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The Chorister School and Durham School Announce Plans to Merge

23 November 2020

The Governors of Durham School and the Chapter of Durham Cathedral are pleased to announce that Durham School and The Chorister School are planning to merge and operate under one single Foundation, to be known as the Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation.

This proposed merger will bring together two historic schools which have a shared heritage stretching back over 600 years in the City of Durham. The new Foundation will operate as a whole from September 2021.

Announcing the merger Durham School Chair of Governors Rob Ribchester said, "This is a wonderful opportunity to create a merged school which will offer outstanding academic, pastoral and co-curricular opportunities for all pupils and enhance the provision of independent education within the City of Durham.

“It will allow the schools to grow and develop in size and strength whilst continuing to provide a focus on the education of the individual, celebrating the unique talents of every child, nurturing and bringing out the best in them, values both schools have always shared”

The Foundation will be located on the current sites of both schools. As a recognition of the history of all three schools, the Pre-Prep will be known as “Bow School”, the Prep as “The Chorister School” and the Senior school as “Durham School”. Together they will all form part of the new Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation.

The Principal of the Durham Cathedral School Foundation will be Kieran McLaughlin, who will continue as the Head of Durham School. The Headmistress of the Prep school will be Sally Harrod, the current Headmistress of Bow School. 

Ian Wicks, the current Headmaster of The Chorister School has announced his intention to fully support the process until September 2021, when he will step down.

The Foundation will be governed by a new Board of Governors from both Durham and The Chorister School, including members of the Chapter of Durham Cathedral.  The Chair of Governors will be Robert Ribchester, currently Chair at Durham School, and the Vice-Chair will be the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham.

Choristers from Durham Cathedral will continue to be educated within the Foundation’s Schools and to be fully supported as they play their part in the Cathedral Choir which will continue to be a source of great pride to the School.

Dean of Durham, Andrew Tremlett said “This is an exciting opportunity for the pupils of both schools to benefit from an enhanced educational experience at every level. In particular, the merger offers more varied and extensive opportunities for pupils. There will be more chances to take part in competitive sports teams and greater opportunities to participate in musical and cultural events.

“We will be able to make greater investment in facilities and offer a more vibrant boarding experience. There will also be many social benefits associated with a larger school community. The merger offers a strong and vibrant future for both schools.

Furthermore, I am delighted that we will be safeguarding the choral tradition in the North East of England for the next generation.”

Durham School and The Chorister School have committed to a programme of regular meetings and communications with staff, parents, and pupils as they move towards the opening date of September 2021.


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