“Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
14th century proverb

Barnard Castle School

Barnard Castle, County Durham, England

Barnard Castle School, Barnard Castle, County Durham, England | Dickinson | British Boarding School Consulting

Barnard Castle School

Barnard Castle, County Durham, England


Barnard Castle School, Barnard Castle, County Durham, England | Dickinson | British Boarding School Consulting

Barnard Castle School, a co-educational boarding & day school known affectionately as ‘Barney’, is set in 50 acres in a historic market town with its own ruined Norman castle. Surrounded by some of England’s most stunning countryside, Barney is also within easy reach of historic Durham and the buzz of Newcastle. The School is famous for its sport and has a strong ethos of preparing pupils for life after school – the aim is to teach its pupils how, not just what to think, developing responsible, independent learners.

At a glance

Age range: 11 to 18
Total no. of pupils: 568 / Boys: 337 / Girls: 231
Percentage of boarders: 30%
Percentage of International pupils: 10%
Pupils in Sixth Form: 160
Average class size: Senior school: 20 / Sixth Form: 6
Sixth Form termly boarding fee: 22/23 £10,553
Top 6 sports:
Boys: Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, Squash, Football, Tennis
Girls: Hockey, Netball, Swimming, Athletics, Cross-Country, Tennis
Linked prep/junior school: Yes
Nearest major airports: Teesside (36km), Newcastle (77km)


Pupils are allocated to one of 8 Houses and to a House tutor who oversees academic progress and pastoral care, communicating regularly with parents. The broad curriculum offers 20+ subjects at A Level along with the EPQ. The impressive Sixth Form Centre provides a professional working environment geared to encouraging collaboration, teamwork and communication. On average 23% of A Level (or equivalent) students achieve A*/A and around a third of leavers go on to Russell Group universities.


The 3 boarding houses are each led by a resident Houseparent, an assistant and a team of House tutors. Boarders have access to school fitness and sporting facilities, whilst 100+ extra-curricular activities are available to choose from and interhouse competition plays a big part in school life, extending far beyond sport to include singing, art, public speaking, chess and even cake decorating. Regular formal dinners and the Lectern Club in the Sixth Form help prepare pupils for life after school.


Barnard Castle is well known for its Sport and around 75% of pupils represent the school in competitive fixtures, supported by excellent coaching and a visiting strength and conditioning coach. Sport is regarded as a source of important life skills at any level – interhouse competition abounds and each term brings opportunities to try new sports. Facilities include a Sports Hall, Tennis, Netball & Squash courts, a Swimming pool, a floodlit sand-based all-weather pitch and a recently opened Fitness suite.

Creative arts

Creativity in all its forms is encouraged at Barney and the School’s 9 choirs and ensembles make this a reality with lunchtime and afternoon tea recitals alongside more formal performances. There is a bright and airy Dance studio and the Drama studio has recently been refurbished. 2 full Senior productions (a play and a musical) each year bring all the creative arts together in the Main Hall (Big School), whilst interhouse competition thrives across all artistic disciplines.

Did you know?

  • The Barnard Run, first held in 1892, is an annual Cross-Country event run over a hilly course of 4 miles for boys and 2.75 miles for girls, and a big event in Barney’s year.
  • Next to the school is the Bowes museum (built in the style of a French chateau!), home to an impressive art collection. Its most famous exhibit is a silver swan automaton.