About: Durham School: independent day and boarding school in the North East of England for boys and girls
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Mission Statement

Durham School’s mission is to provide its students with a complete education; one which instils in them an aspiration for achievement, a respect for others and a confidence for life.

The three pillars of Durham School which support this mission and so provide an environment where pupils can explore, make mistakes, learn and grow are:

  • Academic challenge which gives students a lifelong appetite for learning.
  • Pastoral care to provide our students with emotional, moral and spiritual strength.
  • Co-curricular opportunities which enrich and develop the individual, and foster leadership, collaboration and teamwork.

We do this by nurturing and supporting our students to become:

  • Thinkers who can understand, research, evaluate and create, both collaboratively and independently.
  • Individuals who are morally sound, emotionally resilient, reflective and effective communicators.
  • Adults who act with responsibility, humility and kindness and are ready to make a positive contribution to society.

Floreat Dunelmia

A traditional British boarding school with a modern international community, Durham School encourages pupils to take full advantage of everything a busy, co-educational school has to offer, living life to the full as part of a community in which the individual flourishes.


  • Excellent pastoral care ensures pupils are known as individuals and challenged to develop their talents.
  • Houses create a sense of belonging that roots pupils to the School.


  • Faithful to its Cathedral foundation but respectful of the beliefs of others, collective worship and reflection build community.
  • Its location in the city centre enhances pupils’ learning through its well-established relationship with Durham University.


  • A full and rounded curriculum encourages pupils to aspire and have the confidence to succeed.
  • An inclusive ethos provides academic challenge for all abilities.


  • A full and varied programme challenges pupils to develop all aspects of their lives on the sports’ pitch, on stage, and elsewhere.
  • Healthy competition both within the School and outside provides opportunities to learn how to fail and how to succeed. 

Development Plan

Our unofficial motto at Durham School is ‘Confidence for Life’.  We believe this confidence grows from having a clear set of guiding principles: - Moral Integrity, Ambition, Respect and Kindness.  This is the MARK of a Durham School education. MARK helps our pupils to develop an understanding of themselves and the world around them.  It provides a framework for them to explore their strengths and weaknesses, and to develop as well rounded individuals.

We are a diverse school with pupils and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds, representing over 20 different nations.  This cultivates an understanding of others and an awareness of people as individuals.  Above all the confidence we instil enables our pupils to continue to learn and develop long after they leave Durham School and is the foundations for their future lives. 

Just as our pupils have to learn to prepare to succeed, as a school we too need to plan for the future.  This development plan draws together the multiple threads of Durham School life and clearly articulates our vision for the coming years.  It draws on parental surveys, analysis of future trends for teaching and learning and on the School’s six centuries experience in developing confidence for life.

We believe sharing this plan across the wider Durham School community will make Durham School stronger, and a better place to learn and grow.  It is necessarily a snapshot of our ambition for the future, and will evolve as we respond to our constantly changing environment, and your feedback is encouraged. 


Kieran McLaughlin
Headmaster, Durham School


Development Plan 2019 - 2024 (2.04Mb)

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