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Durham School

Durham School is a prestigious co-educational boarding and day school located in Durham, England. Founded in 1414, it is one of the oldest private boarding schools in England, with a rich history and tradition of academic excellence. Starting in year 7 and going through to year 13, the school has around 500 pupils. The campus is spacious with large grounds and woodland, despite its city centre location, giving the ideal mix of feeling safe, but not too rural. The University of Durham is just across the road - school students can access the university library.

private boarding schools in England

The school buildings are owned by the Church offering functional teaching spaces. It’s not a school for those looking for 5* modern luxury. However, for Harry Potter lovers, the historic City centre location and traditional, friendly, approachable feel come through strongly upon visiting.

The school has a reputation for providing a well-rounded education that balances academic excellence with extracurricular activities such as music, drama, and sports. Students are encouraged to develop their individual talents and interests and to become confident, well-rounded individuals who are prepared for success in life.

Durham School has a diverse student body, with students from many different countries and backgrounds. The school is committed to promoting an inclusive and supportive environment that values diversity and encourages students to learn from each other. The opening of several satellite schools overseas has brought a more Global approach to private boarding schools in England.

Academically, Durham School has a strong reputation amongst private boarding schools in England, with a wide range of subjects available at both GCSE and A-Level. The school has a track record of success in university admissions, with many of its students going on to study at some of the most prestigious universities in the UK and around the world.

Durham has a strong reputation in sports, especially rugby and rowing – the boat house on the river Weir is located a short walk through the school grounds. There is an Astroturf for hockey and all other major sports for both boys and girls are offered. School teams do well against local rivals in a full fixture list.

The boarding community is small with a family feel – about 20% of the total pupil body with boarder numbers in each year increasing with age – the largest number being in sixth form. All pupils, both day and boarding, are attached to one of the 5 boarding houses. All pupils meet in-house at the start of each day, as well as taking part in a range of inter-house competitions and events, meaning there are strong friendships between locals and those from further afield. The boarding houses are comfortable with large social spaces and rooms accommodating two or three pupils. Weekends are a relaxed time with brunch on Sundays being particularly attractive. There are trips and activities on Sundays, as well as the ability to walk into the very friendly city of Durham on Saturday afternoons.

The dining room is light and modern with an impressive choice of foods on the menu.

Overall, Durham School is a highly respected boarding school that provides a first-class education in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Now part of Durham School - The Chorister School delivers education from years 3 – 6. (There is also a pre-prep from nursery to year 2 located on a different site). Pupils can then follow a pathway into Durham School at year 7.

Located in the Cathedral close within buildings that are many hundreds of years old, the school truly has a Harry Potter feel. Despite the age of the buildings on the outside, the classrooms are all modern and the teaching is energetic and inspiring. The children all looked happy and very engaged with what they were doing. There was an easy, relaxed relationship between the teachers and pupils giving a very friendly and approachable feel to the school.

There is a sports hall for indoor sporting activities and swimming lessons take place a short walk over the river at the Durham School indoor pool.

A successful Chorister audition comes with a generous reduction in fees, as long as your child has the resilience for the year-round commitments to the Cathedral choir. The music is very strong with, at time of writing, 18 peripatetic music teachers giving lessons each week. There are annual school plays for those who love to act as well as an I.T. suite, D.T. classroom and many activities such as robotics and Lego club.

Most Choristers flexi or weekly board in wonderful, cosy, homely, modern dormitories located on the top floors of the main school building, with one of the friendliest Housemistresses I have ever met on a school visit.

If you have a musical child and are happy to consider flexi or weekly boarding, I would definitely put this delightful prep school on your shortlist to visit.

private boarding schools in England

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