|The Chorister School|
|Type||Preparatory day and Boarding|
Choral foundation school
|Religious affiliation(s)||Church of England|
|Chair Of Governors||Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham|
|Age||3 to 13|
|Houses|| Flambard |
|Colour(s)||Purple and Gold|
|School fees||£13,605 p/a; £23,280 Boarding|
The Chorister School is a co-educational independent school for the 3 to 13 age range. It consists of a Pre-School (opened in September 2008), a pre-preparatory and preparatory day and boarding school in Durham, England. It is set in an enviable position on a World Heritage Site, in a range of Grade I listed buildings adjacent to Durham Cathedral, surrounded by the woodlands and riverbanks of the River Wear.
The majority of the pupils at the school attend on a 'day' basis, with about 45 boarders of both sexes making up the balance. Pupils do not have to be Cathedral choristers, but those boys and girls who are choristers can be either boarders or day pupils. Pupils are taught in small classes in a collection of historic buildings all of which form part of the college, or cathedral close.
The Chorister School should not be confused with Durham School, a mile or so to the west.
Its creation dates back to 1416 as a school for the cathedral's choirboys. Whilst historically the school had fewer pupils, from 5 to 24, ages 8 to 20, expansion began in 1948 to reach the numbers of today. This necessitated a number of moves of building in the cathedral area. The school became co-educational in 1994.
All Durham Cathedral choristers attend The Chorister School.
The Durham Cathedral Choir consists of 20 girl choristers and 20 boy choristers who sing separately alongside the 12 adults of the choir. Choristers typically join the choir between the ages of 7 and 9 and remain until the age of 13.
The choristers receive a discounted education as boarding or day pupils. Further means tested financial support can be provided. Choristers are able to participate fully in all of the extra-curricular activities that the school offers, including drama and sport.
Choristers receive a first class musical education and experience performing to the highest of standards in one of Britain's favourite buildings. The majority of the choir's singing takes place during the daily worship of Durham Cathedral. However, the choir also takes part in concerts, recordings, live broadcasts on the radio and tours.
Music is a huge part of the school with many school choirs and a variety of ensembles that perform regularly during the year. A wide range of specialist music teachers offer tuition in a range of instruments. Many pupils leave the school at the end of Year 8 with music scholarships to their chosen next school.
A broad curriculum is offered to the pupils, tailored to the needs of today but with traditional elements, covering all of the national curriculum subjects but also French and Latin, and from Year 7, Critical Thinking and Mandarin. Pupils work towards reaching Common Entrance level by the end of Year 8. Many pupils leave the school at the end of Year 8 with academic scholarships to their chosen next school.
Sports facilities are impressive with a purpose built sports hall and two spacious and picturesque playing fields. The school plays a wide range of sports, with pupils from Year 3 upwards competing against both independent and state schools with great success. Many pupils compete both locally and nationally in wide range of sports and activities. The school also has a competing equestrian team and rowing club. Many pupils leave the school at Year 8 with sports scholarships to their chosen next school.
Drama at The Chorister School is a key part of the academic and extra-curricular provision. Productions are varied and take place throughout the year for pupils from Pre-School upwards
- Henry Madden: 1876–?
- F. S. Dennett: 1914–1929
- Henry Yorke Ganderton: 1929–1957
- John M. Grove: 1957–1978
- Raymond G Lawrence: 1978–1994
- Stephen Drew: 1994–2003
- Ian Hawksby: 2003–2010
- Lin Lawrence (interim): 2010
- Yvette Day: 2011–2017
- Ian Wicks: 2018—
Notable former pupils
- Francis Habgood (born 1964), chief constable
- Rowan Atkinson (born 1955), comedian and actor known for Blackadder and "Mr. Bean"
- Tony Blair (born 1953), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- James Fenton (born 1949), poet, journalist and literary critic
- Christopher Hancock (1928–2004), actor
- Stephen Hancock (younger brother of Christopher), actor, who played Ernest Bishop in Coronation Street
- Sir John Laws (born 1945), The Rt Hon Lord Justice Laws, High Court Judge between 1992 and 1999, when he came to the Court of Appeal
- Paddy MacDee (Patrick McDermott) (born c. 1950), radio programme host
- Sir Peter Vardy (born 1947), businessman
- James Wood (born 1965), Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University and contributor to The New Yorker
- Ralph Woodward (born 1971), musician
- Hall Charlton (born 1979), scrum half for Newcastle Falcons
- "Of Choristers, ancient and modern: Durham". ofchoristers.net. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011.
- "Letter from Governors of King's College School, Cambridge". kings.cam.ac.uk.
- "School Alumni Roll Call". thechoristerschool.com. Archived from the original on 24 August 2009.
- "Obituary of Christopher Hancock". Independent.