Barnard Castle School
Background and Expectation
Barnard Castle School is an independent day and boarding school situated in the north-east of England, and sits in its own pocket of natural beauty on the very edge of the Pennines. The eponymous Barnard Castle market town nearby has the desirable reputation of being the safest in the country, and is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to the Pennines.
Described by the Daily Mail as stately, the school is a strong mixture of day pupils and international students, of which the latter currently comprises 15% of attendees. The school consists of approximately 700 hundred pupils from a range of social and working backgrounds, and is separated into preparatory and senior school, both of which share facilities according to timetable scheduling.
The school offers a broad curriculum of subjects, with considerable focus placed on individual performance in both Maths and English separately, which is followed by base testing from year 7 upwards. The school maintains its students’ academic progress with regular five week assessments, ensuring that all teachers are fully aware of exactly what improvements need to be made according to the individual pupil.
Entry into sixth form requires each applicant to achieve seven passes at GCSE level, with each successful entrant expected to take four AS subjects. Despite these high academic demands the sixth form is very popular with pupils who stay on in large numbers.
The school has a national reputation among the finest in the country for its rugby achievements, but is no less committed to hockey, athletics and cross country. These disciplines are facilitated by a floodlit all-weather pitch, indoor swimming pool and a recently built fitness suite complete with state-of-the-art equipment, complemented by its own instructors and staff.
The sporting disciplines are not only confined to onsite locations, with the school organising several visits abroad each year for both the lower and senior years. These trips are activity based, with skiing, water sports and hockey being the most popular in countries such as France and Sweden.
There are also excursions for those interested in international history, taking in a number of countries such as Germany and Italy respectively. The arts, which incorporate drama, dance and singing, are ably supported by studios and rooms for all three, and the school even holds its own creative writing competitions twice yearly.