Vision & Ethos

Our Purpose
Through creating an inspirational, compassionate and unpretentious environment, we aim to develop young adults with character.

They are happy, confident, resilient, intellectually curious, tolerant and driven, with an undercurrent of humility, who are ready and prepared to face, embrace and lead in an ever changing world.

For this environment to be fostered, staff must feel valued and feel fortunate to work in such a school.

Our Ethos
Barnard Castle School is committed to providing an outstanding educational experience for girls and boys from the local area, throughout the United Kingdom and the world. Grounded in Christian values, we provide an environment where each child is nurtured and encouraged to develop to their full potential. We celebrate success within and beyond the classroom in a close community, bound by a spirit of endeavour, compassion and enjoyment in everything we do. We believe that girls and boys learn to live and work together best in an unpretentious, open and respectful atmosphere, as befits our school’s foundation and values.

We provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all, promoting academic rigour and the rewards of endeavour, the wonder of discovery and the richness that comes from an aptitude for life-long learning. Equally essential to the success of our girls and boys is the development of confidence, integrity, resilience and teamwork, which are learned in a range of sports and a wealth of cultural and co-curricular activities. Pupils also learn a sense of duty, selflessness and the importance of community.

Our nurturing environment ensures that every child will find her or his niche here and have the opportunity to embrace new challenges in an atmosphere of supportive encouragement. We believe in giving our pupils space to enjoy their childhood without pressure to grow up too quickly. As they progress though the school, pupils develop and exercise leadership in a caring, collaborative and dynamic relationship with their peers, teachers and house parents.

Our Aims
Barnard Castle School aims to:

  • Promote the value of a Barney Education;
  • Create an environment in which wellbeing is at the forefront of daily dialogue, and in which strategies are taught so pupils and teachers develop long lasting physical and mental health;
  • Offer a broad curriculum in order to achieve knowledge, enjoyment of learning, and the acquisition of skills necessary to be responsible members of society;
  • Encourage academic enrichment and the development of curiosity, teaching how, rather than what, to think;
  • Ensure that each child fulfils their academic potential at each stage of their education;
  • Promote a community which values honesty, mutual respect, enjoyment, service and good citizenship, placing an emphasis on leadership;
  • Prepare children for the next stage in their lives, whatever that may be.

Our Values
To fulfil our vision and aims, and whilst it is important to be forward-looking, Barnard Castle School must continue to place the below virtues at the centre of any strategic planning. These virtues, which have been at the heart of our education since our inception in 1883, are:

  • Community
  • Endeavour
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Duty
  • Enjoyment

Community is our strength. Our pupils, teachers and support staff are all integral to instilling our key principles (‘The Barney Way’) and once you enter the school, you are a Barnardian for life. The integration of young and old, through the house system, is unique and underpins all that we do. Most importantly, we care for other’s happiness and speak up if we see injustice or prejudice. Ultimately, our staff and pupils feel part of something bigger than themselves, not just during their time at school, but for the rest of their lives.

Our community will strive to be intellectually curious across a breadth of academic and extra-curricular strands. Our aim is for pupils to be multidimensional, to seek out opportunities for growth, and to develop a set of transferable skills fit for the global marketplace. We will prepare young minds to embrace new challenges as they present themselves.

All those in our community should develop and apply a strong moral compass. We aim to have consistency in our actions towards others and to develop a strong work ethic. Most importantly our community is defined by its sense of underlying humility.

Being part of our community means caring for others’ happiness. We will develop high level emotional intelligence within our pupils. We will treat others with kindness and understanding.

We recognise that we have a moral obligation to serve others. We will seek out opportunities to improve and enrich the community and lives of others, with an altruistic and selfless outlook towards others. We will use our fortunate circumstances to aid others with charity in the wider community of Barnard Castle, County Durham and abroad.

We will take pleasure in everything we do for our community with a sense of fun and enjoyment (joie de vivre). Through striving to be the best version of ourselves, by engaging in all of the above aspects, we aim to enjoy our lives and make ourselves and those around us happy and proud.

A Barney Education
To support the our pillars (below), twelve values were chosen which best reflected what we believe
a Barney Education to be about and what we felt our young people need most as they
continue their journey through Barney and beyond. This language is already well-established within the School. Each week, the Prep and Senior Schools have a ‘Value of the Week’, with a different value identified and discussed in assemblies and in tutor group sessions, by pupils and adults alike.