Gordon's School

Gordon's School is a secondary school with academy status in West End near Woking, Surrey, England. It was founded as the Gordon Boys' Home in 1885. It is now one of the 36 state boarding schools to exist in England. It converted to an academy 1 January 2013.[1] It was ranked the 2nd highest achieving state boarding school in 2016 by The Daily Telegraph.[citation needed]

Gordon's School
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GU24 9PT

Coordinates51°20′37″N 0°38′47″W / 51.3435°N 0.6465°W / 51.3435; -0.6465Coordinates: 51°20′37″N 0°38′47″W / 51.3435°N 0.6465°W / 51.3435; -0.6465
Former nameGordon Boys' Home
Day and boarding school[1]
MottoSemper fidelis
(Always faithful)
Patron saint(s)Reigning Monarch of the United Kingdom
Established1885; 136 years ago (1885)
FounderBy public subscription, at the express wish of Queen Victoria, as the National Memorial to General Gordon
Local authoritySurrey
Department for Education URN139151 Tables
ChairRichard Whittington
HeadmasterAndrew Moss
Staffapprox. 100
Age11 to 18
Houses6 Day and 5 Residential Boarding
Colour(s)Green & Yellow   
AffiliationGordon Foundation; an independent charitable trust established in 1888


It was founded as the Gordon Boys' Home in 1885 by public subscription as the National Memorial to Gordon of Khartoum, an officer of the Corps of Royal Engineers, who was killed in 1885. According to the school, the idea came from Queen Victoria, who was its first patron. The reigning monarch of the United Kingdom has been patron ever since. Its first commandant was Colonel Henry Tyndall, CB, 2nd Punjab Infantry and its first home was Fort Wallingford.

Gordon's began as a home for underprivileged boys, but it quickly became a boys' boarding school. In 1888, the Gordon Foundation was established as an independent charitable trust to administer the school. In 1990 the first girls were admitted.[3]It converted from being a voluntary aided school to an academy 1 January 2013.[1][4]


Gordon's is now a co-educational Academy school, and the pupils are a mixture of full and weekly boarders (judged outstanding in all categories of boarding by Ofsted in 2014 [5]) and day students. The proportion of pupils with special educational needsand/or disabilities is in line with national figures, but a higher proportion of pupils than is typical nationally have an education, health and care plan. The percentage of pupils who are supported by the pupil premium is well belowt he national average. The proportions of pupils who are from minority ethnic groups or speak English as an additional language are in line with national averages.[6] Some two thirds of the pupils are day students.[7] The school was subject to a Section 8 inspection in 2017 where it and its safeguarding procedures were judged to be outstanding.[6]

Students are divided into ten houses named after places of particular relevance to General Gordon:

  • For girls - Augusta (full/weekly/day), China (day), Kensington (day), Victoria (day), Windsor (full/weekly/day)
  • For boys - Balmoral (full/weekly), Buckingham (day), Gravesend (day), Khartoum (day), Sandringham (full/weekly)

In September 2019 Woolwich House was opened, for Year 7 Residential Boarders.


There are over 40 acres (160,000 m2) of playing fields complete with cricket nets and athletics track.[4]


The central building on the south side of the Parade Ground is the Assembly Hall and Reception building that was completed in 1887, designed by William Butterfield, in a Gothic revival style.[8] To the south of the original 1885 buildings in a Grade II listed building:[9] the 1894 memorial school chapel built in memory of Prince Albert Victor, eldest son of Edward Prince of Wales who had helped fundraise for the boys home. It has a 4 bay criciform pan ans was designed by William Butterfield in Early English Gothic style.

In September 2007 a new science block was built. The block contains four science labs, two other classrooms with IT Systems. Also a new drama and music block was opened; the drama department consists of two studios. During the next year, it is hoped to build a black box performing arts area next to the department. In 2016, the Mcquillen Sixth Form house was converted into Victoria House and in 2018 the Nile Building, a six classroom mathematics teaching block was opened. A sports hall together with another all-weather pitch were opened in October 2020.[citation needed]

Gordon’s has an indoor swimming pool, a gym, a purpose built fitness centre, equipped with two Olympic weight lifting bars, a 25-metre shooting range, ergo centre[clarification needed] and facilities for tennis, netball and orienteering.[citation needed]


The 'Parade Square', to the front of the school, accommodates netball and the Ceremonial Parades that traditionally take place monthly, led by the Head Boy or Head Girl.[citation needed]


Virtually all maintained schools and academies follow the National Curriculum, and are inspected by Ofsted on how well they succeed in delivering a 'broad and balanced curriculum'.[10] Schools endeavour to get all students to achieve the English Baccalaureate(EBACC) qualification- this must include core subjects a modern or ancient foreign language, and either History or Geography.

Ofsted in 2014 opined that "the academic standards attained by students are very high. The proportion of students achieving five GCSE grades at A* to C, including English and mathematics is well above average. The quality of teaching is consistently good and often outstanding. Students are very enthusiastic about their learning because of this .Regular homework is used very effectively to promote their progress." [5]

THe school is using the Thinking Schools approach and is applying for accreditation. Management strives to encourage the whole school community to think reflectively, creatively and critically with the aim of having cognition at the heart of the practice of the school. They believe the focus on cognition will encourage the students to become more resilient learners. Bob Burden, a previous Director of the Cognitive Education Centre at Exeter, defined a Thinking School as “an educational community in which all members share a common commitment to give regular, careful thought to everything that takes place. This will involve learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively, and employing these skills and techniques in the co-construction of a meaningful curriculum and associated activities”.[11]

Extra curricularEdit

  • Pipes and drums: Gordon's School marching band has about 30 bagpipers, 10 snare drummers, 10 tenor drummers and two bass drummers. The school marching band has the unique right to do an annual parade along Whitehall London. [4]
  • Combined Cadet Forces: Students are encouraged to participate in the Combined Cadet Forces in year 9 In Year 10, this training is compulsory and students choose a section (Army,Navy,Air) for the duration of the year. These training activities take place after normal lesson times, (termed as 'period seven' ).[citation needed]


The school offers an extensive range of traditional team games and competitive and recreational activities. Sporting opportunities range from golf and rowing to horse riding and karting..[citation needed]

Gordon's undertakes one term of Rugby, one of Football and one of Athletics/Cricket (boys). Gordon's undertakes one term of Netball, one of Hockey and one of Athletics/Rounders (girls). The school is affiliated with the Gordon's Old Boys football team, made up of ex-students (Gordonians). The team currently play in the Surrey and Hants Borders Football League..[citation needed]

In October 2020 Gordon’s announced the partnership with Harlequins Rugby Football Club to offer students aged between 16 and 18 years old a pathway to a career in rugby on the DiSE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) Programme.[citation needed]

Notable GordoniansEdit


Ex-headmaster Denis Mulkerrin was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for Services to Education, in thhe 2005 New Year's Honours List.[citation needed]

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Gordon's School - GOV.UK". get-information-schools.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  2. ^ Ofsted (8 October 2020). "Find an inspection report and registered childcare". reports.ofsted.gov.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  3. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2013-07-28. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
  4. ^ a b c "CASE STUDY 2019: GORDON's SCHOOL, SURREY". Diplomat Magazine. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Ofsted Section 5". ofsted.gov.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Ofsted Section 8 2017". ofsted.gov.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.   This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright
  7. ^ "Ofsted 2007". ofsted.gov.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  8. ^ Stuff, Good. "Assembly Hall and Reception, Gordon's School, Woking, Surrey". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  9. ^ Stuff, Good. "Gordon's School Chapel, Woking, Surrey". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  10. ^ Roberts, Nerys. "The school curriculum in England Parliamentary Briefing Paper" (PDF). parliament.uk. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  11. ^ Creative Teaching and Learning Journal,2006

External linksEdit