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Durham School, headmaster Martin George (April 2009), is an independent British day and boarding school for girls and boys (age 3-18) in Durhammarker. Founded nearly six hundred years ago, today the school has nearly 650 boys and girls from age 3 to 18.

As is common with most schools, Durham School offers a broad ranging academic curriculum supported by a varied programme of extra-curricular actvities and opportunities. Unlike most schools, however, Durham School operates a house system; all students are members of a single house. Alumni, referred to as Old Dunelmians, can be, and have been, found across the spectrum of public life, the armed services, the arts, the church and in sport.


Durham School was founded by Thomas Langley by at least 1414 (the foundation date accepted by the Clarendon Commission into public schools in 1861), and refounded by Henry VIII of England during the Protestant Reformation in 1541. Although the school is the 18th oldest in Britain, it may actually have origins in the Priory at Lindisfarnemarker, being moved to Durham City to escape marauding Viking invaders around the time that St. Cuthbert's body was brought to what is now the site of Durham Cathedralmarker.

Ths school has been co-educational since 1985.

Academic results and subjects



Whilst full results for 2009 are not available to the public yet, 55% of Durham School students were awarded a grade A or B at A-Level and 41% of the students who sat GCSE were awarded an A* or A.


In the 2008 results, Durham School scored the following at GCSE and A/AS level:

GCSE: 76%

A/AS-Level Average points: 807.1

Level 3 CVA: 999.1


A/AS Level

Durham School students are able to choose from a range of subjects for their AS-Levels in Year 12 and their A2s in Year 13:

The subjects avalailable are:

* Art
* Biology
* Business Studies
* Chemistry
* Classical Civilisation
* Design and Technology
* Economics
* English Language and Literature
* English Literature
* French
* Further Mathematics
* Geography
* German
* History
* Information Technology
* Mathematics
* Music
* Physical Education
* Physics
* Religious Studies
* Spanish
* Theatre Studies


Durham School, in common with most other schools, offers a varied curriculum at GCSE:

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9)

Durham School offers a range of subjects to students in Years 7 to 9 that lead into the GCSE programme starting, generally, in Year 10:

Pastoral care

Patoral care at Durham School is based around the house system:

House system


For pastoral and sporting purposes, the school is divided into five different houses:

House Occupants Founded House colour
The Caffinites boys, day
MacLeod girls, day 2005
Pimlico girls, boarding and day 1985
Poole boys, boarding and day 1924
The School House boys, boarding and day 1844


At various times in the school's history there has also been Langley House, named after the school's founder, Cardinal Langley. This was initially sited in what is now the Grove, which contains the school's administration and staff-room, but after this was closed, it was re-opened several years later in the old Sanitorium as a day house. In 1998, this house closed its doors for pupils for the last time and the building was converted into a classroom block.Another former house was Ferens House, that was specifically for lower-school boys in years 7 and 8. This house was removed in 2005 and replaced with pupils being allocated to one of the 3 boys houses.



Durham School has a wide ranging sports programme that includes athletics, badmington, cricket, cross country, fencing, football, gym, hockey, netball, rounders, rowing, rugby, squash, swimming, tennis and water polo.
The all weather pitch

Durham School Boat Club

Durham School Boat Club (DSBC), founded at least as early as 1838, is one of the oldest clubs on the River Wear in Durham. The Club is a co-founder of Durham Regatta, held in June each year, winning its first Challenge Cup in 1865. The first Club rower to win a blue for Oxfordmarker or Cambridgemarker rowing in The Boat Race was W. King who rowed for Oxford in 1854. Durham School boats use the three letter boat code DUS.

The Club is not selective, that is it is open to all students: "All year groups at the school have the opportunity to row at the appropriate level for their physiological and physical development". The Club has been successful at national and international level, the athletes having represented their home countries and Great Britain at olympic, world, university and junior level, most recently being GB representation at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Brive-la-Gaillardemarker, Francemarker in August 2009, the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Corkmarker, Irelandmarker in 2008 and England representation at the Home International Regatta in 2006.

The Club enters a number of local, national and international events. In addition to wide ranging representation at the various north eastern heads and regattas oarsmen and women of different ages are regularly entered in events further afield. For example the 1st Eight rowed in the Henley Royal Regatta in 2008 for the first time in over 40 years and it also visited the USA in October 2008 to row in the Head of the Charles Regatta, achieving an excellent result for their first visit. Having pre-qualified again, the 1st Eight was in action at Henley in 2009, achieving a win over Reading Blue Coat Schoolmarker in their first race before being knocked out by Abingdon Schoolmarker (one of the country's premier rowing schools who went through to the final) on the second day. There are also frequent trips to the various events held on the Tidewaymarker in London, the Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centremarker, Dorney Lakemarker and the annual trip to the Gent Spring Regatta in Belgium.


Durham School is the fourth or fifth oldest football club of any kind in the world and has produced many international rugby union players as well as introducing the game to Scotland (please see below). Durham School Football Club was founded in 1850 and was from 1890-1930 one of the rugby nurseries in England - this was first recognised by the Barbarians RFC who honoured the school by playing a full side against the Old Dunelmians in 1897 (Barbarians won 18-5). Just before the First World War the school supplied 4 England players as well as a number of England trialists. Between 1920 and 1930 the school produced seven full internationals as well as several trialists (England, Scotland and British Lions). The headmaster during this great period was Richard Thomas Dutton Budworth who was himself a former England international and Barbarian.

Newcastle Falcons (originally Gosforth) rugby union club were founded as the old boys side and played in the school's colours until recently (green and white hoops).

Combined Cadet Force

The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a military organisation within schools in Great Britain. Durham School CCF has been running since before World War One. Many of the cadets of that time joined the army and many of them fought and died.

Currently the CCF is a voluntary activity that students may opt in to from the Easter of Year 9 onwards.

There are three sections in the school's CCF:


Music is an important aspect of life at Durham School:


Chapel and war memorial

The school chapel, built in the 1920s, sits on top of a hill overlooking the main school site.
The chapel from the main school buildings

The building is used for services several times a week that the majority of pupils attend. The School is within the Anglican tradition.

The chapel

The chapel is also the war memorial, its walls are engraved with the names of those who died in World War I and the further 79 who died in World War II. There are 97 steps to the chapel, one for each of the Old Dunelmians who died in WWI. (Note that the UKNIWM reference and Durham School's disagree on the number of WWI dead - 97 or 98.)

The chapel steps

Notable alumni: Old Dunelmians

The alumni of Durham School are referred to as 'Old Dunelmians'. Their number include Granville Sharp, founder of Sierra Leonemarker; Field Marshal Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge, commander in chief of the British Army after The Duke of Wellington; Anthony Salvin, the architect of national fame and Alexander Armstrong, the actor and comedian.

Bow, Durham School

The school has a prep-school for girls and boys aged 3–11, situated about 1/2 mile to the east.

Previously known as Bow School, this school has existed as a boys school for over one hundred years and is now co-educational. Students remain at Bow School until the end of Year 6:


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