Update - 10th August

Dear Parents

We hope you are well and enjoying a summer break. 

As you know, we’ve been hoping to obtain Department for Education (DfE) permission to open our school in September.  While the rigorous process is steadily moving forward – we’ve had the Ofsted inspection which we thought went well – unfortunately, it has not yet been completed. Regretfully, we will therefore have to postpone opening our school until Monday 8th January - again, of course, subject to approval. 

We sincerely apologise for this, but as you will understand, it is beyond our control. We are confident however that we will be able to open the school in January, and look forward to welcoming your children then. (Do remember that there are no restrictions on when a child can join a new school). 

Do please feel free to contact Chris Gray at any time to discuss this development further.


James Tooley

Barrie Craven

Chris Gray

Latest Update 6th July

We are still awaiting a decision from the Department for Education following their receipt of Ofsted’s inspection report.  The delay is in fact on our side rather than theirs: our fire risk assessment report was slightly later in arriving than we had hoped and that has delayed the process somewhat.  We are still doing all within our power to be ready to open in September, but must once again remind parents that they should not rely on a place being available at IGS: Durham and should make alternative arrangements in case we are not able to open on time.  There remains the possibility (assuming that we are approved) that we will have to delay our opening but it is worth noting that schools can open at any time and there are no restrictions on when a child may join a school.   Thank you for your interest in IGS: Durham and do keep an eye on the website for updates.

C J Gray


The Independent Grammar School: Durham


Latest Update - 16th June

We had our long-awaited Ofsted inspection today. This is compulsory for all new schools and results in a report to the Department for Education on whether Ofsted believe we are likely to meet the Independent School Standards. We now await the DfE's decision, which is expected to be with us in around two weeks. We remain hopeful of being approved to open in September but it is now a case of "wait and see". We will update the website again when we have any news.

C J Gray


The Independent Grammar School: Durham

IGS: Durham – Update at 5th June 2017

I am calling this an update, but am not sure that is quite accurate as in most respects there is very little to say!  The registration process is still underway with the DfE, and of course we must gain formal approval before we can formally open. All schools need to be properly checked out and we value the rigour involved in the process. However, we still hope to open as planned on 18th September. 

As we have said in all our communication, it is vital that parents ensure they have alternative provision in place as we still cannot guarantee that the school will open as planned. 

Prospective parents might be interested to know that we have had over 60 expressions of interest since February. That is very encouraging and suggests that we would have a healthy number of children to start the school. Many parents have visited the school and all have been impressed by its facilities. We have received many unsolicited applications from teachers – our type of school and the values we are promoting will always be attractive to those who are really serious about teaching!  

You might also have seen that the local media reported some comments made last week by representatives of the National Union of Teachers about our school. Of course we realise that not everyone will agree with what we are proposing. We value all comments and perspectives and look forward to discussing these further with our critics as our work progresses. 

It may be worth stressing what IGS: Durham will be doing in contrast with what the union representative said we would not be doing: 

IGS: Durham will most definitely start life with a team of qualified teachers with appropriate experience. We will also have access to very good sports facilities (indeed as many parents who have visited already will have seen, we have a great sports hall already). Our curriculum, far from being merely "off the shelf", is wide, varied, rich and of high quality. 

Many schools are already using the same curriculum around the country. The following extract from a recent Ofsted report on a London school shows the strengths of the curriculum we propose to use: 

The curriculum is designed to develop pupils’ skills, knowledge and understanding across a wide range of subjects. It promotes pupils’ enjoyment, confidence and ability to think for themselves. The curriculum emphasises the history and culture of Britain and promotes fundamental British values extremely well. The Reception and Year 1 pupil councils learn about democracy. They put key principles into practice and vote for the best way to enter the school buildings. Year 1 pupils learn about the kings and queens of England and how the Magna Carta is the basis for British law. They write about ‘bad King John’ and explain that it is wrong to take people’s money and to lie. Children in Reception learn about the rule of law and apply these basic rules by establishing their own class rules. A significant emphasis is placed on visual arts and music. There are numerous visits and visitors which bring pupils’ learning to life. The curriculum promotes pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural exceptionally well. Pupils’ mature attitudes and social skills mean that they are very well prepared for life in modern Britain.

Parents can, of course, check out all that we intend to do for themselves. If you haven't already, please come and visit us. At the end of the day, your opinion is the one that matters!

Next steps for us, assuming our approval happens reasonably soon, will be an open evening and some advertising.  If you have visited the school, you can help with the latter by emailing me comments about any aspect of what we are proposing.  I hope I’m not being presumptuous in anticipating at least a few positive comments!  We can then use them, unattributed if you wish, on the website and in other promotional material.

Thank you all for your interest in IGS: Durham.  We remain excited about opening soon and look forward to beginning a long and fruitful relationship with you and your children. In the meantime, look out for further news updates on the school website. 

Enjoy the summer and please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at any time on 07984 619739 or at principal@igsdurham.com.

C J Gray


The Independent Grammar School: Durham


The Independent Grammar School: Durham represents a radical approach to independent education.

For many parents, state education, good though it often can be, would not be their first choice.  The only alternative is a private school and, with average fees of just under £10,000 per year, that is simply unaffordable for all but the very well-off.  Our view is that there is a third way – a low cost private school.

Low cost private schools offer the best of private education at a fee that is affordable to many – £2,700 a year, or £52 a week.  IGS: Durham is the first of what we hope will be a chain of similar schools offering high quality, “no frills” education available to parents who love what private schools can offer but are currently not able to afford it.

Our focus will be on a traditional curriculum taught by passionate teachers who love their job and are free to do it really well.  Our standards will be high, demanding excellent manners and respectful behaviour, based on a determination that every child will be enabled to achieve his or her very best.  All within an ethos of "stretch, enjoyment and academic rigour".  

“Low cost” means that we will concentrate on those things which make the difference. Our premises will be simple and unpretentious - clean, hygienic and welcoming, with good quality, though not necessarily hugely expensive, resources.  Our curriculum will be traditional and knowledge-rich, giving children access to the best of what has been written, spoken and said.  Our teachers will be people who love children and are totally committed to the vision of the school.

We will adopt a broad, inclusive Christian ethos.  IGS: Durham is non-selective with no admissions criteria other than a commitment from parents to “buy in” to what we offer.  Our premises on Claypath in Durham are bright and modern and they provide a delightful, welcoming environment.  

So – welcome to our website.  You will find here most of the information you will need and we hope you will go further and arrange to meet the Principal and look round our school.  We are excited by what IGS: Durham can do for your child.  Come and visit and we believe you will share that excitement too!


Until we have had our obligatory pre-opening inspection by Ofsted and been approved by the Department for Education we cannot confirm places. However, expressions of interest are invited and you will be notified when applications can be made.

To express interest in your child joining IGS: Durham you may choose from three options. 

1. Call Chris Gray (Principal) on 07984 619739

2. Email Principal@igsdurham.com

3. Fill in online form by clicking here.

In all cases Mr Gray will arrange to meet you personally to set out the school's vision and enable you to understand why and how IGS: Durham can provide your child with an outstanding education.