Barnard Castle School

Durham, County, United Kingdom

Location: Durham, County, United Kingdom
Type: Mainstream School
Phase: All-through
Funding status: Independent
Gender: Mixed
Age range: 4 - 18 years

About Barnard Castle School

'When you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things'

This motto perfectly sums up what Barnard Castle School, or 'Barney' as it is affectionately known, aims to do in preparing its students for life beyond its doors. Through creating an inspirational, compassionate and unpretentious environment, Barney aims to develop young adults with character. Young adults who are confident, resilient, curious, tolerant and driven, with an undercurrent of humility, who are prepared to live, embrace and lead in an ever-changing world.

‘Parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutus’.

Barnard Castle is a boarding and day school for boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 18.

Organisation and Numbers. 

There are 500 pupils aged 11–18 in the Senior School, of whom 140 are boarders.  The Preparatory School comprises 190 pupils between the ages of 4 and 11.  The Senior and Preparatory Schools are located on adjacent sites and operate separately on a day-to-day basis whilst enjoying the mutual benefits of being able to share a number of resources and facilities. 


The School is situated in its own extensive grounds on the outskirts of an historic market town in an area of outstanding natural beauty.  The area is well served by Durham Tees Valley, Leeds-Bradford and Newcastle airports and by Darlington railway station.  The School also operates its own bus service for pupils from a wide area.


This is designed to provide a broad, balanced and flexible programme, avoiding undue specialisation at too early a stage.  In the Prep School emphasis is given to literacy and numeracy skills, as well as Science, History, Geography, French (from age 8), Religious Education, Technology, Art, Music, Information Technology, Physical Education (including swimming) and Games.  These subjects are developed further in the Senior School, with the addition of Latin or Classical Civilisation, Personal, Social and Health Education, and three separate sciences.  German or Spanish is added at age 14, whilst Business Studies increases the list of GCSE options at age 15. There are some twenty A or AS Level subjects which give a wide choice in the Sixth Form.  Almost all Sixth Form leavers go on to University or College courses.  A Learning Support Department provides specialist help for those who need it in both the Preparatory and Senior Schools, and tuition is offered in English as a Second Language.

Boarding and Day Houses. 

There are eight single-sex Houses within the Senior School – three boarding and five day – each small enough for pupils to know each other well, but large enough to allow a mixture of interests, backgrounds and abilities, as well as opportunities for leadership.  Housemasters and Housemistresses, each supported by a team of Tutors and Assistants, are responsible for the welfare and progress of each pupil in their charge.

Junior Boarders (boys and girls aged 7–13) and Senior Girl Boarders live in their own modern Houses in the School grounds, alongside their Houseparents, Boarding Tutors and Matrons.  The two Senior Boys’ Boarding Houses have recently undergone a major programme of restructuring and refurbishment, and offer comfortable accommodation within the main building of the School.  The resident Housemasters are supported by resident boarding tutors and matrons, and by the School Sister in the School’s Medical Centre.  The School Doctor visits daily.

Cultural and other activities. 

The School has a flourishing music department in which the Chapel Choir, Orchestras, Wind and Jazz Bands and smaller ensembles perform regularly.

Drama is also prominent, with a regular programme of productions taking place throughout the year.  There is a strong tradition of after-school activities, which enables both day and boarding pupils to take part in a wide range of clubs and societies.


Rugby, Hockey, Netball, Cricket, Athletics, Squash, Cross-Country Running, Tennis and Swimming are the main sports, and other options such as soccer, badminton, basketball and golf are available.  The School has extensive playing fields, a modern Sports Hall, squash and tennis courts, and a heated indoor swimming pool.  A full-size, floodlit "astroturf-style" pitch is available for all to use.  Regular inter-school matches are arranged at all levels.

Outdoor Activities. 

There is a strong emphasis on providing instruction, opportunity and challenge in a wide range of outdoor activities.  Much of this takes place under the auspices of a flourishing Cadet Force (Army and RAF sections) or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold and Silver Award Schemes.


The School works closely with the Durham County Careers Service.  There is a well-equipped Careers Room, and a team of careers staff work together with the Higher Education Coordinator to provide pupils at all stages of the School with expert advice and help in decision-making and application procedures.


Pupils are admitted at all stages via the School’s own Entrance Assessments. There is also direct entry into the Sixth Form subject to satisfactory performance at GCSE level. 

Scholarships and assisted places. 

The School makes Entrance Awards on entry to the Senior School (including at Sixth Form level).  In addition to academic awards, these may include awards for musical, artistic and sporting ability and potential.  The School is also able to offer a small number of its own means-tested assisted places for able children whose parents would not otherwise be able to send them.

Charitable status. 

Barnard Castle School is a Registered Charity, number 1125375, whose aim is the education of boys and girls.

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Address: Barnard Castle, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8UN, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 1833 690222