Durston House School
Ealing, United Kingdom
About Durston House School
The School was opened in 1886 by the Pearce brothers at 14 Castlebar Road (then called Durston House), since when it has been in continuous operation as a major West London boys’ day preparatory school. From the earliest years it had a very strong academic reputation and a keen sporting tradition. These strengths have increasingly been nourished by a lively cultural programme. There is great enthusiasm in the school for music, drama, I.C.T., travel and a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
When the founders acquired the adjoining house, No. 12 in 1900, they built classrooms and a playground. Playing fields were also established: Castlebar within walking distance, and Swyncombe, which is a ten minute drive away. When the founders’ family retired, the Pearce Trust retained ownership of the three sites, of which subsequent Headmasters were tenants. Pupil numbers stood at 135 when the last proprietary Headmaster retired in 1983.
Under the Educational Trust that soon took over, Durston House has steadily developed, with significant building projects almost every year. Before the original freeholds were purchased in 1995, the Governors acquired 26 Castlebar Road (Middleton’s), which houses the Reception Classes, and Years 1 and 2. There are spacious new pavilions at both sports grounds, with indoor space for P.E. in the Buckley Pavilion at Castlebar field, together with a floodlit multi-purpose hard play area. There are close relationships with two local churches: Haven Green Baptist Church, whose hall accommodates Durston House assemblies and drama productions, and St Peter’s Church, where concerts and carol services are held.
In November 2006 the school acquired an additional property at 9 Longfield Road. The increase in the size of the premises gave us the opportunity to restructure the organization of the school in 2007 into a Pre-Preparatory Department (Reception and Years 1 and 2), Junior School (Years 3 and 4), Middle School (Years 5 and 6) and Upper School (Years 7 and 8). An extensive refurbishment in 2014 has seen the Junior School – now known as Durston House Junior School (Allen’s) – reopen as a much expanded facility.
The school currently caters for approximately 400 boys aged 4-13. In the Pre-Prep, Junior and Middle Schools, each year group has three forms of about 16 pupils. Setting by ability is introduced in Year 6. Most pupils transfer at 13+, mainly to London senior independent schools where Durston House has an excellent record of scholarship success. In the past ten years our pupils have secured an Oppidan Scholarship to Eton College, eleven John Colet Scholarships to St Paul’s School, nineteen Foundation Scholarships to St Paul’s, Academic Scholarships to City of London School, Harrow, Merchant Taylors’ (5), The Lyon School, Kingswood (Bath) and Stowe, an Academic Exhibition to Bloxham, Music Scholarships to Christ’s Hospital, Emanuel, Harrow and Sherfield, two Music Exhibitions and two Outstanding Talent (Sport) Scholarships to Harrow, a Music Exhibition to St Paul’s, Sports Scholarships to Hampton, Merchant Taylors’ (2) and Mill Hill, an Art Scholarship and a Drama Scholarship to Merchant Taylors’, an Art Scholarship to The John Lyon School, a Latin Exhibition to Mill Hill, All-Rounder Scholarships to Merchant Taylors’ and The John Lyon School and a Junior Sports Scholarship to The John Lyon School. Other boarding schools to which pupils have transferred in recent years include Bradfield, Charterhouse, Cranbrook, Epsom College, Marlborough, Pangbourne, Radley, Rugby, Shiplake, St Edward’s (Oxford), Tonbridge, Wellington College and Winchester.
A smaller number of boys will transfer to schools at the end of Middle School – that is at 11+. Latymer Upper, Merchant Taylors’ and St Benedict’s are the usual destination schools at this stage.
The ethos of the School is to require high standards of work and behaviour through encouragement and example and a wide involvement in extra-curricular activities. Although the school is administered in sections, it must be stressed that all sections are seen as part of a corporate whole. The success of Durston House is wholly dependent on the four sections of the school working closely together.