We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Academic Talent

School search and selection

“Durham University was attractive to me for its state-of-the-art facilities, collegial and friendly working environment as well as the opportunity to teach students of the highest calibre. From a personal perspective, its good schools and the friendly atmosphere of the North East were also important. It is a nice place to raise a family.”

Dr Conor O’Reilly, Research Fellow, Durham Law School (Relocated from Portugal with his partner and children)

We are able to provide full information on educational opportunities available in the region to ensure your children are settled in a school suited to their needs.

As in most parts of the UK, demand for places in the best schools is very high and you may not get your first choice school. Or if you have more than one child, they may not always be offered places in the same school. Durham County Council will be able to give an indication of which schools have places available when you hope to arrive. It is also worth considering living close to your preferred school to increase the chances of gaining a place.Advice on schooling, syllabuses, examinations, entry procedures, registration, any relevant fees and organisinguniforms are all available. Please discuss this with your Relocation Manager for further information.

Schools in County Durham

If your child is between the ages of 5 and 16, then they are required to be in full-time education. It is the parents' responsibility to ensure that their child has access to full-time education, and attends. After 16, children can decide to study for A levels or a vocational qualification, or they can leave the school but must stay in education or training until the age of 17. They can continue their education at school or at a further education institute or Sixth Form College.

State schools are free for children between the ages of 5 and 18 and all state schools in County Durham are co-educational which means that boys and girls are taught in the same class.

Durham also has a selection of Independent Schools (fee paying). Independent schools can offer single sex classes.

Younger children may attend nursery school from age 3. This is also free in state nurseries but in private nurseries fees vary between £25 and £45 per day. Durham has a University Nursery where places may be available for your child and preferential fee arrangements are in place for staff.

The National Curriculum

State schools in England must teach a range of subjects according to targets set by the National Curriculum. This was established in 1989 to ensure the same standards of teaching and learning across the country for children aged 5-16. Independent schools tend to follow the National Curriculum but may also offer more specialised subjects.

The National Curriculum sets out:

  • which subjects should be taught
  • the knowledge, skills and understanding your child should achieve in each subject (according to your child’s age)
  • targets - so teachers can measure how well your child is doing in each subject
  • how information on your child’s progress should be passed on to you

Key Stages

The National Curriculum is divided into four Key Stages that children are taken through during their school life. For example, Key Stage 1 is taught during Years 1 and 2 of primary school. Targets defined in the National Curriculum are assessed at the end of each Key Stage.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Ages 3-5


Key Stage 1 – Primary School

Ages 5-7

Years 1 and 2

Key Stage 2 – Primary School

Ages 7-11

Years 3, 4, 5 and 6

Key Stage 3 – Secondary School

Ages 11-14

Years 7, 8 and 9

Key Stage 4 – Secondary School

GCSE Exams

Ages 14-16

Years 10 and 11

Sixth Form/A Level/College

A Levels/AS Levels/NVQs/National Diplomas

Ages 16-18

Years 12 and 13

Applying to a school

You can contact the school directly for more information. To apply for a place in a school, you will need to complete an application form available from Durham County Council School Admissions +44 (0)3000 265894. The closing date for applications to schools is usually in mid-January. If you are new to Durham, you will have to make a late application, completing an In-Year Transfer form, available from the Durham County Council School Admissions.

Primary schools in the DH1 postcode area

Independent (fee paying)

State schools

Secondary schools in the DH1 postcode area

Independent (fee paying)

State schools

The following site allows you to search for homes to rent or buy close to schools across the region

Uniform stockists

For Durham Johnston & St Leonard's R.C. School

Parkins in Durham: +44 (0)191 384 8527

71 North Road
Durham City
County Durham

Professor Anoush Ehteshami, Professor of International Relations

Contact us

Durham University
Human Resources
Rowan House
Mountjoy Centre
Stockton Road
Durham DH1 3LE
T: +44 (0) 191 334 6536