Yarm School

Yarm School is a co-educational independent day school in Yarm, North Yorkshire in the North East of England. The school accepts pupils aged 3–18 years old and has a Nursery Pre-Prep, Preparatory School, Senior School and Sixth Form on site. The School was founded in 1978 and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Yarm School
The Friarage

, ,
TS15 9EJ

Coordinates54.50670°N 1.35202°W / 54.50670; -1.35202
TypePublic school
Independent school
Day School
MottoEducating for Life
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1978; 43 years ago (1978)
FounderR. Neville Tate
HeadmasterDr Huw Williams
Age3 to 18
Former PupilsFormer Pupils

Yarm School is located in the market town of Yarm, on the edge of the Teesside conurbation. The Senior School and Sixth Form border the River Tees and is just off Yarm High Street. The Preparatory School is located on the opposite side of The Spital, not far from the High Street.


Yarm School was founded in 1978 as an independent day school for boys. The School was opened under the headship of R. Neville Tate and was located on the site of Yarm Parish Church, as well as an additional three acres of land all on The Spital road.

These buildings had previously housed a Free Grammar School that had been providing education to disadvantaged boys since 1590.[1] After becoming comprehensive, the Grammar School decided to move site. Yarm School remained in this location until September 1980 when the school moved to The Friarage on the west bank of the River Tees. At the same time, Yarm Preparatory School opened. Yarm Prep School moved into the buildings on The Spital. The School was now educating boys from the age of 3.

In 2001 Yarm School became fully co-educational[2] and was the first co-educational independent school in the North East. In 2006, the school expanded further with the acquisition of Raventhorpe Preparatory School which became the satellite feeder school Yarm at Raventhorpe.[3] However, in January 2013 it was announced that Yarm at Raventhorpe would be closed. This is because the school was no longer financially viable. All Yarm at Raventhorpe pupils were offered places at Yarm Preparatory School.

In 2009 a £20 million redevelopment plan[4] won approval by Stockton Council - and with it, a potential boost to the Teesside economy.[5]

The School underwent significant developments in the years to follow, including new classrooms, improved dining and kitchen facilities, exceptional sporting facilities like a boat house and fitness suite, and a 750-seat auditorium. The school has received national acclaim for the new development from the Royal Institute of British Architects.[6]

R. Neville Tate was Headmaster of Yarm School until 1999 when David Dunn was newly appointed. Dunn stepped down in 2019 and Dr Huw Williams took on the position.[7]

The School now serves over 1,100 pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 and employs some 240 people. The standard class size in the Senior School is around 18-22 pupils. Sixth Form classes are closer to 10 students, which groups typically not exceeding 16 students.[citation needed]

The School is arranged into four houses, each with its own housemaster or housemistress and tutor team. Houses compete at an inter-house level in sport and drama. The houses are named after British saints associated with the North East of England: Aidan, Bede, Cuthbert and Oswald.

Full View of Yarm.

School buildings

The school originated in the buildings which are now the Preparatory School, before moving into the current Friarage building when the older buildings became too small to accommodate the expanding pupil body. The Friarage building is a large Georgian manor house, that was built after the demolition of the Dominican Friary which had existed there from the 12th till the 16th century.[8] Some parts of the old friary still survive - for example, the oldest building in Yarm is located on the school grounds - the Dovecote was originally part of the Dominican Friarage, and was built in the 12th century to provide a source of food for the monks. The current Sixth Form common rooms are in the old Friarage stable block, which was built as part of the Georgian development - the original coach archways are still visible.

In the 1990s, further expansion of the school resulted in the building of the 'Tate Building' for science and technology, named after the founding headmaster, R. Neville Tate. At the same time, the 'Hunt Building' for History, Geography and English was built, named after and opened by the former governor of the Falkland Islands, Sir Rex Hunt. In conjunction with the 'Hunt building' the school also opened a new theatre, which was opened by Lord Briggs. Since the school's expansion in 2009, this has been turned into the school refectory.

In 2009, the School was granted permission to build £20 million worth of new facilities to the school's existing site. Whilst there were developments to the Preparatory School such as the building of new multi-use sports pitches and extending the schools pre-prep facilities, the majority of investment was on the School's main site by the river. This included the development of a new dining hall and construction of new class rooms alongside the riverside. The school invited Princess Alexandra to open its new, state of the art Auditorium. The school has received national acclaim for the new development from the Royal Institute of British Architects.[9] The new development houses classrooms for English, Modern Languages and Economics.


The school teaches subjects towards the International General Certificate of Secondary Education and GCSE qualifications, including English and English Literature, Mathematics, Sciences (nearly all pupils study three sciences), and Languages (most pupils study French and German; Latin and Spanish is an option). Aside from compulsory subjects, students are able to study Humanities (including History, Geography and Classics etc.), Business Studies, Art and Design Technology. Some GCSEs can be studied outside of curriculum time, including General Studies and Russian.

A-levels are taken in Humanities, sciences, creative arts and social sciences[10]

In 2012 the school was listed for A-levels, as the 20th most successful independent school in the country by The Independent.[11] In 2019 Yarm School was recognised as the top performing school in Teesside and County Durham for its A-level results by The Gazette.[12]

Most pupils from Yarm go on to study at Russell Group universities, and in 2013 17 Upper Sixth students secured places at medical and dental schools, amounting to 20% of the cohort.[13]

Sports include rowing, rugby, cricket, hockey, netball, rounders, football and canoeing; partaking in sport is compulsory.

Extra-curricular activities

Pupils help to raise money for their designated house charities. These charities can be local, national or international. Each house typically raises over £2,000 per year through a variety of fundraising activities.[14]


In July 2009 a team of cyclists from the school won the over-16 category of the British Schools Cycling Association National 10 miles (16.1 km) Time Trial Championships.[15] The school has a rugby tradition, and maintains links with the 'Yarm Old Boys' rugby team. On 23 March 2013 the 1st XV won the U18 Daily Mail Vase against Felsted School 17-15 at Twickenham.[16]

The school also has a competition boat club, the Yarm School Boat Club.[17] In 2009 it won 2 of the 32 categories in the Durham Regatta,[18] and has performed successfully at the National Schools' Regatta, most recently in 2014 when the J15 1st8+ won bronze.[19] It has also been represented at Henley Royal Regatta.[20] and has recently been to international events, such as Royal Canadian Henley Regatta and the Head of the Lagan in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It regularly produces high performance athletes, most notably Kat Copeland, Olympic Gold medallist.

Outdoor education

The school has an outdoor education department which organises games, activities and school expeditions.

Combined Cadet Force

The cadets represent Yarm School parade on Armistice Day in front of Yarm Town Hall, to commemorate the lives of service personnel who died in the Second Boer War, First World War, Second World War and the Korean War.[21]

Yarm Town Hall and War Memorial

Houses and year groups

The school is arranged into four houses, each with its own housemaster or housemistress and tutor team. Houses have their own colours, and compete at an inter house level in sport and drama. Each house is named after prominent British saints associated with the North East of England: Aidan, Bede, Cuthbert and Oswald. There are five Senior School year groups, plus a Lower and Upper Sixth.


In December 2006 two former pupils added a graffito of a penis on the roof of the Friarage building, which was recorded by Google Earth. The graffito has since been removed.[22]

Notable Former Pupils




  1. R. Neville Tate, A Story to be Told, Quoin Publishing Ltd., ISBN 978-1-907257-06-3
  2. O'Hara, Carl (18 September 2018). "Look back at Yarm School". gazettelive. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  3. "Yarm School steps". The Northern Echo. Newsquest (North East) Ltd. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  4. Live, Teesside (11 June 2009). "Plans for Yarm School redevelopment approved". gazettelive. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  5. News, Bdaily Business. "Yarm School estimated to contribute £9.7 million to the local economy". Bdaily Business News. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  6. "Plans for Yarm School redevelopment approved". Evening Gazette. Gazette Media Company Limited. 11 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  7. Robson, Dave (18 November 2018). "Meet the new headmaster for this Teesside school". gazettelive. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  8. "Yarm Friary". Yarm School. BBC. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  9. "Yarm School History". Yarm School. RIBA. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  10. "Yarm School Sixth Form Academic Curriculum". Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  11. "Top 100 Independent Sixth Forms". The Independent. London: News Group Newspapers Limited. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  12. Goodier, Michael (2 February 2020). "The best schools and colleges for A Level results on Teesside". gazettelive. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  13. "Yarm School Sixth Form Academic Success". Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  14. "Grassroots - Yarm and Eaglescliffe". AccessMyLibrary: Europe Intelligence Wire. Gale (Cengage Learning). 26 March 2003. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  15. Fiona (Administrator) (3 July 2009). "Joy for cycling trio after national success". Gazette Live. Gazette Media Company Limited. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  16. "Yarm School wins the U18 Daily Mail Vase".
  17. "Yarm School BC", Britishrowing.org. Retrieved 1 May 2012
  18. "Durham Regatta Winners 2009" (PDF). Durham Regatta Winners 2009. Durham Regatta. 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  19. [dead link]
  20. "YSBC beats Emmanuel School". Youtube. 5 July 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  21. "March to Remember". Yarm School Magazine. 2010. p. 50. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  22. "School prank is spotted from space". The Northern Echo. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  23. Live, Teesside (18 May 2010). "James Wharton starts new life by sleeping on a pal's sofa". gazettelive. Retrieved 20 May 2019.