School in the Island.

Since this permanent settlement, Royal College has come a very long way, producing some of Sri Lanka’s finest gentlemen ranging from the most brilliant minds to the best sportsmen. This description is but a brief overview of the rich history and tradition that guides and inspires Royalists present & past to keep on breaking boundaries and moving forward, creating an environment that is better and more beautiful than what they were born into.


Although a typical day at Royal is in no way what one would call typical, the day flies by in a swirl of time tables and books. The school is kept abuzz with activity as the entire community is on the move. From teachers reprimanding students, excuses for unfinished homework and forgotten books, at Royal, it is accepted that it’s no simple task to manage a few thousand energetic youth. It is accepted that these are what makes up an academic institution. What gives it life and gives the students a choice of path when they have to take one.

The primary focus of any educational institution is academics. Royal College is no different as the purpose of starting the Hill Street Academy back in 1835 was to provide a quality English education for the students of that community. Today Royal College has grown from its original 20 students to over 8400 students, who still walk through the Boake Gates looking for the best possible education. While co – curricular and extra – curricular activities are highly encouraged, academics has, is and always will be the primary focus of the students.

Academics at Royal College is divided into four sections, namely the Primary Section (Grades 1 – 5), the Middle School (Grades 6 – 9), the Upper Middle School (Grades 10 & 11) and the Upper School (Grades 12 & 13). The grades from 1 – 11 have around 15 classes with roughly 45 students in each class. The Mathematics Section consists of 9 classes, 5 classes in the Science section, 7 classes in the Commerce section and 3 classes in the Arts section with roughly 35 students in each class. All grades have classes that offer syllabi in Sinhala, Tamil and English Mediums. Royal College follows the Government Education System. The day is divided into 8 periods of 40 minutes each. Students are provided with all the necessary facilities including Science and IT laboratories that provide them with an interactive learning experience. The students are provided with every opportunity to gain access to the best possible education and to excel in the respective stream they chose.

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